There will be plenty of fresh faces on the Issaquah Eagles sideline this fall, including first-year head coach Joshua Brookshire.
Heading into year one, Brookshire said he’s more focused on implementing his system than obsessing over wins and losses.
“Our big goal this year is for the kids to buy into the culture,” Brookshire said.
Teaching a new system takes time, and Brookshire said spring training was critical in getting onto the same page with his players.
“If we tried to teach everything now (in practice), it would be very difficult,” Brookshire said.
Brookshire spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the College of Idaho Yotes before taking the position with the Eagles. While he expected a difficult transition from college coaching to high school, Brookshire said it’s been easier than he ever could have thought because of the players and the community
The Eagles will have a young team this season, but Brookshire is confident in its ability on both sides of the ball.
“We’re gonna be young, but talented,” Brookshire said. “The whole program is excited for the season.”
Last year, the Eagles finished with a 1-4 league record and 3-6 overall. When he first took the position in the spring, Brookshire met with all the seniors to get an understanding of the team, but he said he doesn’t really care about the previous record.
“They didn’t hire me to coach last year’s team,” Brookshire said.
Two of the seniors leading the Eagles defense are Cutter Hillock, a 5-10, 175-pound outside linebacker, and Gaje Gunter, a 5-10, 170-pound free safety. Hillock and Gunter were both named first-team All-KingCo last season.
On offense, the Eagles will utilize versatile running back Isaac Pac, a 5-9, 185-pound senior. Last season, the offense was a weakness for the Eagles, who averaged 11.1 points per game. Brookshire said the team will use an option-style offense, but he is more focused on putting his players in the best positions.
“If we can mold the system to place the kids, we will,” Brookshire said.
The Eagles will be kicking off their season at home against Kent-Meridian, a team they defeated 19-7 last season.
Sept. 6 home vs. Kent Meridian, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Mercer Island, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 home vs. Liberty, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 home vs. Eastlake, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Newport, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Mount Si, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at North Creek, 7 p.m. (Pop Keeney Stadium)
Oct. 25 home vs. Skyline, 7 p.m.