Three Rivers League Overview:
The Lake Oswego Lakers are fresh off a 2011 state title and have won 43 straight league games so don’t be expecting them to lose any time soon. The Lakers return a ridiculous amount of talent, with one of the top coaches in the northwest so they will once again be very good.
The questions will lie at the skill positions where the Lakers were special last season. Kids like Matthews, Long, Coury, and Walen put some serious points on the board with ESPN clutch type performances. For anyone to make up for that is very tough to do, even as talented as the Lakers are.
That said they will still be one of the best teams in the state, with Canby and what looks like a very promising Lakeridge group that’s on the rise battling to over take them. The Cougars will need consistent QB play from talented transfer Sam Stelk, and the loaded junior class will need to step up and ball. Canby has a very talented younger group that will be fun to watch over the next couple of seasons.
Tom Smythe could have some magic up his sleeve with the Pacers, as they will be a team that has the potential to crack the top 10 if they just continue to get better. Eric Dungey is a special young athlete, and a lot of it will depend upon how quick he blossoms.
The Cavaliers will be much improved with a host of talented senior all league athletes back from last years group. Bushman’s group went (2-9) last season, but played people tough and are much better then their record indicated. (Douglas, Iverson, and Kennion) provide solid senior leadership and they have a very talented junior group.
Traditional rivals West Linn and Oregon City could both have a tough time finishing atop the conference this year, but both programs are headed in the right direction with two promising head coaches in Mike Fanger (West Linn) and Kevin Strasser (Ore.City).
Player of the Year Candidates
1. Jack Anderson 6-3 195 Sr. Slot Lake Oswego
2. Mike Caruso 5-7 175 Sr. RB Canby
3. Eric Dungey 6-4 180 So. QB Lakeridge
4. Erick Douglas 5-10 165 Sr. WR Clackamas
5. Sam Stelk 6-5 220 Sr. QB Canby
5. Alex Alamida 6-2 220 Sr. RB Lakeridge
Player of the Year Candidates
1.Mitch Lomax 6-4 240 Sr. LB Lake Oswego
2.Austin Faunce 6-2 245 Sr. DE Lake Oswego
3.Jack Anderson 6-3 195 Sr. S Lake Oswego
4.Nick Underwood 6-2 215 Jr. LB Lake Oswego
5.Marqueese Royster 6-1 265 Jr. DL Lakeridge
5.Jordan Horak 6-1 195 Jr. S Lake Oswego
5.Sam Bodine 6-2 205 Jr. LB Canby
5.Chase Marshall 6-3 225 Jr. LB Lakeridge
State Ranking #6
QB Justen Ruppe
RB JB Homes, Nick Underwood
SLOT Jack Anderson
WR Collin Griffin, Romello Washington, Nick Palermini
TE Mitch Lomax, Drue Naone,
OL Noah Peterson, Kyle Peterson, Austin Faunce
DL Austin Faunce, Spencer Anderson
LB Mitch Lomax, Nick Underwood, Dru Naone, Neil Wagner, Romello Washington
DB Jack Anderson , Jordan Horak, Kenny Oyama, Ben Torkelson
The Lake Oswego Lakers made a run in 2011 like we haven’t seen in a great while. They had that unique blend of talent and overall leadership that helped them to a (14-0) season, and a state title lead by the one and only Steve Coury. The Lakers finished ranked the 25th best team in America and beat the likes of Jesuit twice, Washington 4A State Champion Skyline, Central Catholic, and Sheldon. Any time a northwest team finishes that high in the national polls you have to consider that a very special season.
That said they always return a very talented group and this year looks to be more of the same. The questions lie with a few special individuals and how they can be made up for. Alex Matthews and Stevie Coury were so very talented, and new exactly what the other was thinking. Steven Long was just ridiculous all year long, and Zach Walen and Grant Taylor lead a special group of LB’s. Who can make up for that talent?
The line will be key as the Lakers return a bunch of talent up front with Noah Peterson (6-5 285 Sr. OL), Kyle Peterson (6-2 230 Sr. C/DL), and Austin Faunce (6-2 240 Sr. OL/DL) returning as starters from last years state title team. All three were all league standouts from a year ago with Noah being right on that D1 bubble, and Faunce being an outstanding force on D as one of the best wrestlers in the region. Kyle is a kid that may be the best center in the state and has very athletic genes.
