North Salem isn’t guaranteed to find life playing football in 5A any easier than 6A.
But the Vikings will at least face teams closer to their own size.
While North Salem has nearly 2,000 students enrolled in its school, only 75-80 students play football, compared to around 120 at nearby 6A schools McNary and South Salem.
Those numbers make it difficult for the Vikings to field three teams—varsity, JV and freshman.
“That’s always been an issue for us is the amount of kids we’re able to get out,” said head coach Jeff Flood, entering his 11th year at North Salem. “I think a lot of people just look at the amount of kids that walk through your front door everyday but that doesn’t really impact how many athletes you have or how many kids are actually participating in sports. I think our numbers are more equal to the teams we’ll be joining.”
The Vikings, which haven’t won more than three games in any season over the last five years, weren’t given any favors in the league they were placed in, which includes two other teams moving down from 6A, McKay and West Albany, as well as four squads that reached the 5A state quarterfinals last season—Lebanon, South Albany, Crescent Valley and Silverton.
“It’s a tough league so football-wise I don’t really think we catch a break,” Flood said. “The last couple of years there’s a lot of teams that have had success and teams that are used to going out and winning. It’s going to be competitive every week. It’s going to be important for us to just look at who we’re playing next and not worry about what level they are. It’s new teams for these kids. The biggest thing is we don’t know any of the kids we’re playing.”
North Salem returns the pieces Flood’s Wing T offense needs to have a successful season—experience at quarterback and the offensive line.
“That gives us a solid foundation to build on since last season,” Flood said.
Quarterback Zac Sullivan, a senior, will lead the offense for the second year in a row.
“He’s really capable of running everything,” Flood said. “That’s comforting as a coach to know you have that.”
Senior Andre Beall leads a line that also includes Zach Goodwin and Obbi Garcia.
“I really like the kids we have up front and that’s part of the strength of this program is to be able to rely on them to do the job for us and then the pieces around them will grow as the season goes on,” Flood said.
While North Salem will miss fullback Rigo Padilla, the Vikings have at least half a dozen players who can carry the football—Zach Graham, Travis Hardy, Teyden Ysasage, Ian Carlos, Clint Pfeifer and Jason Carter-Varay.
“We had a pretty focused attack last year with the running back (Padilla) we had,” Flood said. “It’s going to take a lot of kids to replace the yards that he had but that’s kind of the beauty of our system.”
North Salem opens the 2018 season at Crescent Valley on Friday, Aug. 31.
Head coach Josh Riddell sounded optimistic about McKay’s football season in this first year of realignment.
For football only, the Royal Scots will drop to 5A classification, playing in the Mid-Willamette Conference. They will be in the 6A Mountain Valley Conference for their other sports.
Riddell, in his third season as McKay’s head coach, had a 1-8 season in 2017 but before joining McKay had several winning seasons as an assistant coach at West Salem.
There are many new Scot faces, 35 of last year’s varsity players having graduated. They included most of the first string.
This year, Riddell said he is finding “decent depth with the up-front guys.” He sees his biggest problem as the lack of Friday night experience but says the players who have been playing Mondays on the junior varsity seem to be catching on well.
While McKay has an open competition at most positions, Riddell expects Zair Ku-Beiza to start on the defensive line and at tight end and Rafael Aguilar to be a first-string linebacker.
Senior Jose Camarena, an All-Greater Valley Conference honorable mention selection last season at linebacker, also returns.
Riddell called the switch to 5A “a good deal for us.” He said that in football, the Mid-Willamette Conference is the best 5A league in the state. Four of its schools, he noted, were in the state semifinals last season.
Riddell is his own offensive coordinator and Caleb Singleton the defensive coordinator. Darrell Hall, who coaches receivers, is also the JV head coach. Coaching the offensive line is Duane Riddell, the head coach’s father, who was a head coach for many years. Greg LaFountaine coaches tight ends and wings and Marvin Mason running backs.
Defensive coaches are Kenny Ramirez, linebackers; Steve Baker, linebackers; Bryan Huber, cornerbacks; and Singleton, safeties.
For the freshmen, Adam Vasas is head coach and offensive coordinator, and Juan Cervantes is defensive coordinator.
The varsity depth chart was still changing every day but Riddell plans to play many juniors and seniors this year.
The Royal Scots have about 130 football players in their program between the varsity, JV and freshman teams.
