The small school has seen an uptick in enrollment, reflected in the 37 boys out for the team – about 40 percent of the male student body. Weed has joined the newly formed Cascade Valley League and will face most of the division V schools in the Northern Section but will also take on division IV Modoc.

Weed football fans were at first perplexed and then jubilant when they saw Mount Shasta on this year’s Cougar schedule. Eleven-man football is back!

The small school has seen an uptick in enrollment, reflected in the 37 boys out for the team – about 40 percent of the male student body. Weed has joined the newly formed Cascade Valley League and will face most of the division V schools in the Northern Section but will also take on division IV Modoc.

Besides familiar local opponents like Etna, Fall River, and an October 4 non-league showdown with Mt. Shasta, Weed will play valley teams like Portola, Maxwell, and Los Molinos.

Coach Glenn Gonzales likes the quality and dedication of the players out for the team. “About 20 of them started weightlifting and conditioning the week after graduation and kept at it all summer,” he said.

Last year, quarterback Alex Guzman completed long passes to fleet receiver Angel Nicholas. This year Nicholas may be handing off to Guzman who wants to run the ball.

Nicholas, Guzman, and sophomores Kobe Chanthavisouk and Julio Garcia have been taking snaps in practice and with Coach Gonzales confident that he has enough players to field a JV squad, all will likely get some playing time at quarterback.

When asked why he wanted to convert his leading wide receiver from last year, Gonzales said “You put your best athlete at quarterback.”

We’ve got lots of speed this year,” said Gonzales, citing Nicholas, hoopster Donovan Lafortune, and sophomore Brandon Cordes Jr. as his three fastest players. Lafortune may be Nicholas’ favorite target at wide-receiver, while Cordes Jr has breakaway speed at running back and will also see time as a wideout..

Weed will have some ”big boys” on the line this year. Caden Greene will help anchor both offensive and defensive lines. Crowd-pleaser Ryan “the Bull” Ortiz returns with tough play in the trenches and an occasional stint as fullback.

With practice just started Gonzales hasn’t sorted out who’ll be playing where yet, but mentioned Colby Montgomery, Levi Collier, and Tommy Pineda as players to watch.

Weed has an all-new coaching staff. Byron Mathes coordinates the offense, and Russell Morena the defense. Brandon Cordes Sr. serves as the line coach while assistant defensive coordinator Zach Thomas coaches the defensive backs.

Gonzales sees Fall River as the favorite to win the Cascade Valley League and knows what a challenge facing traditional rival Mt. Shasta will be, but says his team is devoted to the task and “is picking up the offense quickly. They want to play football.”

The Cougars opened the season with a 39-0 road loss to Etna on Friday.