Jack Anderson (6-3 195 Sr. ATH/S) will be the go to guy on offense and just so happened to lead the state of Oregon in INT’s (9) in 2011. Jack’s a kid that you could probably consider the most important player on this years team, as he is a consistent threat on both sides of the ball. Mitch Lomax (6-4 245 Sr. LB/TE) is a kid that we have ranked as one of the region’s top LB’s, but haven’t seen to much of during the off season
Nick Underwood (6-2 220 Jr. LB) and Jordan Horak (6-1 195 Jr. ATH/S) will be two of the top ranked juniors in the entire northwest and both played key rolls in LO’s state championship run last season. Underwood’s testing is off the charts and his intangibles are game changing. He earned honorable mention all league honors as a sophomore, and was an NEI All star during the camp and combine season.
Horak is also a freak athlete and can play a safety/linebacker spot and whatever you want him to play on offense. Both of these kids will be heavily recruited and should have big seasons.
Other athletes that you will see with important roles are receiver Connor Griffin (6-4 210 Sr. WR) who had a very promising end to last season, and Romello Washington (6-3 210 Sr. WR/LB) who did a little bit of everything.
Neil Wagner (6-2 215 Sr. LB) will get his chance to shine on D, and JB Holmes (5-10 195 Sr. RB) did very well filling in for Steven Long last season getting in the end zone multiple times. Add in Drue Naone, a kid with good skills and solid genes, and the very talented Spencer Anderson (6-3 220 Sr. DE) coming off the end and you have another solid group of athletes.
The x factor may be first year QB Justen Ruppe (5-11 170 Sr.), and how well he can use all of the talent that surrounds him. Ruppe will need to be a QB that can manage a game and play mistake free football. If he can do this LO has as good a chance as anybody to win a title. The question will be who is going to put the points on the board and makeup for last years dominance. It will be fun finding out.
(2011 Oregon Class 6a State Champions)
State Ranking #10
QB Sam Stelk
RB Mike Caruso, Sam Bodine, Cole Thompson
WR/Slot Noah Kylo, Coby Cates
TE Trevor Sievers
OL Cody Churchwell, Zach Kraus , Craig Fobert , Nick Kraxberger
DL Hunter Cory, Cody Churchwell,
LB Sam Bodine, Trevor Sievers, Jace Cates
DB Mike Caruso, Noah Kyllo, Coby Cates
The Cougars of Canby always have a well run program and usually challenge for a conference title. This year will be no different as you should see a youthful group of players do well, along with 6-5 QB transfer Sam Stelk from Tigard. Stelk was an all league DE at Tigard last season and also split reps at quarterback. Expect the Cougars to go as Stelk goes, as he will need to be able to come in and distribute the ball
They will be able to count on two returning all league kids up front in Cody Churchwell (6-2 245 Sr. OL/DL) and Zach Kraus (6-4 270 Jr. OL), and a host of other juniors to be with good size and mobility.
A kid that blew up on our camp circuit over the winter/spring was Sam Bodine (6-2 205 Jr. LB/RB) , as he looks to be one of the better juniors in Oregon. He will team with Mike Caruso (5-7 175 Sr. RB) to get a majority of the carries as Caruso had 42 rushes for 314 yards and 2 Tds last season. Bodine projects as a backer, but could definitely run the ball.
Another impressive junior that showed up on the camp circuit and did well was Noah Kyllo (5-10 175 Jr. ATH/DB). Look for him to be one of the better DB’s in the conference and get in the mix offensively.
Canby will rotate a lot of their lineman like in years previous, and should have an outstanding cast of juniors that will add to the youth movement. Craig Fobert (6-4 270 Jr. OL) and Nick Kraxberger (6-4 255 Jr.OL) both will have prominent roles offensively, and Hunter Cory (5-10 225 Sr. DE) should do well from his D end spot.
Trevor Sievers (6-2 215 Sr. TE) and Coby Cates (6-0 175 Sr. WR) will both be two of Stelk’s primary targets, as Sievers caught 5 balls and gained 68 yards from his tight end position last season. He is also an outstanding linebacker, and someone that could team with Caruso to be two of the better defensive players in the conference.
