By Jeremy McDonald
WOODBURN, Ore.– Gervais Head Coach Josh Crawford told his team that he was impressed with how they did Tuesday night at Woodburn High School, and why wouldn’t he be?
Offensively and defensively they’re picking up where they are as a young unit where they left off after a competitive 2-7 in 2016 as they enter the summer months leading into the 2017 season.
Kona Kawamura showing why he’s going to be a force to be wrecking with offensively, the secondary of the Cougars making picks and flying around as they got a sound win over Jefferson, Woodburn and battled against McNary and Estacada to end the month of June as they already looked to be in Late-August-form on June 27.
Assistant Coach Eric Navarrete points to how well the kids retained defensively in slowing down other team’s passing games in the four 7-on-7 games Tuesday.
“I mean we haven’t had much repetition as far as defense, but from what these kids showed, they’ve retained a lot from last year and now coming up, their IQ is on a whole other-level than it ever been on,” said Navarrete. “And I think from here it’s just go up-and-beyond.
“We held our own against 6A schools and I think that in all-in-itself is a victory as far as defense, everyone was in their position. Maybe one or two-guys were out of position, but that’s stuff that could be fixed by season.”
Whenever he’s not going to run over people offensively this summer or this upcoming season as a Running Back, Kawamura is going to be one of the big name linebackers for the Cougars.
And Kawamura knows how important it’ll be for him to step up as a leader of this team on both sides of the ball.
“Oh it’s very important, these are my guys and I love them to death and I’m just out here pushing everybody to do better and build together as a family because that’s what we are, we’re family out here,” said Kawamura. “And me, I’m just pushing my guys, I love them.”
Offensively, Will Perry, who was in Woodburn snapping to quarterback Nate Corpuz, will be taking over the center position from Calen Bichsel who graduated after this past season, knows how important it is for him to step in and perform as he works on his snap timing with the lefty in Corpuz.
“You just have to show up everyday for the training, our summer workouts, you have to show up,” said Perry. “And when we’re hanging out on the sidelines, wither we’re on the sidelines hanging out on 7-on-7s, you continuously have to communicate. There’s always the joking aspect of it, then when it’s time to get serious, you just have to be that man that’s on-top and lead by example.
“I did alright, I’ll have to work on the low-snaps,” said the soon-to-be-junior. “I had a few that rolled, I have to work on getting those up. It was different the last couple of years, when I went under center, I was snapping to a right-handed quarterback, now Nate is left-handed, so I just…the placement of the ball has to be there, I have to work on that.”
Speaking of Corpuz, the soon-to-be-junior started the 2016 under Bichsel before a injury late in the first-half of the season opener this past season had opened the door to the emergence of then-Tight End River Moss’ at the position.
Now entering this season, the Southpaw QB will look to build from the offense with athletes around him like Kawamura, Elvis Valliejo and Noel Vasquez to name a few of the weapons he’ll have this season.
“I just have to get used to the recievers and if I get the timing right, then it’ll be better,” said Corpuz. “Just stay confident.”
With them going back to work Wednesday back at Gervais, the Cougars will continue to bridge last season’s success to this year, and though they won’t have another 7-on-7 until they come back to Woodburn on July 11, they’ve already taken a step towards the right direction for what is to come this season.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald