Oregon 6a Conference Previews:
July 31, 2012 by Jordan Johnson
SWC (Special District 1) Overview-
Its going to be tough for anyone to beat the Sheldon Irish as they will once again most likely challenge for a state title. South Medford will realistically be the only team that will be able to hang with the kids from Eugene.
It will be interesting to see how first year QB's Taylor Alie (Sheldon) and Joe McLaughlin(S.Medford) adjust with all the talent around them. The Irish are 39-2 in the last three seasons with two state title appearances and one state championship, so to say that they are the conference favorites would be an understatement. Connor Strahm has dominated everyone on both sides of the ball for the better part of the last two seasons, and until someone can stop him most won't have a chance.
Bill Singler runs an outstanding Panther program down South that consistently re loads and does things the right way. They will always compete and be tough to beat.
Another team that you can't sleep on are the Comets out of Crater, who have a couple high profile D1 kids in Derrick Turituri and RJ Morgan. Crater has good community support and some very talented younger athletes, but is lacking relevant lineman that can compete with the likes of Sheldon and S.Medford so it might be tough.
Roseburg loses a ton of kids to graduation and will have to rely on the youth movement and talented senior QB Hayden Lent. Thurston and Grants Pass are in similar situations as they have had success in previous years, but don't bring back very many starters or size up front. They do have a rich football tradition and good coaching which should hopefully help.
North Medford has some very talented younger athletes but are lacking any type of line so they still might be a year away, while South Eugene has been in a world of hurt for awhile now and would like nothing more then to get out of the cellar. Things do look to be picking up.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES
1. Connor Strahm 6-1 210 Sr. Slot Sheldon
2. Derrick Turituri 6-2 215 Sr. Slot Crater
3. Yadie Dunmore 5-11 175 Jr. Slot Sheldon
4. Christian Bowley 5-7 165 Jr. RB S. Medford
5. RJ Morgan 6-2 200 Sr. WR Crater
5. Hayden Lent 6-2 210 Sr. QB Roseburg
5. Adrian Garcia 6-0 165 Sr. WR S.Medford
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES
1. Connor Strahm 6-1 210 Sr. S Sheldon
2. Derrick Turituri 6-2 215 Sr. LB Crater
3. James Banks 6-1 225 Sr. LB Sheldon
4. Chet Spears 6-2 300 Sr. DL Sheldon
5. Pat Alexander 6-0 205 Sr. LB S.Medford
5. RJ Morgan 6-2 200 Sr. S Crater
State Ranking #2
QB Taylor Alie, Kellen Strahm
RB Mitch Lewis, James Banks
SB Connor Strahm , Yadie Dunmore
WR Mitch Herbert , Dylan Lewis
TE Ivan Faulhaber , Mike Ralston
OL Brett Nielsen, Tanner Davies , Henry Asay
DL Liam Talty, Mike Ralston, Chet Spears
LB James Banks, Ivan Faulhaber, Marcus McGovern
DB Connor Strahm, Dylan Lewis, Mitch Lewis, Yadie Dunmore, Mitch Herbert
Where to start? Its one of the most well run programs in the country, and one of the most successful over the last decade. Lane and Marty Johnson have done things the right way and the community support surrounding the Irish has been phenomenal. We have been able to get to know a host of the Sheldon athletes over the last few years, and as we have said time and time again they are outstanding kids.
Connor Strahm (6-1 210 Sr. ATH/S) returns after being named SWC Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 and earning 1st team all state honors on both sides of the ball, something almost unheard of for a junior. Strahm went for over 1900 All Purpose yards and 28 Tds offensively while adding 7 Int's on defense, good for second state wide. He currently holds 3 D1 offers (PSU, Montana, N.Dakota) and is as good as any player in the state once you put the pads on him. For my money he's the most exciting football player in Oregon.
The Irish also added three big time transfers to go with the returning MVP in James Banks (6-1 225 Sr. LB/FB), Yadie Dunmore (5-11 175 Jr. ATH/DB) and Mike Ralston (6-6 240 Sr. TE/DE). Banks returns as one of the state's top backers after a 1st team all league season at Marist in 2011. He has had an outstanding off season thus far, and is another kid that shines once you get the gear on him.
