(The Silverton Community landed an incredible coach/mentor when John Mannion came to town)
The Silverton Foxes return this season after a very impressive 2011 campaign that saw them finish (8-3) while playing in maybe the toughest 5a conference in the state. Head Coach John Mannion has done an incredible job of building life into the program that saw its numbers pick up dramatically. The last name Mannion may sound familiar as his son is the talented QB from Oregon St (Sean Mannion).
This was a huge pickup for the town of Silverton, as Coach Mannion comes from the bay area down in Cali where some of nation’s toughest football is played. There was 50+ freshman on last years 9th grade team that went (8-1) so the numbers speak for themselves.
The Foxes lose two outstanding athletes to graduation in Torrey Rogness and Julian Canda, both of whom are playing for Arne Ferguson and an up and coming Western Oregon team. They bring back four offensive starters along the line who have gained significant size over the off season and will only be juniors (Joe Keunzi 6-2 235 Jr. OL/DL, Matt Willis 6-4 210 Jr. OL/DE, Levi Stadeli 6-2 200 Jr. OL/DL, and Joe Biben 6-2 220 Jr. TE/DL).
This is exciting as the Foxes also return QB Jonas Dahl (6-2 190 Jr.) and talented two way side kick Max Wilson (6-0 190 Jr. RB/LB). Dahl came in and did a nice job last season as a sophomore throwing 10 Tds and 5 Ints filling in mid year. Wilson will be a two way starter, and should be considered one of the better junior athletes in the conference. He averaged a team high 7.6 yards per carry in 2011 and should see quite a few more touches this year.
The best overall athlete on the team returning may be second team all league linebacker/running back Chris Garcia (6-0 190 Sr.). Garcia led the team in rushing Tds and Yds (5, 301- Max Preps) last season, and will play a vital role as a senior leader on this years squad. The talent of the younger classes is very apparent, Coach Mannion says, " We are all excited to get started, the kids have been working extremely hard to get ready and we are just going to take it week by week and see how we do". Coach added, " We have a tough non league schedule against two good non conference opponents in Springfield and Bend, and then obviously our league is always very talented".
The entire town is excited to see football progressing the way it has. Last years in conference victories over Corvallis and Lebanon showed what type of potential they have as a team with so many young athletes contributing. Jonas Dahl is a QB on the rise and he says, " I want to be someone that my guys can look to for leadership and play mistake free football… I feel like if I can manage the game well, we have enough talented athletes to get the job done". Dahl speaks very highly of his teammates and added, " our line is very impressive, we haven’t always had ideal size and strength up front but these guys have changed that".
Silverton will feature two prime time receivers in Nick Teubel (5-9 170 Sr. WR), and a kid returning to the football field for the first time in high school Preston Kirk (6-3 175 Sr. WR) who has looked impressive this off season. Dahl may have some competition at QB which is always healthy, as sophomore quarterback Cole Chandler is very talented.
In all Silverton looks like they will be one of the better teams in the Mid Willamette Conference for years to come, and all of us at NEI and Barton Football look forward to covering the Foxes in 2012 and beyond.
(Junior Jonas Dahl is one of the better Jr QB’s in the state and will need to be a leader)