By Jeremy McDonald

SCIO, Ore.–  2016 started like any other year in recent memory of the double wing Scio Logger Football team:

Strong and Powerful.

But then, the unthinkable happen.

Call it a unlucky break or what you will, but the injury bug bit hard on the Logger squad late in the season as they saw a 6-0 start turn into a 7-3 finish and a quick exit in the playoffs to Medford’s Cascade Christian squad (49-0).

You knew frustrations were there as they entered the second half of practice Tuesday afternoon, two hours worth of working on their famed offense that they run to near-perfection with counters and sweeps.

“It was really frustrating with the injuries and people changing positions here and there, it’s didn’t keep us focused.  We had new guys every week playing new positions,” said Jacob Lowther, who got second-team All-League as a junior on the offensive and defensive line in 2016.  “I mean it’s just too much frustrations and too much clumsiness on our offense.”

One of the guys that moved around was Nathan Yoder, a first-team offensive lineman and a honorable mention at linebacker in the PacWest as a junior, playing running back against Blanchet Catholic and was showing off the wheels in the game against the Cavailers on October 14 too illustrated his frustrations on how last season ended.

“It was a little disappointing, we thought we’re going to have a really special season and then we had some injuries, which wasn’t good,” said Yoder on 2016. “Cascade Christian, we put in a gameplan but it didn’t work.  So it was kind of upsetting.”

Known for their running game, Scio’s backs go through a balancing drill during practice that also focuses on ball control (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Now fast forward to August 15, and the plumes from the controlled fires bellowing up from the East and slowly floating towards the football field, the anger from that end of the season, mixed in with the senior leadership has turned 2017 into a redemption to get that sour taste out of their mouths from how last season ended.

“I think the last few years we’ve haven’t had a lot of mental toughness and I think having last year and how it was, we have a huge senior class and I know us seniors can lead as that mental part and I think it’ll keep us just more of that physical and better team and not worry about everything else,” starts Lowther. 121

“We’re pushing, this senior class is pushing for it,” adds Yoder on the senior class.  “We’re excited, we’re trying to get prepared.”

With the Grizzly Adams in Lowther and Yoder in the trenches, leading the way for Dru Cook and Brody Foster for example, the Loggers are ready to roll once more and show why they started off 6-0 in 2016 and show why they won two straight PacWest Conference Titles in 2014 and 2015.

“I’m excited, I think we’re all excited,” said Lowther.  “We’ve worked all summer, I’m excited for this season, I think we can do some great things if we stayed healthy and keep our mission going.”

Even though Head Coach Kyle Braa and his coaching staff are probably preaching ‘One Day At A Time’, it’s hard not to think to x-game or y-game for whatever reason.

As practice reaches it’s five-minute break, who says coaches don’t too relax? haha (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

For Lowther, it’s Rainier to start the season.

“Honestly, Rainier,” starts Lowther.  “First game of the year, get everybody out on the field.  You know, it’s going to be nice to play Blanchet again, Dayton…but Rainier, it’s going to be a game in which everyone is going to be excited for I think.  As a team we’ve been waiting for it all year.

“Every time we play Rainier, even though we might beat them by a lot, it’s always a tough team to play,” continues Lowther.  “I mean they’re always competitive football program every year and it’s been just something that it’s a good game every year, I’m excited to play them.”

As for Yoder, it’s that one team that snapped their league winning streak and a winning streak that stretches back to 2006:

Them Cavs.  Big showdown on October 13 at home territory in the country.

“Probably Blanchet,” smiled Yoder.  “Just cause we should’ve won that game last year and we want to beat them, they’re our rivals and yeah, we want to tear them up.”

As for if Yoder will run the rock again?  Maybe not on the offensive side of the ball anytime soon.

“Oh no, no, no, that was a one-game thing just because of injuries.  I’m a guard now,” smiled and laughed Yoder. “It was really fun because I ran quiet a bit sophomore year so I got another chance but probably no running this year.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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