Dunmore is the brother of one of country's top overall athletes in Oshay Dunmore who is headed to Oregon next season. Yadie went for over 1400 all purpose yards and 16 Tds at 4a Newport last season. Expect him to play a role on both sides of the ball, and be one of the top punt/kick returners in the state.
Ralston already has a D1 offer from N.Colorado and should be a big addition. He's another kid that could project on either side of ball due to his size and overall athleticism.
Sheldon will have a solid junior class that will team with the seniors. Taylor Alie (6-0 170 Sr. QB) will have his opportunity at quarterback this season after Dillon Miller and Jordan Johnson did there thing for the last half decade. He will be able to do more with his feet, but less with his arm then Miller and will have to rely on his overall athleticism.
Additional skill kids that will be called upon include Mitch (6-0 165 Sr. RB/DB) and Dylan Lewis (6-0 165 Sr. WR/DB) who were both all league kids as juniors and can play at a very high level on either side of the ball.
On the line expect to see Brett Nielsen (6-4 230 Sr. OL/DL) and Chet Spears (6-2 300 Sr. DL) be the senior leaders on both sides of the ball, with Tanner Davies (6-4 280 Jr. OL) considered one of the top junior lineman in the state of Oregon. Henry Asay (6-2 295 Sr. OL) will also contribute offensively while Liam Talty (6-4 215 Jr. DE) could be one of the biggest sleepers of the year.
A kid that a lot of people don't know about yet is Mitch Herbert (6-3 180 Jr. WR/DB) who was injured part of last season, but has come back in a big way and looks like one of the top juniors in the entire state. You could expect him to potentially start both ways on an already loaded Sheldon roster.
All this said and we haven't even taken into account two of the state's top other backers in Ivan Faulhaber (6-3 215 Sr. LB/TE) and Marcus McGovern (6-2 210 Jr. LB/DE). Both of these kids are ranked as two of the state's best for their class, and will team with Banks to form one of the nastiest LB crews in the state.
Sheldon is loaded once again on both sides of the ball and they will have as good a chance as anybody to win a state title. The biggest question marks come at the QB position and how Alie will handle running the show.
(From L-R: One of Oregon's top LB's James Banks 6-1 225 Sr, Jesuit transfer Mike Ralston 6-6 240 TE/DE, Returning SWC Offensive MVP Connor Strahm 6-1 210 Sr. Slot/S)
State Ranking #8
QB Joe McLaughlin
RB Christian Bowley, Anthony Gomez, Pat Alexander
WR Adrian Garcia, Max Farthing, Ben Casebier, Bo Breeze
TE Tristian Lallo
OL Sam Curtius, Kyle Eli, Joe Cooney, Josh Bowden, John Milhollin
DL Sam Curtius, Tristian Lallo, Kyle Eli, Josh Bowden
LB Pat Alexander, Anthony Gomez
DB Adrian Garcia, Max Farthing, Ben Casebier, Bo Breeze
The Panthers will be the only team that could potentially hang with Sheldon in conference, and Head Coach Bill Singler wouldn't have it any other way. S.Medford will lose the QB/WR Tandem of Jack Singler and Matt Retzlaff, but they have a program that continues to produce good athletes.
They return one of the conference's top receivers in Adrian Garcia (6-0 165 Sr. WR/DB) 702 Rec Yds, 9 Tds ..who earned 2nd team all league honors last season, and junior standout Christian Bowley (5-7 165 Jr. RB) who rushed for 563 yards, and 9 Tds with a 9 yards per carry average. Both of these kids will be considered two of the top players in the conference, and will be key if the Panthers want to make a run.
The state's leading tackler (123, 11.2 Per game) among all juniors is back in linebacker Pat Alexander (6-0 205 Sr. LB/FB) who wil help lead the defense in 2012. Alexander is an undersized backer with a nose for the ball that just makes plays. He will team with two juniors who should do very well for themselves in returning starter Anthony Gomez (5-8 190 Jr. LB/RB), and North Medford transfer Bo Breeze (6-1 185 Jr. LB). Gomez had 75 total tackles himself last season and should be one of the better players in the conference. Breeze is still a question mark, but has quality genes and could do well.
