Football preview: Foxes, Trojans dive into fall camps

August 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, School, Sports

James DaySilverton football was 7-4 last season in its first year under coach Josh Craig, advancing to the state quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Mountain View in a 46-42 shootout in Bend.

This year the Foxes are in a reconfigured league, looking to fill huge holes at wide receiver and will try to shore up a defense that was too prone to high-scoring affairs like the Mountain View game.

“I’m excited. I feel really lucky to be here,” Craig told Our Town after a recent workout. “Our numbers are where we want them to be. Our guys are bouncing around and enthusiastic. ‘Don’t be too cool to hustle’ is what (predecessor John) Mannion used to say. And I stole it.”

Craig has a veteran quarterback, senior Levi Nielsen, who began starting midway through his freshman season.

“He did a lot of offseason work,” Craig said, “working on getting a quicker release. He’s still athletic as ever.”

The Foxes lost two other great athletes, wide receivers Spencer Clements and Colton Meyer, who combined for 109 catches for 1,551 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

Craig has moved the versatile Grant Buchheit from running back to receiver, has speedy Isaac Magana available and also is looking to Casey Brooks,
a transfer from Molalla to be part of
the mix.

Craig said that the experience of Nielsen should help the receiving corps develop.

Last season Silverton scored 35 points against Central, 37 against Corvallis and 42 against Mountain View. And lost all three games.

“That’s not the way we want to do it,” said Craig, who second-guessed himself a bit for rushing into defensive scheme work last season and not paying enough attention to the fundamentals.

“If you can’t get off a block or cover a guy you’re not going to play good defense,” Craig said. “We’re not overlooking the small things this year. You have to do those things right. On defense you just have to.”

The Foxes will play in a new 10-team league this season, Class 5A – Special District 3. Woodburn left the old Mid-Willamette Conference, and North Salem, McKay and West Albany have joined Central, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, Dallas, Lebanon and South Albany.

District members will play nine league games, which means no nonconference matchups.

“That’s different, but in a good way,” Craig said. “We’ve got to be conference ready by Aug. 31.”

The Foxes host Central at McGinnis Field at 7 p.m. on opening night. They will participate in a jamboree Aug. 24 at Southridge in Beaverton.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is coming off a 4-7 season, but that record is deceptive. The Trojans traditionally play up against Class 3A competition in the nonleague season and two of the losses were to Class 2A champion Monroe/Triangle Lake. Kennedy gave the Dragons all they could handle before falling 41-35 in the quarterfinals.

“We are very excited about this upcoming season,” fifth-year head coach Joe Panuke told Our Town. “The guys have been working hard at camp and have set high goals for the season.”

The Trojans return eight starters on offense and defense and Panuke said his senior class “will be a key for us,” noting players such as lineman Nick Suing, wide receiver/defensive backs Brandon Salazar and Angel De La Rosa, tight end/linebacker Rocco Carley, running back/defensive lineman Bryce Vandervort and Anthony Barboza.

Sophomore quarterback Dylan Kleinschmit and junior running back Emorej Lynk are expected to play key roles on offense. Other underclasmen primed to contribute include Cole Boen, Brady Traeger, Cameron Biegel, David Reyes, Bruce Beyer, Isaiah Basargin, and Ruben Ramirez.

Like Silverton, Kennedy will be adjusting to a new league and new opponents. The Trojans will play in Class 2A – Special District 2, with only Santiam moving with them from the Tri-River Conference. Also in the league are Chemawa, Colton, Culver, Gervais and Sheridan. Kennedy still will play long-time rival Regis, but the Sept. 14 game in Mount Angel will be a non-league affair.

“It will definitely take a while to get used to the new league,” said Panuke, who is in his 11th year overall with the program. “There were some good league rivalry games in the old Tri-River. I am looking forward to meeting the coaches from the new teams in the league.”

Kennedy participates in an Aug. 24 jamboree at Dayton and opens the season at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 against Blanchet Catholic at McCulloch Stadium in Salem.

Homer runs: The annual Homer’s Classic runs attracted nearly 80 participants on Aug. 5, with athletes dealing with modest temperatures in the mid-70s.

Silverton High incoming senior Haile Stutzman won the 8-kilometer covered bridge run in 27:15.7, well ahead of runner-up – and former Foxes teammate – Wolfgang Seifer, who ran 29:45.0. Long-time Homer participant Deanna O’Neil of Canby took fifth overall and was the top woman finisher in 32:09.1. Sixth was former Kennedy standout Kaylin Cantu, who is returning to action after missing her senior track season with injuries. Cantu ran 33:30.2, 0.3 seconds ahead of Alejandra Lopez, her running mate with the Trojans for the past three years.

Former Foxes runner Hosea Catterall won the 2-mile in 12:10.9, more than 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Tom O’Neil of Canby. Tina Brundridge of Scotts Mills was third overall in 15:21.9 and was the first female finisher.

The races raised $1,000 apiece for the cross country programs at Silverton and Kennedy. The funds are used to buy shoes for low-income students and allow the teams to travel to meets and
running camps.

Follow me on @jameshday.
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