Football flashback: Foxes, Trojans make playoff runs

December 2017 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, Community, School, Sports

James DaySilverton High turned in a 7-4 football season under first-year coach Josh Craig and came within 57 seconds of advancing to the Class 5A semifinals.

“We’re very proud of these guys,” Craig told Our Town. “We couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.”

Silverton turned in a stirring 24-0 second-half domination of Thurston in a 31-14 round of 16 win before falling 46-42 at Mountain View of Bend in the quarterfinals.

“Just a couple of plays kept us from going to the semifinals,” said Craig, who turns 27 this month. “We were very close.”

Craig still is at the sponge state in his coaching development, and he produced a long list of things he wants to learn and improve upon. And he sounded like he would be fine if fall drills started in 10 days.

“Last week was my first one without football,” he said in an interview in the classroom where he teaches five periods of English. “It takes some getting used to.”

Craig mentioned a greater understanding of quarterback play and special teams as well as refining his play-calling.

“I’ve committed myself to learning more in the offseason to give my guys a better chance to win,” he said.

The Foxes will lose some top contributors such as wide receiver/defensive backs Spencer Clements and Colton Meyer, two-way lineman Zach Milstead, center Tom Craig and three-way contributor Kobe Garcia.

But juniors Ben Willis, Hunter Meissner, Logan Fergus, Rory Groom and Levi Nielsen combined to earn eight of the Foxes’ all-Mid-Willamette Conference spots. Plus Silverton’s freshman squad finished its second consecutive 9-0 season.

“There is some good energy coming in.” Craig said.

Kennedy, meanwhile, finished 4-7 while playing a brutally tough schedule. The Trojans started 0-4 but finished third in the Tri-River Conference and advanced to the Class 2A quarterfinals before falling to eventual finalist Monroe.

“We are very proud of how our team improved and grew together as a team this year,” Kennedy coach Joe Panuke told Our Town.

“We spent a lot of time talking about things you can control: effort, preparation and mental focus. We lost a lot of leaders from last year’s team. So this time it took some time to identify who was going to lead us and to find our team’s identity.”

Four of Kennedy’s losses were to Monroe (twice), St. Paul and Santiam, with those three squads forming 75 percent of the Class 2A final four. The Titans also lost to quarterfinalist Oakland and two Class 3A playoff teams, Clatskanie and Blanchet.

Symbolic of the team’s development is that a 28-0 loss to Monroe in September became a 41-35 loss in the playoffs, with Kennedy taking the Dragons to the limit. Freshman quarterback Dylan Kleinschmit threw three touchdown passes, one to sophomore running back Emorej Lynk, who also had a pair of rushing TDs. Sophomore receiver Brady Traeger caught the other two TD passes from Kleinschmit.

Panuke noted that the squad will have seven returning starters on offense and defense.

“We are expecting big things from all our returning starters next year,” he said.

Cross country: Four-time district champion Kaylin Cantu of Kennedy finished her glittering high school career with a 16th-place finish Nov. 18 in the Nike Border Clash in Beaverton. Cantu ran 19:03.5 and was the eighth Oregon runner to finish in the competition that includes the top 80 runners regardless of classification in Oregon and Washington.

Cantu also has signed a letter-of-intent to compete in cross country and track and field at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Swimming: The Foxes are dedicating their home opener Tuesday, Dec. 5 to long-time coach and supporter Dennis Downey, the Silverton-area contractor who passed away Sept. 26 at the age of 71.

The ceremony to honor Coach Downey will be at 3:45 p.m. at the Silverton Community Pool, with the Foxes taking on Putnam of Milwaukie in a dual meet starting at 4 p.m. Foxes past, present and future are encouraged to be on hand to honor Downey.

Dance: Silverton has finished its fall categories competitions after competing in jazz contemporary and hip hop at events at David Douglas, Wilsonville and West Albany. The Foxes brought home three first-place trophies and three seconds at the three meets. In addition, freshman Alicea Little and senior Emily Huyck placed in drill down.silv-dance-17

Silverton competes in the categories championships Saturday, Dec. 2, at Tualatin High.

Also on this year’s squad are seniors Brenna Beyer, Abby Hulett, Natalie Reutov and Mikayla Hamilton; juniors: Hannah Barrett, Rebekah Huebsch, Lisa Kurns, Abi Reece and Sarah Zitzelberger; sophomores Corinne Berning, Lottie Hamilton, Sarah Littell and Samantha Zurcher; and freshmen Emily Anderson, Sophia Borgstahl, Orianna Farrell, Euphrasia Retov and Claire Crager-Stadeli.

Silverton is coached by Paula McGee, Emily Sword and Alex Reese.

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