THE CHAMPS ARE GEARING BACK UP

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

STAYTON, Ore.–  Dating back to the 2013-2014 season, the Regis Rams were a fixture in the Final Four of the 2A Football Playoffs, reaching to the Big show twice entering the 2016-2017 season.

They made it three-trips this past year, and call it a charm on finally reaching the big game after losing to the eventual State Champion each of the last few year, but they finally got over the hump and brought home the State Trophy for the first time since 1987.

“It was a feeling like no other that’s for sure, ” starts Head Coach Kyle McGrath on the title.  “Everyone says that when they win it, ‘until you win it, you don’t really know what exactly what they’re talk about’.   When the clock hit double-zero, it was really nice you know, that feeling is nothing like no other.

“It was just amazing, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of,” adds Brandon Piete.

Now they enter 2017 with that target on their backs, how can the Rams avoid the high school version of the ‘Super Bowl Hangover’ and make another run at the Double-A State Title?

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Head Coach Kyle McGrath, who’s entering his fifth-year in the program and four as a Head Coach, talking as the team warmed up for practice Wednesday (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

McGrath described it best as the philosophy that of Clemson’s Dabo Swinney of ‘New Team, Same Dream’, and that’s because with just three seniors on the squad this year compare to 14 last year, it should be interesting to watch and see the hunger-level matches if not exceeds that of last season with the Rams this season.

“I mean that’s what we have, it’s a new team, we lost a lot of seniors, but it’s the same dream.  i don’t expect our level to go down in terms of playing.  but going to 14 seniors to three seniors, we’re going to heavily rely on those three guys.

“I think it made us hungrier.  I thought it would have that hangover effect, but I think it made us hungrier and these guys really want to go back to that feeling,” McGrath said of the team entering 2017.  “Like when you asked about the feeling, it’s un-describable, your on such a high, I think the kids strive to get back to that.  It’s going to help us.”

As for those three seniors in Sam Crowell, Cole Olhesier at the receiver position and the Beast Mode in Piete, they will be expected to help lead the team in their repeat-aspirations this season.

As typical with tradition with Regis, they play up against tough competition.  North Marion (4A, 40-34) in 2013, St. Mary’s of Medford (3A) in 2014 and 2015.  Dayton from 2014 through the present.

Besides playing the Pirates, the Rams will play Blanchet Catholic once more and play 3A runner-up, Salem Academy in 2017 to help set up for when they play in one of 2A’s best conferences in the Tri-Rivers League.

“It’s extremely exciting, I like competition so it gives us more competition, it makes us better,” said Piete.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

 

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