Fort Vancouver Trappers aim to earn some respect

Paul Valencia
Paul Valencia

VANCOUVER — This is about respect.

It has nothing to do with the win-loss record, or being competitive. Not yet anyway.

Right now, the goal for the 2017 Fort Vancouver High School football program is to earn respect.

“Even if we don’t win, I don’t care, just as long as we’re not embarrassing ourselves,” junior Ezekiel Block said.

New coach Steve Broussard knows this is a tough challenge, but he expects the Trappers to improve and lay a foundation for the future. Photo by Paul Valencia
New coach Steve Broussard knows this is a tough challenge, but he expects the Trappers to improve and lay a foundation for the future. Photo by Paul Valencia
Ezekiel Block
Ezekiel Block

The Trappers went 1-8 last year, with a number of those losses coming in lopsided performances.

Yet Block is not talking about the record. A year ago, the Trappers were involved in two fights. One caused a game to be called early.

“It was kind of annoying. Teachers and administrators were getting on our case,” Block said. “It was really embarrassing. The only thing in the newspaper was our fight … until basketball season.”

Block said he, personally, was not involved in the fights, but he and all the Trappers were associated with the brawls because they all wear the same uniform.

Starting now, he wants that Fort Vancouver uniform to stand for sportsmanship, for honor, for integrity.

Fort Vancouver heads into the high school football season with a new coach and no returning all-league performers but the Trappers are ready to start building their program anew.

That also starts at the top, with a new head coach. Steve Broussard, a former Seattle Seahawks running back, is the new coach. Block has been impressed with what he saw this summer.

“He’s trying to teach us the right way to tackle, the right way to block,” Block said.

More importantly, Block said, he is preaching discipline.

“If he says we’re going to run, we’re going to run,’’ Block said. “If he says we’re going to the weight room, we’re going to the weight room. He said if people aren’t showing up to class, he’s going to make them run.”

Ezekiel Block, right, works on his game from the defensive side of the ball. His goal this season is to get Fort on track to respectability. He wants he and his teammates to have pride in wearing the school’s uniform, win or lose. Photo by Paul Valencia
Ezekiel Block, right, works on his game from the defensive side of the ball. His goal this season is to get Fort on track to respectability. He wants he and his teammates to have pride in wearing the school’s uniform, win or lose. Photo by Paul Valencia

The number of players out for football is not exactly ideal for a Class 3A program, but Block said there is a silver lining to that, as well.

“Most of the kids that don’t want to be disciplined aren’t coming out for football anyway,” he said. “That’s fine.”

Block is an honor roll student and a three-sport athlete at Fort. Known more for his baseball skills, he also held a key role for the basketball team as a sophomore and he started most games at defensive end for the Trappers last fall.

While the team managed to win just one game, and there were those ugly incidents, it was not all bad.

The Trappers are learning about discipline, running together as a team, helping each other out, holding one another accountable. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Trappers are learning about discipline, running together as a team, helping each other out, holding one another accountable. Photo by Paul Valencia

That one win came at Homecoming. For one night, the players were victorious, and their fans rushed the field to celebrate. In another game, Block and the defense held the opponent to zero first downs in the first half.

Broussard said he expects this season to be the foundation for a stronger future. He noted players such as Nehemiah Rasheed, James Durr, Sean Mintah, Nick Laurenza, Tyler Runkle, and Colby Milani to be leaders.

 

The Fort Vancouver Trappers are lining up to build something for the future. This is a new beginning for the program. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Fort Vancouver Trappers are lining up to build something for the future. This is a new beginning for the program. Photo by Paul Valencia

“If we can play hard and compete … my job is to teach them the fundamentals of the game,” Broussard said. “Keep it simple enough that they can fly around and play football. Then you find out who your football players are, and you go from there.”

 

He acknowledged this will be a long-term project.

“It’s been bad, and the morale is not very good,” he said of the program of late.

It is his responsibility to change that.

“No question about it, I’m excited,” Broussard said. “Our biggest thing is them showing up … just trying to get the excitement back.”

Plus, all Trappers have the benefit of being part of something new.

“There’s no preconceived notions about the kids. I don’t know what they can do. Everybody’s got to prove themselves,” Broussard said. “Everybody gets a fresh start. We all start from scratch.”

No matter the record, the Trappers can control whether they can walk off the field feeling good about themselves.

Block would love to win more games, but he is after something much more important this season.

“Just go out there and have teams wanting to come back and play us again because of good sportsmanship,” Block said. “Change the perception that people have about our football program.”

The shirts say it all about the 2017 Trappers. This is not about one person. It is about a program, a program on the mend. To make it happen, they must play together. Photo by Paul Valencia
The shirts say it all about the 2017 Trappers. This is not about one person. It is about a program, a program on the mend. To make it happen, they must play together. Photo by Paul Valencia
Fort Vancouver heads into the high school football season with a new coach and no returning all-league performers but the Trappers are ready to start building their program anew.
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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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