The Renton High School football program is heading into year four — well three and half years of the Mark Cross era since he came to the Redhawks in the middle of 2021.
Since the coach’s time started, Renton has had an immediate turnaround. In his first two seasons, the Redhawks totaled 10 wins. To get that number in years prior to Cross, you have to go back to 2017.
This year, the Redhawks are looking to improve on their 2022 mark of 5-5. So far, as Renton concluded their first week of camp, there is a lot of excitement for this year’s team.
Senior offensive lineman Nolan Weller likes what he sees.
“I feel like we got a really good team. I’m looking forward to catching some ‘dubs’ with the boys. Hopefully we can make it further than last year and I’m looking forward to the growth we made this year,” he said.
Highline and Renton look to be the top teams in the league this season, and the past two years, Renton has closed the gap between the schools. Back in 2021, Highline won by 54 points, and last season, Renton lost, 50-20. This year, Renton hopes to give them a run for their money.
“We have to work as a team and not be outliers on the field,” said senior G’Mir Green.
“I got a cousin that’s a coach over there, so this year I wanna get at them. That’s my goal this year. This team is playing with a lot of confidence,” said junior tight end Demani Garrett.
The Redhawks are installing a new offense this season, something that the quarterbacks struggled with at first, but are now gaining familiarity.
Last year, Renton had a couple of players leave the program for a multitude of reasons — moving out of state, injury, and for Tameren Smith, recovering from gunshot wounds. He’s more than excited to be back on the football field.
Renton lost to their week one opponent in West Seattle, and is leaning toward playing at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell against an opponent to be determined. Without that game on the schedule, they open up against Olympic High School, a team they lost to last year, 28-7.
Non-league-wise, Renton has struggled. Over the past two seasons, the Redhawks have gone 1-6 in games outside of their league schedule. To improve on that mark, “(we) just need to trust that one another will do their job and work hard,” said senior running back Claudio Herrera Acosta.
But against league opponents, the Redhawks are rocking a 9-3 record in that same time frame. Last season alone, they played three shutouts and scored over 40 points in the wins. To keep that momentum, senior Donni Weaver focuses on their depth: “To maintain (the success), we need second- and third-stringers to be able to rotate in for us and know what they’re doing and fly around the field. It’s important to have shutouts because defense is what wins games,” Weaver said.
If Renton does get a week one game scheduled, it will be the week of Sept. 1 at Pop Keeney Stadium. Their first home game is against cross-town rival Lindbergh on Sept. 15 at Renton Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.