Overall Canby will be good like usual, and also have a lot to build on with a very talented Junior class. Head Coach Mike Vaught has done an outstanding job building within the community as they always play one of the toughest non league schedules in the northwest with this year being no different (Jesuit, Tigard)
(Mike Caruso #6 is a viable Three Rivers Offensive POY candidate, and Cody Churchwell #73 is one of the top lineman in the conference)
State Ranking #16
QB Eric Dungey, Mark Grothe
RB Alex Alamida
Slot/WR Nick Yun, Madison Piel, J.R. McLaughlin
TE Marqueese Royster
OL Joey Miller, Randy Souers, Tyler Moncrief, Dougal Watson
DL Marqueese Royster, Joey Miller, Josh Bennett,
LB Chase Marshall, Alex Alamida, Storm Elund, Madison Piel, Kyle Johnson
DB Mark Grothe, Nick Yun
We recently reported on Lakeridge, and all of the talent returning lead by Hall of Fame Head Coach Tom Smythe. The legendary general has brought life back to a program that he helped create back in the day. Coach Smythe is the winningest coach in Oregon HS Football history, and he is hoping to get the Pacers back to what they once were.
A kid that the entire community is excited about is sophomore QB Eric Dungey (6-4 180 So.) who got his first varsity experience as a freshman. Coach Smythe says, " Eric compares to three of my former 1st team All state QB’s at this point in his career in that he is both a runner and a passer and as good an athlete as Ive ever coached at the position". He continued, " he can play some WR as well, and is a Shawn Kintner type athlete".
The Lakeridge line will be a strength as they return most of their starters, and one of the best junior lineman in the region in Marqueese Royster (6-1 265 Jr. DL). Joey Miller (6-1 275 Sr. OL/DL and Randy Souers (6-1 215 Sr. OL/DL) both will return after all league seasons a year ago and Josh Bennett (6-3 280 Sr. DL) should be a big time force along the D line. Tyler Moncrief (6-4 240 Sr. OL/LB) and Dougal Watson (5-11 210 Sr. OL/LB) are the two other kids that will return as starters and should do well, along with sophomore Mike Kiever (6-0 230 OL/DL).
Expect Chase Marshall (6-3 225 Jr. LB) to be a leader with Royster on the defense as they both rank as two of the top juniors in Oregon. Marshall had the most sacks (5.5) of any sophomore linebacker in the state last season and did very well at our showcase event at UW.
A kid that could be one of the biggest sleepers will be Alex Alamida (6-2 220 Sr. RB/LB) who is a big athlete that flys around and isn’t afraid to lay some hat. He will be one of the key go to guys offensively and should provide a solid option when inside the 20.
Nick Yun (5-7 165 Sr. Slot/DB) , Madison Piel (6-2 205 Sr. Slot/LB), and J.R. McLaughlin (6-0 170 Sr. WR) will be three other kids that will be clutch skill athletes from last season.
With all of these athletes the senior leader of the group may be Mark Grothe who is one of the better overall athletes in the conference. Grothe earned second team all league honors at DB in 2011 and is a viable option at QB as well.
Storm Elund (5-11 180 Sr. LB) and Kyle Johnson (6-1 200 Jr. LB) will be two other backers on an already loaded cast of returners that should contribute.
The Pacers do lose two of the state’s better players in Blake Dutton and Tommy Knecht to graduation, but as a collective group Lakeridge is just getting better and now has size and numbers in its favor. Coach Smythe has done things the right way and they should be able to play with anyone in 2012.
( Eric Dungey (Left) with brother Matt will be one of the top Sophomores in the region and can play both QB and WR)
State Ranking #19
QB Cade Wilkins
RB Zach Farnes, Dan Sherrell
WR Erick Douglas, Jacob Iverson, Ryan Gilbert
TE Brody Haelen
OL David Reese, John Kennion, Cody Lutz
DL John Kennion, Cody Lutz
LB Zach Farnes, Nick Adams
DB Jacob Iverson, Dan Sherrell, Ryan Gilbert
A team that should be much improved from the last few seasons are the Cavaliers out of Clackamas. We had a chance to work with multiple athletes over the off season, and a host of them came from the Clackamas community. An NEI favorite without a doubt was Erick Douglas (5-10 165 Sr. WR/ATH) who returns after a 1st team all league season in 2011 on a team that went (2-9). He went for over 1000 all purpose yards, and also played for our NEI-North team in Vegas. He’s a special kid.
Another big time talent coming up threw the ranks is Junior lineman David Reese (6-7 240 Jr. OL/DL) who also made a statement at our elite events. His sister is hoops player of the year Jen Reese as David is also an outstanding basketball player. His overall athleticism and size alone make him a very intriguing prospect moving forward.
The Cavs will also bring back two all league standouts on both sides of the ball in John Kennion (6-3 245 Sr. DL/C) and Jacob Iverson (6-2 175 Sr. WR/DB), who have played well for the last couple season’s and should be two of the better players within the conference. These four kids will need to be leaders and remain healthy as they have other talented kids around them.
