Beck back for third year under center at Black Hills


Coach: Garrett Baldwin (Third season)

2022: 6-4 (First round of state)

Returning starters: Maddox Hodge (WR/DB), Jaxsen Beck (QB), Max Whitehall (OL), Gavin Gordon (DL), Travis Carson (LB), Jack Ellison (LB)


Sept. 1 at Montesano

Sept. 8 North Thurston

Sept. 15 Rochester*

Sept. 22 at W.F. West*

Sept. 29 Aberdeen*

Oct. 6 Elma

Oct. 13 at Centralia*

Oct. 20 at Shelton*

Oct. 27 Tumwater*

For the first time in his career, Jaxsen Beck can drive himself to school before suiting up and driving the Black Hills' offense.

"As a freshman and sophomore, you'd forget that he's just a 14, 15-year-old kid," Black Hills coach Garrett Baldwin said. "Now he's got his dadgum license, he's grown up on us, getting thick. So we're excited to work with him again this year."

Baldwin handed Beck the keys to the Wolves' system as a freshman two falls ago, knowing that there would be more than a few growing pains. Last season, the process continued, with Beck starting to come into his own and helping lead Black Hills back to the state playoffs.

Now, he's a junior, set to be the most seasoned starting quarterback in the 2A EvCo, with two full seasons of experience under his belt — and physical ability to match it.

"Just his ability to process the game and understand the speed of the game and what's necessary for the game is there, and it's awesome," Baldwin said. "You don't have to worry about his brain. What's great is that we're finally being able to see the kid become physically level to those out on the field with him."

Coach and quarterback have developed a close relationship over the years. Baldwin said that he meets up with Beck just about every Sunday, going over film but also other topics to keep his mind right.

"We try to keep it light," he said. "I always start things with how he's doing on a personal level, how he's doing in life and academics, what his future looks like. And then we get into the football stuff.

"For him, I don't think he's going to feel much pressure, especially not from me. But he does understand that there are expectations and that our standards are high, and he wants to deliver."

Last season, Beck threw for 1,355 yards and 12 touchdowns, logging a 55% completion percentage in 10 games.

Key to the Wolves' success was a balanced attack that spread the ball out, but while seven different receivers logged at least 120 yards last season, six of them graduated, leaving Maddox Hodge — who led the group with 22 catches — as the only returner with significant experience.

Joining him will be a whole bunch of new faces, with Jack Ellison factoring more into the passing game, Bereket Lester coming out after going through surgery last year, and sophomores Jess Bender, Jude Renecker, and Aundre Alexander stepping into greater roles.

"Beck has some new guys to throw the ball to," Baldwin said. "But they're good athletes and we're excited."