Quincy football sets goal of building on improvement

Aug. 31—QUINCY — The 2022 football season saw some encouraging things happen for the Quincy High School Jackrabbits, and both head coach Russ Elliott and Jacks players want to build on that improvement.

The Jacks won four games in 2022 after going winless in the previous two seasons. Quincy finished 2022 with a 4-6 record, 0-4 in Caribou Trail League, and improving the league record is one of the goals for 2023 — but only one.

Quincy senior Cristian Santiago said reaching those goals requires work off the field.

"Getting into the weight room. Learning every play, (listening) to our coaches," Santiago said.

Senior Bob Bensch said improvement also requires working with each other.

"Keeping each other up, encouraging each other, kind of coaching each other up, too," Bensch said. "Keeping each other accountable. The basics — showing up, really being involved in everything. That's the foundation of becoming a team. And then you can work together in the game."

Senior Ethan Gregg said it's important to get all players involved, whether they start or not.

"Everyone buys into what we're doing, stays focused," Gregg said.

The 2023 season was Elliott's first as QHS head coach, and that experience is valuable for players and coaches alike, he said.

"As coaches and as players last year was the first year with all those concepts, so we're trying to go deeper and understand more of the offense and defense from a player and coaching standpoint," Elliot said. "Having a year under our belt certainly helps with that."

The players have noticed the difference.

"Way ahead of last year," Bensch said. "Especially getting the younger guys learning (the system) too. We've been doing that a lot. And that's definitely been a big deal."

The team has a goal for league play in mind.

"We want to win a CTL game. We've yet to win a CTL game in the last three or four years," Elliott said, and Gregg said the players actually want a little more than that.

"That's definitely our goal, is not to be at the bottom of the league," Gregg said.

In Elliott's opinion, Cashmere and Omak are favorites for the league title going into the season.

"They've got some kids coming back and they're well coached," he said.

The Jacks also return some experienced players, he said, starting with Gregg, the 2022 starting quarterback.

"He's such a great leader, on the field and in practice," Elliott said.

Jayden Richards returns at running back, bringing some speed to the backfield, he said; Noel Ruiz will join Richards at running back.

"(Ruiz) played mostly defense last year, but he has a lot of game experience," Elliott said.

Bensch returns at center and Santiago at an offensive guard position.

"Both those guys started the line every game last year for us," he said.

DJ Frerks returns as the Jacks starting tight end. Pierce Bierlink started as a freshman and returns to play receiver as a sophomore.

If the initial goal is to improve in the CTL, the players have another goal in mind. The 2023 state playoff schedule awards multiple berths to the CTL in 2023, so the Jacks want to qualify for state.

Elliott said he's pleased with what he's seeing so far.

"They're a good bunch of guys and they're working hard, so you can't ask for anything more than that. The practices we've had so far have been better than ever, so I feel really good about that. I think we'll be prepared, and we'll give it our best shot," Elliott said.

"We just want to play up to our potential and see where that takes us," he said.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached via email at

Quincy Football Schedule

Sept. 1 — vs. East Valley (Yakima) — 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 — @ Ephrata — 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 — vs. Tonasket — 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 — @ Brewster — 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 — vs. Cascade (Leavenworth) — 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 — @ Omak — 7 p.m.

Oct. 13 — vs. Chelan — 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 — vs. Medical Lake — 7 p.m.

Oct. 27 — @ Cashmere — 7 p.m.