Talented overall athlete Cade Wilkins (6-1 175 Jr.) will return at QB after starting his sophomore year and working some of the kinks out. Wilkins has a ton of potential and is also a general on the basketball floor. Zach Farnes (6-0 180 Jr. Slot/DB), and Brody Haelen (6-3 230 Jr. TE) are two other juniors that will play a significant role in the Cavs turnaround. Farnes could have a breakout season and be a go to guy on offense , and Haelen has just gotten bigger and better. They will team with Wilkins and Reese to form a solid junior cast.
Its been a couple tough seasons for Joe Bushman and company, but I see this being a year where the Cavs get out of the cellar and could possibly win a playoff game or two.
State Ranking #24
QB Logan Ems, Andy Kallien
WR Jarrod Howard, Mario Mastrandrea , Cam Schmiz, Joel Larson
TE Colin Davis
OL Evan Voeller, Ellis Eaton, Noah Bagley
DL Ellis Eaton
LB Colin Davis
DB Jarrod Howard, Mario Mastrandrea, Cam Schmiz
I don’t even know if West Linn realizes how big of a hire Mike Fanger is, buts its huge to say the least. The Lions are going to have a tough season with very few returners back, but they have a lot of talent in the younger classes that will be getting groomed for the years ahead.
The biggest bright spot will come with one of the top lineman in the region leading it in Evan Voeller (6-5 295 Sr. OL), who has committed to Oregon. Voeller is a household name and a kid that could do very well moving forward.
Jarrod Howard (6-1 175 Sr. WR) returns after a second team all league season at WR and looked great on the NEI/Barton camp circuit. He is an individual that will need to have a monster year for the Lions to stay in ball games.
Expect Andy Kallien (6-4 215 Sr. QB) and the starter from 2011 Logan Ems (6-4 180 Sr. QB) to be battling for the starting QB job , and Mario Mastrandrea (WR/DB Sr.) to contribute on both sides of the ball. Colin Davis (6-3 220 Sr LB/TE) is a good size kid and will bring back valuable experience, and will be called upon to be a physical presence on a team strongly looking for that senior leadership.
Many of you may remember the talented Elijah Eaton who graduated last season, but his brother Ellis Eaton (C/DE Jr.) could be even better and is still young. Noah Bagley (6-2 320 Jr. OL/DL)is another very talented junior and will give West Linn a chance up front. If Voeller, Bagley and Eaton can stay healthy that is an extremely solid trio.
Regardless the West Linn area is still full of talent and will be lead by an outstanding coach in Fanger. The Lions won’t be bad, they just won’t be dominating some people like in years past. Look for West Linn to improve as the year moves along, and for them to be one of the better teams in the state in the coming seasons.
6. OREGON CITY
State Ranking #28
QB Jacob Tipton
RB Mitch Thompson,
WR Matt Oades, Justin Cornejo, Clay Reece
OL Jacob Hagler, Mason Kloer,
DL Michael McCoy , Jacob Hagler,
LB Austin Lundmark, Kale Davis
DB Matt Oades, Ryan Cox, Jackson Peters
OC has got things going in the right direction with good numbers coming up through the youth programs, and new Head Coach Kevin Strasser putting together a very impressive run to the state quarterfinals last season. They do lose prime time players in Landon Martinez and Trevor Dye who were elite, but Strasser has brought life back to a program that was down and out.
The small, but very tough and elusive Mitch Thompson (5-7 165 Sr. RB) will return after a second team all league season a year ago. He will need to have a big year offensively if OC wants to make up for all the points that Martinez and Dye put on the board. Matt Oades (6-0 170 Sr. WR/S) will be another two way starter that will be a primary target along with Justin Cornejo.
The Pioneers get two all league kids back on the line in Jacob Hagler (6-1 280 Sr. OL/DL) and Michael McCoy (5-10 220 Sr. DL), and they will have to be leaders on a team that isn’t huge up front. Hagler attended some of our elite events in the spring and did very well.
Kale Davis (6-1 190 Sr. LB) returns from a a broken vertebrae and looks like one of the better defenders in the conference. One other athlete that looked good from his LB spot last season was Austin Lundmark (6-0 185 Sr. LB) who is an undersized backer, but very tough and just a good football player. Both him and Davis will need to play lights out for the Pioneers to have a chance defensively.
This may be another building year for the Pioneers but Strasser has his guys on the right track and is building from the youth on up. Expect to see OC have some quality years ahead.