Football is here: Foxes, Trojans ready for 2019 season openers

September 2019 Posted in School, Sports

James DayThe Silverton High football team is 16-6 in two years under coach Josh Craig, who told Our Town his 2019 squad “has some pretty high goals.

“A lot of guys are saying they want to be better than last year. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We need to stay healthy, stay focused and work our butts off. We need to get better today, have a good practice today.”

The Foxes return a strong nucleus from the 2018 Special District 3 title squad that went 8-1 in league play before falling 20-16 to league foe West Albany in the Class 5A quarterfinals.

Silverton returns quality running backs Nathan Kuenzi and Hayden Roth, speedy wide receiver Grant Buchheit and veteran linemen such as Tashaun Treat, Spencer Von Flue, Jackson Clements, Tanner Munson and tight end Zachary MacBean, who also blossomed late in the season as a receiver.

Silverton also has good depth, with running back Nathan Gubbels and receivers Cole Runion and Casey Brooks also expected to contribute.

The Foxes get set to run a play during fall camp. Silverton, which was 9-2 a year ago and shared the district title, opens the season against Central. James Day

The Foxes lost four-year starting quarterback Levi Nielsen, who is now at Western Oregon, but Craig has a promising pair of signal-callers sharing time in fall camp.

Junior Aaron Rieskamp scored a memorable relief win against Lebanon after Nielsen hurt his knee, then went 3-1 as the starter while Nielsen recovered. Also in the mix is sophomore Jordan McCarty, who played key minutes on defense in the West Albany playoff game as a freshman and is perhaps the fastest player on the squad.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” Craig said. “Both guys are hungry, learning a lot and good program guys. Plus they’re really good athletes, not just quarterbacks.”

Craig knows his senior class well. He was the freshman team coach during their first year and has been the varsity head man the past two.

“Seniors are so important,” Craig said. “When it comes time to play these guys are going to be ready.”

The Foxes open Friday, Sept. 6 at Central in their Special District 3 opener. Because the league has 10 teams there are no nonconference games.

Kennedy: The Trojans return six starters on offense and seven on defense from the squad that caught fire midway through last season and won its final nine games to claim the Class 2A title.

Kennedy was 2-2 on Sept. 21 after losing back-to-back games to league foes Santiam and Sheridan by a combined score of 88-7.

Coach Joe Panuke made some adjustments defensively and the Trojans held six foes to one touchdown or less down the stretch, while avenging the earlier losses. JFK downed Sheridan
27-6 in the quarterfinals and defeated Santiam 31-20 in the title match in Cottage Grove.

Key returners for Kennedy, Panuke said, are two-way lineman Sam Grosjacques, who accounted for 10 tackles in the title game, and three-way player Bruce Beyer, who rushed for 19 yards, had seven tackles and an interception on defense while kicking four extra points and a field goal against Santiam.

The field goal was particularly crucial because it gave Kennedy a 31-14 lead after the Wolverines had rallied from a 28-0 halftime deficit to pull within 28-14 late in the third quarter.

There were only six seniors on the 2018 roster, and Panuke told Our Town “we have been impressed with our incoming freshman class. We are coming together as a team and identifying our roles.”

Kennedy always plays a tough nonleague schedule, with this year’s squad opening Friday, Sept. 6 at defending Class 3A champion Rainier.

Football note: Please look for scores and updates on my Twitter feed every Friday night as well as game reports, statistics and photos on the Our Town Facebook page.

Triathlon: Veteran local triathlete Yuri Chavez is getting ready for the Sept. 8 World Ironman 70.3 event in Nice, France.

Chavez, a 56-year-old nurse-anesthetist at Legacy Silverton Medical Center, qualified for the world event by capturing his age group at an Aug. 12 event in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Chavez swam 1.2 miles in Lake Michigan, biked 56 miles and finished with a 13.1-mile run. He finished in five hours, eight minutes and 48 seconds, tops in his 75-athlete division.

A 70.3 triathlon is exactly half the distance of a full Ironman. Chavez, who has been involved with triathlons for 28 years, participated in the full Ironman worlds in Kona, Hawaii, in 1994 and 1996.

Chavez trains up to 12 hours per week, swimming at the community pool in Woodburn and Silverton Reservoir, biking on the roads of Mount Angel, Silverton, Silver Falls and points in between, while also biking on an indoor trainer.

“I try and run outdoors as much as I can,” Chavez said. “It’s my therapy. The time I spend training helps me formulate realistic time goals for the swim, bike and run. Pacing, nutrition and hydration are all planned out before race day.

“Long-distance endurance events are a metaphor for life. You dream, hope and plan for how things will go. Then life happens and it doesn’t happen how you had hoped. The important thing is to just keep going, don’t give up and don’t stop because a victory might just be around the bend.”

Track and field: Incoming Silverton senior Riley Traeger is a national champion. Traeger captured the javelin in the 17-18 girls age division at the USATF junior championships in Sacramento, California. Traeger threw 140-3, more than six feet ahead of the runner-up. Traeger also won the javelin at the OSAA Class 5A meet in May with a throw of 138-9.

Running: The annual Oktoberfest running/walking events are set for Saturday, Sept. 14 in Mount Angel. A 10-kilometer run and a 5K run/walk are on the menu. See for registration information.

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