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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Football jamboree to showcase deeper, more experienced Taft High roster

Jake Tolan
Taft High football coach Jake Tolan shows players how to lower their pad level Thursday morning at Voris Field

Strength in numbers will be the key Friday when the Taft High football team opens competition for the 2018 season with a five-team dress rehearsal at Voris Field.

“Our overall strength will be depth and experience,” Coach Jake Tolan said entering Friday’s 5 p.m. sneak preview. “Many players are returning with varsity experience under their belt.”

Joining Taft for Friday ‘s jamboree will be Newport (4-5, 3-2 Class 4A Oregon West), Tillamook (3-5, 1-4 Class 4A Cowapa), Coquille (9-2, 4-1 Class 3A Mountain Valley) and Toledo (2-7, 2-3 Class 2A Sunset).

Tolan and his staff are hoping a couple of impressive 7-on-7 summer camp showings and a wild 60-47 home victory over Jefferson to close out a 2-7 season last year will carry over to next week’s season opener at Harrisburg. Returning from that game are several key players Tolan succinctly described as bringing various coveted qualities to the lineup:

David Jin
David Jin

Tyee Fisher
Tyee Fisher

Quarterback David Jin: leadership and experience;

Running back Logan Gilleo: toughness;

Wide receivers Tyee Fisher and Logan McLendon, playmaking ability and dependability.

The four skill players will be tantamount in developing what Tolan hopes will be the emergence of a capable running game behind a more experienced line.

“Offensively, we want to be more consistent and have the added ability to run the ball,” he said.

Tolan said newcomers JJ French and Kam Kessler promise to add speed, toughness and aggressiveness to the ground game when they join Jin and Gilleo in the backfield. Kessler will also play wide receiver (and safety on defense).

They’ll combine to benefit from a new-look “veteran” front line comprised of Victor Carrasco, Elin Fitch, Tyrese Hellman and Chris “Biz” Byrum, who Tolan called “bright spots so far this preseason.”

“Every year, the positions with the most questions going into a season are the offensive and defensive lines,” he said. “This year, our line is further along and is looking good going into our jamboree.”

Improvement on defense will also be a key for the Tigers, who surrendered the most points in Class 3A play last season (459 or 51 per game).

“We want to be more aggressive and tackle well,” Tolan said.

In addition to Class 4A Corbett and Madras, Taft will move to a new 12-team “super conference” that includes seven teams (Amity, Blanchet Catholic, Clatskanie, Dayton, Rainier, Scio and Willamina) that reached the 16-team Class 3A State playoffs last year. The Tigers, who went 0-5 in the West Valley League, will play in a six-team sub-division comprised of Amity, Clatskanie, Dayton, Rainer and Willamina.

“Last year, due to our youth and inexperience, every opponent in the league gave us competition,” Tolan said. “But year to year, Dayton and Amity are two teams that we circle on our schedule as games we know that are going to be difficult.”

Taft opens its season Friday, Aug. 31, at Harrisburg. The Eagles, of the Mountain Valley Conference, reached the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs last season, where they lost to eventual State champion Cascade Christian after defeating West Valley League member Amity 42-34 in the first round.

“Our numbers are up, and our depth and team speed has vastly improved,” Tolan said. ”Our kids have worked very hard this offseason. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish.”

Roster

No. Name Position Grade Height
2 Logan McLendon WR/DB 12 5-8
3 Kaden Hindman WR/S 9 5-9
4 Devon Lindquist WR/S 12 5-10
6 Zane Rowley WR/DB 10 5-4
7 Chris Lopez WR/DB 12 5-9
8 David Jin QB/DB 12 5-10
9 Kameron Kessler WR/S 12 6-1
11 Fco Ramos WR/DB 10 5-7
14 Tristan Beach WR/DB 11 5-10
15 Connor Bailey WR/DB 11 5-10
16 Darius Smith WR/DB 10 5-9
19 Antonio Suarez QB/LB 10 5-10
20 JJ French RB/LB 10 5-10
22 Tyee Fisher WR/S 12 6-5
23 Clay Nelson WR/LB 12 6-0
24 Trenton Hall WR/LB 11 5-9
25 Kaden White WR/DB 9 5-7
28 Logan Gilleo RB/LB 11 6-0
50 Dylan Rodriguez OL/DL 9 5-8
53 Micah Davis OL/DE 11 5-10
54 Eriq Aquino OL/DL 12 6-1
55 Elin Fitch OL/DE 11 6-3
56 Malachi LaFrenz OL/DL 12 6-2
57 Jace Phippen OL/DL 11 5-10
60 Chris Byrum OL/DL 12 5-8
61 Victor Carrasco C/DE 12 6-2
62 Brendan Welch OL/DL 10 5-9
66 Tyrese Hellman OL/DL 11 6-1
70 Josiah LaFrenz OL/DL 10 6-3
74 Sebastian Welch OL/DL 10 5-9
75 Dakota Steen OL/DL 9 6-0

Schedule

All games 7 p.m.

8/31/18 @ Harrisburg

9/7/18 vs. Sutherlin

9/14/18 @ Knappa

9/21/18 vs. Yamhill-Carlton

9/28/18 vs. Amity*

10/5/18 @ Clatskanie*

10/11/18 @ Willamina*

10/19/18 vs. Dayton*

10/26/18 vs. Rainier*

*Denotes league game

Class 3A Special District 1

Amity

Blanchet Catholic

Clatskanie

Corbett (4A)

Dayton

Madras (4A)

Rainier

Salem Academy

Scio

Taft

Willamina

Yamhill-Carlton

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Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.

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