It’s going to be even tougher for would-be tacklers to take down Prosser’s Logan Candanoza this season.
The Mustangs senior added 15 pounds to build a solid 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame poised for a big season at tailback and linebacker for the defending CWAC champs. Coach Corey Ingvalson said Candanoza looks ready to become the core of the defense and take on a bigger role in the Prosser backfield.
“Pound for pound he might be our strongest player,” Ingvalson said. “(He has a) tremendous work ethic and strength built by hours spent in the weight room. Great balance because of great strength.”
Prosser will need him to step up and help fill the void left by Kord Tuttle, a co-offensive MVP in the CWAC South at running back and the league’s defensive MVP at linebacker. Candanoza said he learned a lot from watching Tuttle about which holes to read with the ball and how to always stay low when tackling.
Candanoza rarely blitzes as an outside linebacker and sees himself playing a bigger role in pass coverage. But when taking on a ball carrier in the open field, the two-time state medalist at Mat Classic knows how to wrap people up.
Versatility also gives Candanoza added value on offense, where he’ll be a target for new quarterback Haden Hicks. Ingvalson said Candanoza could even play wide receiver if needed and brings multiple tools to the field in the tradition of past Prosser tailbacks like Michael Kernan and Noah Flores.
“Last year I was a receiving back and I feel comfortable going into that,” Candanoza said, noting he’s been working to gain chemistry with Hicks for a while.
Their talent and ability to elude tacklers could be needed more often this season with an inexperienced offensive line, although Ingvalson hopes the new starters can pick up where last year’s seniors left off. He also noted Candanoza’s strength and intelligence make him an effective blocker as well.
Defensively, Candanoza knows he’ll need to step up and lead along with fellow linebacker Jake Coleman. The Mustangs will face some serious tests early when they open up against the high-powered offenses of Sunnyside and West Valley.
“Nothing easy versus those guys,” Ingvalson said. “It’s very indicative of what you would see in the playoffs.”
A 21-14 loss to Tumwater ended Prosser’s season in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs for the second straight year last November. Candanoza and his fellow seniors won’t forget that disappointment as they seek their first win at state, and he’s hoping to continue his career in college.