Ready for football?: High school season opens Sept. 4

September 2015 Posted in Sports

James DayBy James Day

Silverton High lost a ton of talent off of last season’s Class 5A runner-up squad, but sixth-year coach John Mannion has another strong batch ready to make a run at a third Mid-Willamette Conference title in four years.

“Our goal is to win the league title and go from there,” Mannion told Our Town after a practice in the steamy August heat. “It will not be easy. I think these guys are a scrappy, tight group ready to give it a shot.”

Gone are all-state performers Cole Chandler, Logan Munson, Sam Kuschnick, Cody Gubbels and Camryn Clokey from a squad that went 33-4 in the past three years and did not lose a home game.

Returning are just three starters on offense and four on defense, but Mannion thinks the players coming up to replace them will surprise some people.

Fox coach John Mannion addresses his squad at the end of morning drills Aug. 17. Silverton opens the season Friday at Wilson of Portland. James Day for Our Town

Fox coach John Mannion addresses his squad at the end of morning drills Aug. 17. Silverton opens the season Friday at Wilson of Portland. James Day for Our Town

“We had a good crop of guys that made a great run, but now it is time for the new guys to come forward,” Mannion said. “That’s the nature of high school sports. We have 10 or so players who are all going to make an impact. It’s their turn to carry the flag, and they are prepared to do it.”

Joining senior leaders Noah Dahl and Brett Miller are linemen Jose Diaz, running back/linebacker Justin Hobbs, wide receiver Brandon Bates, defensive back-wide receiver Lucas Wilson and running back/defensive end Noah Franks. Junior Sam Morrison will replace Chandler at quarterback.

“He had a really good summer,” Mannion said of Morrison. “He matured a lot and had some really good games in our summer league. He’s smart, he does a good job running the offense, he can throws a nice pass, his running has improved and he’s a good athlete. He can be a really good quarterback, but he has to be consistent.”

The Foxes open Friday, Sept. 4 at Wilson High School in Portland, then hosts Marist Catholic of Eugene on Sept. 11 in their final nonleague game. Silverton opens Mid-Willamette play Sept. 18 at Lebanon.

“A lot of teams will be gunning for us because of the success we’ve had in the past,” Mannion said. “We have to match their intensity and take them head on.”

Kennedy: The Trojans have a wealth of talent back, with 10 starters returning on offense a nine on defense from a team that finished 7-3 and lost only to state quarterfinalist Central Linn, state semifinalist Regis and state 2A champion Burns.

“I think the team will be stronger this year because of all the experience they got last year,” second-year coach Joe Panuke told Our Town. “We were young and not expected to do as well as we did. Our goal is to try to get back to the playoffs and try and do some damage.”

Doing so might be harder than 2014 because the Tri-River gets just two slots in the Class 2A playoffs. Kennedy received the third and final league spot a year ago behind co-champions Regis and Central Linn.

“We have so many guys returning that we will have a lot of leaders at practice and on Friday nights,” said Panuke, noting high expectations for athletes such as Owen Seiler, Brett Traeger, Jacob Lopez, Dylan Arritola, Bishop Mitchell, Jack Suing, David Wright and Enrique Larios.

The Trojans open the season Friday, Sept. 4 at Clatskanie. Kennedy also plays nonleague games against Knappa, Amity and Creswell before opening the Tri-River season Oct. 2 at home vs. Santiam.

Our Town upgrade: One of the challenges of reporting on sports for Our Town is that we only publish every other week. But that’s in print.

Experiments we conducted with Facebook on the state Class 5A boys basketball tournament and Silverton quarterback Cole Chandler’s decision to attend Pacific Lutheran showed us that Silverton-area sports fans want results and stories on a real-time basis.

Look for us to post stories, photos and game stats on my Twitter account and the Our Town Facebook page on Friday nights throughout the fall season. Questions or comments? My contact information is below.

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