South Medford loses quite a few returning starters on the offensive line, but Head Coach Bill Singler always has a good in coming group ready to go. They return four individuals who will be some of the better lineman in the conference in senior leader Sam Curtius (6-5 220 Sr. OL/DE), and junior's Tristian Lallo (6-4 215 Jr. DE/TE), Kyle Eli (5-9 195 Jr. OL/DL), and Josh Milhollin (6-3 285 Jr. OL).
Curtius and Lallo in particular both have huge upsides and are ranked among NEI's top D lineman. Two others senior starters with size will be back as well in Joe Cooney (6-4 240 Sr. OL) and Josh Bowden (6-0 230 Sr. OL/DL), and together all of these athletes provide an up front presence that could compete with Sheldon.
Other athletes that will make a difference for this Top 10 team will be Max Farthing (5-11 170 Sr. WR/DB) and Ben Casebier (5-11 180 Sr ATH). Farthing will be one of the better two way threats within the conference, and Casebier is just a very good overall football player. Coach Singler does an outstanding job of getting his players to buy in from a young age, and the Panthers have thrived because of that.
Much of their success will come down to first year starting QB Joe McLaughlin (6-1 180 Sr. QB) and how well he can get the hang of things. His surrounding cast is very talented and the line is solid. Joe put the work in over the off season so the future looks promising.
Overall the Panthers will be good and realistically will be the only real challenger for the Irish during the conference season.
( Head Coach Bill Singler's Panthers are always talented and will come in as a NEI 6a Top 10 Team)
State Ranking # 20
QB Chase Mackey
RB Ty Wolf, Davey McCollum
WR RJ Morgan, Taylor Peterson
SB/TE Derrick Turituri
DL Sam Flores, Eduardo Duran
LB Derrick Turituri, Ty Wolf, Jerry Delafuente
DB RJ Morgan , Davey McCollum, Mason Drake
Crater has a solid football community and every year they are a threat to anyone that's sleeping on them. This years team will be extremely small up front, but feature two of the top athletes in the state in Derrick Turituri (6-2 215 Sr. Slot/LB) and RJ Morgan (6-2 205 Sr. WR/S ) who have both committed to Arizona.
Turituri is a well known kid with D1 genes that had multiple offers, while Morgan was anything but when the Wildcats pulled the trigger. Outstanding work on RJ's end as any kid without an offer that can get scholarships from Pac 12's should be commended. He's an extremely athletic kid, with good size and a high ceiling.
Both of these athletes are viable conference player of the year candidates, but the surrounding cast remains in question. Chase Mackey (6-2 170 Sr. QB) has looked good over the off season and should provide leadership behind center. He threw for 5 Tds/2 Ints with a 56% completion pct splitting time last season.
The teams leading rusher returning, Ty Wolf (6-0 190 Sr. RB/LB/P) is back after scoring 5 Tds and rushing for 563 yards last season. Wolf is also one of the state's top kickers, so Crater will get a kid that can contribute on both sides of the ball as well as special teams.
One of the state's top rising top sophomores, Cory Bennett (5-11 185 So. ATH) will return after an incredible freshman season where he scored 8 Tds averaging 9.4 yards per carry and 13.3 yards per catch. He is one of the top youngsters in the entire Pacific Northwest.
Bennett and senior Taylor Peterson (6-0 180 Sr. WR) will be the the other athlete back who contributed last season (7 rec, 136 yds, 2 Tds). Overall the Comets have some kids who can get in the end zone, but the line will be a big question mark. We have seen a number of teams that have a solid perimeter, but can't ever get going because they are lacking up front.
Crater should be a playoff team that could do well if they get some line play.
( Congratulations to Derrick Turituri and RJ Morgan on their commitments to the University of Arizona, they will lead the Comets in 2012)
State Ranking # 25
QB Hayden Lent
RB Jake Heverly
WR Jordan Rice
OL Zach Wyscaver , Isaiah Smith , Elijah Trullinger
DL Zach Wyscaver, Isaiah Smith, Elijah Trullinger
LB Terran Reedy
DB Jake Heverly
Roseburg will forever be competitive as long as Thurman Belle is in the building. The Indians lose a majority of their starters from last season, but bring back a very talented signal caller in Hayden Lent (6-2 215 Sr. QB) who is ranked as one of NEI's top 10 QB's for the class of 2013. He returns after earning honorable mention all league honors last season.