“I like the intensity, the efforts the guys have been showing,” Riddell said. He noted that his players showed their commitment during the off-season.
The other schools in the Mid-Willamette Conference are Central, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, Dallas, Lebanon, North Salem, Silverton, South Albany, and West Albany. North Salem, which also was in the 6A league last year, will play its entire sports schedule in the 5A league.
WILSONVILLE—If McNary cross country coach David Holcomb was hoping for clarity on who would run varsity for the Celtics this season, he didn’t get it here.
Opening the season at the Wilsonville Night Meet, McNary had 12 boys finish the 3K within less than a minute of each other.
“We have a lot of guys competing for those seven spots, pushing each other and I think that depth is going to help us throughout the season and as we get towards districts at the end,” Holcomb said.
Francisco Orta had the fastest time of any McNary runner, finishing the senior race in 10 minutes and 43 seconds. Not far behind were sophomores Ethan Whalen in 10:52.1 and Gavin Gasperini in 11:00.5.
They were followed by Andrew Goemaere (11:11.1), David Allen (11:16.8), Caleb McCoy (11:19.2), Brennan Whalen (11:20.8), Nathaniel Prout (11:31.2), Francisco Hernandez (11:38.2), Drew Bartlett (11:41.3), Emiliano Lopez-Sanchez (11:42.2) and Tyler Dougall (11:43.5).
McNary doesn’t have the same depth on the girls team.
Sabella Alfaro and Makayla Long finished the senior race in 13:18.8 and 14:59.5, respectively. Reyna Terrazas finished the sophomore race in 13:36.8.
The Lady Celts had four girls compete in the novice race, led by freshman McKenna Olson, who finished in 15:07.1
“We have a lot of new faces on the girls side,” Holcomb said. “It’s going to be a process getting the girls numbers back up. We’re excited to see where that goes. We’re going to focus on improvement with the girls, personal improvement and then building a team culture to push each other and get more girls into the program.”
McNary will compete in its first 5K on Saturday, Sept. 8 in the Ash Creek XC Festival at Western Oregon University.
South Salem opened the Wilsonville Night Meet with a splash as Taitum Schaap (11:39.9) and Paige Trautman (11:48.5) finished the freshman girls race in second and third out of 60 runners.
Anna Chau then placed second in the girls senior race in 10:32.1
Jay Grant and Eric Lungu led the Saxon boys, finishing the senior race in 9:39 and 10:03.2.
Evan Gonzalez completed the sophomore race in 9:56.9 and Ned Harlan finished the junior race in 10:13.7.
Jaden Mandal placed third in the girls senior race in 10:44. Ella Repp completed the girls sophomore race in 11:54.6.
Marcus Ramirez and Trent Lundy led West Salem’s boys, finishing the junior race in 10:22.5 and 10:36.4, respectively.
Hanna Caldwell led McKay’s girls, finishing the senior race in 11:59.4. Ramiro Gonzalez completed the boys junior race in 10:47.7.
Elia Sanchez finished the girls sophomore race in 12:19.1 and Dana Romero completed the girls senior race in 12:24.
David Rojas finished the boys senior race in 9:56 and Alexis Luna completed the sophomore race in 10:11.6.
A 20-year-old Keizer man accused of 12 counts of raping three juvenile victims was released from the Marion County Correctional Facility five days after his arrest.
Joseph Myers, of 4050 Gary Street N.E., was arrested on Aug. 15 on suspicions of engaging in intimate relationships with multiple juvenile females between the ages of 14-15. Some of the girls were runaways.
Police officials said Myers supplied the girls with marijuana and a place to stay at his home.
Myers was originally charged with multiple counts of rape, sex abuse, sodomy, delivery of marijuana to a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bail was set at $530,000.
Since his arrest, Myers was arraigned on 12 counts of third-degree rape, one count of third-degree sodomy, and three counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana to a minor. Myers has been ordered to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 27 as a condition of his release and he is not to have contact with his victims.
Suspects are released from the Marion County jail most often due to overcrowding. A risk-assessment tool, essentially a computer algorithm, weighs several factors and projects the risk of a future conviction. Myers rated fairly high (58 percent) on the possibility of a future arrest, but other suspects arrested in recent days scored even higher.
Keizer Police Department detectives believe Myers has been engaging in similar activity for the past several years and there may be more victims. Anyone with information on unidentified victims is encouraged to come forward and contact Det. Arsen Avetisyan at 503-856-3514.