News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outlaws ready to hit the gridiron

The Outlaws football squad is excited to be back on the field again.

Coach Gary Thorson told The Nugget that the Outlaws should be improved up front on both sides of the ball. Although numbers are down, Thorson is excited about the new additions to the team and the season ahead.

Hudson Jones (senior), Cameron Wessel (senior), and Henry Rard (sophomore) will be the core of the offensive line. Jones is expected to produce at the guard posi-tion. Rard has added size and strength since last year and will play on both sides of the ball at offensive guard and on the defensive line. Wessel is a two-way starter and will get the nod at center, where he was honorable mention last year. Cameron worked hard in the off-season in the weight room and will lead the offensive and defensive lines.

Hunter Spor, Garrett Vohs, Hayden Sharp, Adam Rollins, and Austin Heuberger are all back for their final season.

Spor is a big, physical player who will be a presence at running back and linebacker. He was a starter for the Outlaws last year and earned first-team, all-conference honors at running back and was a second-team selection at linebacker.

Vohs started for the Outlaws last year at the strong safety position and earned honorable-mention recognition. Sharp is one of the Outlaws’ most explosive athletes. He is a two-way starter at his slot position on offense and at the rover position on defense. Last year he was a second-team, all-conference selection as a kicker, and also earned honorable mention at running back.

Rollins is a hardworking senior who plays on the offensive and defensive line. Heuberger will play at wide receiver and at defensive back.

Juniors James Schwartz, Riley Sellers, Wyatt Maffey, and Connor Bell also return to the Outlaws squad. Schwartz is a great athlete and is expected to start in the secondary and will see time on the offensive side of the ball as well. Sellers is expected to make an impact for the Outlaws on both sides of the ball, as well as on special teams. Pound for pound he is one of the toughest kids in the program. Maffey returns as an honorable-mention defensive back. He’s a versatile player and will be able to help out in a variety of positions. Bell will play at wide receiver and defensive back.

Sophomores Gabriel Bailey, Benjamin Cooper, Reece Larabee, Adam Maddox-Castle, Easton Moore, Jessey Murillo, and Mason Sellers will round out the varsity roster.

Bailey is a transfer from Ridgeview and will play wide receiver and defensive back. Cooper is a tough, hard-nosed sophomore who is expected to start at linebacker. He will also play at the running back position. Larabee will see time as an offensive tackle and also as a linebacker.

Maddox-Castle is one of the Outlaws’ best all-around athletes. Adam will play at free safety and will also add depth to the running-back position. Moore is a hardworking athlete who loves the game. Easton will add depth to the quarterback position in the Outlaws’ triple-option offense.

Murillo, who is very athletic and runs well, will see time at both offensive tackle and defensive end. Sellers, like his brother, plays slot on offense and at the strong safety on defense.

Several players are new to the program this year: Nathaniel (senior) and Sean (junior) Alvarez, Will Grace (senior), Colin Fischer (senior), Griffin Gardner (junior), and Ryan Kissinger (sophomore).

The Alvarez brothers are standout varsity soccer players, and will contribute their legs on special teams, which should be a strength for the Outlaws this year. Grace and Kissinger will add depth to the defensive secondary and at wide receiver. Fischer has a natural feel for the game, is a great athlete, and is expected to be a big contributor as well.

Gardner, who will play at quarterback, brings some outstanding tools and experience from South Salem, where he started last year as a sophomore. Thorson told The Nugget that Gardner has a great understanding of the game, and is an athlete who can hurt a defense with both his feet and arm.

Thorson said, “It has been a bit of a zoo, and a roller-coaster start for us, but the players have handled it well. We got some great things done in the fall on both sides of the ball, and some good skill work with our special teams during the times we were allowed to practice. As a team, we should be improved on both sides of the ball, and we are excited with what we have going offensively.”

Thorson noted that, “Gardner is definitely a dual-threat quarterback, and we have some very good skill kids to get the ball, so that should make us very potent on offense.”

The Outlaws’ defense should have good speed on the field, which will allow them to bring pressure fairly consistently due to the speed and athleticism they have in the secondary.

Depth has been a bit of a concern due to the low number of players, so the goal is to stay healthy in order to be successful in the win-loss column.

Thorson said, “We believe our kids are playing one of the best sports available from a team and character-building standpoint, and I’m excited about the teamwork and unselfishness they’ve shown so far. They are a low-ego and hardworking group of players who seem committed to the season and I think that is a good recipe for success.”

The Outlaws open the season on Friday, March 5, at home against Pleasant Hill. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.


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