Lent has ideal size and a good arm, but will have to get comfortable quick with a host of new players. Jake Heverly (5-7 165 Sr. RB/DB) will return as the teams top skill kid after earning 2nd team all league honors at DB in 2011. Heverly will have to have a huge offensive year if the Indians want to compete with the top teams in the conference.
Zach Wyscaver (6-1 265 Sr. OL/DL), Isaiah Smith (5-11 250 So. OL/DL), and Elijah Trullinger (6-2 245 Sr. OL/DL) will return and be crucial individuals up front. They seem to always be able to replace lineman as they have been a run based team for years, and the line is always very important. Wyscaver has experience and good genes, while Smith is the future.
Roseburg is notoriously one of the toughest places to travel to so they will be looking to take advantage of that. Terran Reedy (6-1 200 Sr. LB) started last season and will be the teams top backer, and Jordan Rice (6-4 195 Sr. WR/DB) has all the potential in the world we will just have to see what he does with it.
Coach Bell is regarded as one of the country's top all time high school coaches, but one wonders how long he will remain. Bell is Roseburg football so it will be very interesting to see how the community goes about the post era if this is his last season.
State Ranking #27
QB Corey Weick 6-2 205 Sr.
RB Aaron Downes 6-0 215 Sr, Roy Jackson 5-10 180 Jr.
WR Logan Tovey, Tanner Demoss 5-7 150 Sr.
OL Collin Lahti 6-4 230 Sr, Christian Schweitzer 6-1 220 Sr, Marshall Davis 5-10 250 Sr.
DL Collin Lahti 6-4 230 Sr, Christian Schweitzer 6-1 220 Sr, Marshall Davis 5-10 250 Sr.
LB Aaron Downes 6-0 215 Sr, Dakota Williams* Injured 5-6 weeks
DB Roy Jackson 5-10 180 Jr.
Thurston loses a great deal of talent, but Head Coach Justin Starck seems to always get his guys on the same page. This year will definitely be a test, but the school out of Eugene has produced some quality talent over the years so it will be interesting.
Aaron Downes (6-0 215 Sr. RB/LB) and Collin Lahti (6-4 230 Sr. OL/DL) will be the only two all league kids returning from a team that put a ridiculous amount of points on the board last season. Trevor Westover's 2000+ yards will be difficult to replace, and Chad Olson leading the State in multiple passing categories didn't hurt either.
Downes earned 2nd team all league honors at backer last season and scored 4 Tds from his RB spot, but this year will be much different. Most teams will key on him and Junior Roy Jackson (5-10 180 Jr. RB/DB) who are probably the two best athletes on the team.
Opponents will do their best to make first year starter Corey Weick (6-2 205 Sr. QB) beat them through the air with limited targets and an untested line. Lahti will get help from Christian Schweitzer (6-1 220 Sr. OL/DL) and Marshall Davis (5-10 250 Sr. OL) and will need for them to play out of their minds
LB Dakota Williams will be out til week 5 or 6 which is a big blow, but expect Downes to have a big year as the kid plays with no fear and reckless abandonment. Starck is an outstanding coach and we expect the Colts to always battle, but this year could be tough starting with a brutal game against a ridiculously talented Aloha team.
State Ranking # 30
QB Hunter Rich
RB Anthony Mattie, Steven Etheridge
SB Riley Veritch
WR JC Mckinley
OL Kyle Miller, Jerad Thomason
DL Kyle Miller, Michael Vanlohuizen
LB Steven Etheridge , Anthony Mattie
DB Riley Veritch , Caeman Nicholas
The Cavemen of GP have some of the richest football history in Oregon High School Sports. Its been a rough go over the last few years and they are looking to get back on track. Community support within the area has always been outstanding, and they are hoping to fill the stands this season.
