News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outlaws football will field a strong squad

The football team returns an experienced veteran squad, and they have high hopes for the season ahead. Seven seniors return for their final season, including Griffin Gardner, Wyatt Maffey, Riley Sellers, Jamen Schwartz, Sean Alvarez, Austin Ekern, and Josh Buettner.

Gardner returns as the Outlaws’ quarterback, but will also see time at the free safety position. Griffin is a two-year starter and according to new head coach Clayton Hall, he’s flourishing in the Outlaws’ new offense.

“Griffin sees the field well and runs the ball with aggression as a quarterback,” said Hall. “ It will be exciting to see how he develops over the season as he leads our offense. On defense, Griffin brings speed to our secondary and packs a punch.”

Maffey will play at both halfback and strong safety. Wyatt is a leader on and off the field and this season his task will be to run the football in the power-and-spread offense formations.

“So far Wyatt has proved to be a workhorse in film study and in our practices,” said Hall. “On defense, Wyatt’s durability will allow him to play in the box and in coverage. He has a nose for the football, and he’s going to have a great season.”

Sellers’ role will be at wide receiver and will bring toughness to the wide receiver core. He has great speed, great hands, and will carry the ball in the Outlaws’ fly-sweep series.

“He is going to be eclectic in our offense,” said Hall.

Sellers will also play at outside linebacker. His quickness will allow him to defend both the run and the pass effectively. Hall noted that the team will look to Sellers to protect the edges and defend the outside.

Schwartz will fill a new position this year at tight end.

“His role will be pivotal in our power run game and when we spread out our offense,” said Hall. “Jamen has a lot of grit and we are going to look to him to make some great blocks in our run game.”

Schwartz will also play corner on defense and will be another great piece to the puzzle in the Outlaws’ talented defensive back core. He will bring speed and toughness to the corner position, which Hall stated is perfect for their 4-3 defense.

Alvarez returns as the Outlaws’ kicker. He has an incredible leg and will be a huge asset to the team again this year. Alvarez will kick field goals, extra points, kick-off, and punt.

Ekern rounds out the returning senior players, and will play center and defensive tackle. Austin worked hard all summer in the weight room and is expected to be an anchor on both the offensive and defensive line.

Buettner is going to be a standout player for the Outlaws on both the offensive (wide receiver) and defensive (defensive end) sides of the ball. Hall noted that Buettner has come on strong this summer and is playing at a high level. Coaches expect to see great play from Buettner this season.

Eight juniors also return for another season on the varsity squad, and include Adam Maddox-Castle, Ben Cooper, Henry Rard, Jesse Murillo, Reese Larrabee, Hudson Symonds, and Easton Moore.

Maddox-Castle will play at fullback and corner. He is one of the Outlaws’ most dynamic athletes and his job this year will be to lead the blocking in the traditional power formation and run the ball in the power-spread formations. On defense, Maddox-Castle will play corner in the Outlaws’ new 4-3 defense, and Hall told The Nugget that fans should expect big hits from him in the flats.

“Adam is a raw talent that we are going to look to, (to) ignite our offense,” said Hall.

Cooper is back from an injury he suffered last year during the football season and has been hard at work at practice. He will play both fullback and linebacker. Hall told The Nugget that Cooper is going to play a pivotal role in the success of the offense, and will be an anchor in the middle of the defense and linebacking core.

Rard will play at guard and defensive tackle and is one of the Outlaws’ strongest athletes on the defensive line. According to Hall, his athleticism is going to make him hard for other offenses to deal with.

“It will be fun to watch Henry pull and block defense ends this year,” stated Hall.

Murillo possesses great speed and athleticism as an offensive tackle, and is expected to excel in that position. He will also play defensive end. Murillo has a great ability to rush due to his speed and quickness off the ball.

Larrabee will be an integral part of the offensive line, and his speed at the tackle position will help open holes for the Outlaws’ explosive running backs.

“Jesse will do a great job protecting our quarterback from edge rushers this year and blocking in our run game,” said Hall.

Symonds will see time at guard and defensive tackle. Coaches look for Hudson to have a breakout season this year on the offensive line.

“Hudson has size and speed, which will make him a nightmare for unsuspecting guards and defensive ends when he pulls,” stated Hall.

Moore is another talented athlete with a great arm. He will get playing time on both sides of the ball and special teams, and will see some time at the quarterback position.

Four new players join the squad this year: senior Eli Johnson, junior Mason Sellers, and sophomores Dolan Pool and Tony Gonzalez.

Johnson is new to the program and has worked hard all summer to learn the Outlaws’ new system. Hall noted that he has a great work ethic and will see time on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

Sellers will see time at halfback and outside linebacker, and is expected to contribute on both offense and defense. Hall told The Nugget that Mason has the ability to play any position on offense because of his athleticism and versatility.

Pool is described by Hall as a wiry athlete that is developing into a great football player. Dolan will see time at tackle and defensive end.

Gonzalez is new to the program and will see time at fullback and linebacker. Hall described him as a great athlete with a strong build, and a desire to learn. As he continues to grow and develop as a player, Hall expects he will see more minutes on the field.

The 19 varsity players have been hard at work learning a brand-new system that new head coach Clayton Hall has implemented.

This year’s offense will use multiple formations and misdirection. Hall told The Nugget that this offense will get the ball into the hands of more athletes, which will make it more exciting for the players.

The defense will be going to a four-three (four linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs). Hall stated that setup will keep the ball in front of the defense and hopefully stop big plays and slow down a quick passing game and screen game. It will also provide additional run support on the edges.

“One of the strengths this year will be speed on both offense and defense, and we’ll be implementing multiple coverages on defense,” said Hall.

Hall has a deep love for coaching and for the game of football and is enjoying his new role as head coach (see story, page 3). He shared with The Nugget his thoughts on this year’s team and the season ahead.

“I feel the strength of our team will be speed and overall athleticism on both offense and defense. With returning starters at key skill positions, quarterback, and the line, we are going to be a tough team to deal with. I think our success this season will be a reflection of the hard work these young men have put in during the summer and their desire to become a cohesive unit. We still have a ways to go before we are hitting on all cylinders, but we are headed in the right direction. I feel that we will peak at the right time.”

The Outlaws’ goal this season is to win a league championship and go to State.

Three coaches will assist Hall. Hayden Hudson (2010 SHS graduate and four-year football player — assistant football coach/defensive coordinator/offensive line and defensive line); Randy Gardner — assistant football coach/receivers and defensive backs coach; Eric Beckwith — assistant football coach/quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs coach.

The Outlaws will start their season at home with a non-league game against Burns on Friday, September 3. On Thursday, September 9, they will play at home in a non-league game against Madras.


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