Two kids we were impressed with over the off season were Riley Veritch (5-10 170 Sr. Slot/DB) and quarterback Hunter Rich (5-9 175 Sr. QB). Rich showed up at couple of our regional combines and did extremely well. He was almost surprisingly fluid and accurate for a small QB. He was one of the better QB's at each event.
Veritch was a 2nd team all league DB last season and looks to be one of the top two way threats in the conference, as you can expect GP to get him the ball as much as possible.
Anthony Mattie (5-10 200 Sr. RB) will be the featured back and get most of the carries and will also need to stay healthy and play linebacker. Steven Etheridge (6-1 215 Sr. LB/FB) is the only other all league kid returning along with Veritch, and he will need to have a monster year for GP to compete with the big boys. Etheridge is a good sized kid that should do well.
Kyle Miller (6-2 230 Sr. OL/DE) will be the key athlete on both sides of the line, and center Jared Thomason (5-7 190 Sr. C) is also a returning starter. Its no secret they aren't going to be deep up front so they will need some younger athletes to step up and produce from an early age.
Expect to see GP getting better as the season progresses,
State Ranking # 37
QB Troy Fowler
RB Evan Hisey, Kolbey Talbert
TE Dom Barnett
WR Jarred Evans , Brody Zoller , Eugene Ellis, Riley Driscoll , Tristan Holmes
OL Fou Polataivao, Hunter Mermansen, Tyler Baird , Aivaon Maloney
DL Fou Polataivao, Garrett Knox, Drew Collins, Zach Kuitert
LB Evan Hisey, Nick Jankakes ., David Cepada
DB Kolbey Talbert, Tristan Holmes , Riley Driscoll
Anyone that knows Oregon HS Football will tell you that N.Medford has one of the winningest programs in state history since their opening. The last few years have been anything but, and new Head Coach Mike Mitchell will have to do something no other coach has been able to do in the last decade.
The good news for the Black Tornado is that there younger classes have rarely lost, the bad news is that many of them will play immediately from a very young age. Sophomore QB Troy Fowler (5-11 165) will be presented with the challenge of leading the N.Medford team into 2012. He is an outstanding young QB, but even he won't dispute things could get tough.
He will have maybe the state of Oregon's top sophomore WR in Jarred Evans (6-3 180 So. WR) to throw to, along with a host of other very talented wide outs. Eugene Ellis (Jr. WR) , Tristan Holmes (6-1 180 So WR), Riley Driscoll (6-3 175 Sr. WR), and Brody Zoller (Sr. WR) all can play ball and legitimately will do well if Fowler can get time to throw the rock.
Fou Polataivao (6-1 300 Sr. OL/DL) will have to have the best year of his life and stay healthy. They will need his senior leadership up front and must get good play from seniors Aivaon Maloney (5-11 220 Sr. OL and Tyler Baird (5-11 245 Sr. OL) if they want to have a chance.
The senior leader of the group will be Evan Hisey (6-0 215 Sr. FB/LB) who is big and fast, and is able to be a difference maker. More then anybody on the team Hisey must be a lock down linebacker, and a guy that can get over the goal line when in the Red zone. Hisey had an outstanding camp when we were down in Medford, and he could be one of the better players in the conference.
Look for Kolby Talbert (5-7 155 Sr. Slot/CB) to be a key senior, and Sophomore standout Nick Janakes (5-11 170 RB/LB) to both play big roles if the Tornado are going to consistently win some games.
State Ranking # 39
QB/ATH Braeden Emrick
WR Michael Selven . Tyson Young
LB Braeden Emrick
DB Michael Selven , Brayden Barrett So.
The Axemen are in a very tough position after an (0-9) season and a host of changes within the program. Braden Emrick (5-11 170 Sr. ATH/LB) returns as a three year starter and someone that earned all league honors as a sophomore at linebacker.
Emrick is an undersized kid, but a very talented athlete and should be commended for battling for the last three years like he has.
The South Eugene team isn't going to have a bunch of big names, but right now that doesn't matter. The attitude is good as we saw a talented group of athletes travel up to a Barton training session hear in Portland not long ago. It's still going to be a very tough season, but expect things to be improved.