By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– There was something special about the eighth graders that came through Cascade Junior High School this year.
The talent, attention to detail, the determination was hands-down help make the 2017 one of the best in the history of the program as the squad prepares for the move to the High School level next season.
“Well this is no doubt one of the most talented groups to come through the Cascade Jr High football program. Their focus and attention to detail is second to none. By the end of the season we were running a legitimate offense, not just a set of plays,” said Coach Tyler Turner on the team. “Around eight-nine different formations offensively, then add the several different defensive looks we gave teams.
“It made for a pretty potent combination. Our athleticism and size at multiple positions is what really set us apart from everyone else we faced. Scoring nearly 300 total points on the offensive side of the ball through 6 games, while giving up under 80 total points defensively on the season is pretty incredible.”
The commitment was something else too. For two hours-plus, the commitment to excellence and the pride in themselves every practice and every game showed as they finished undefeated on the season, building some momentum in time for not just the rest of their Middle School careers but for their High School playing careers too that starts next year.
But hey, it was all according to plan right? These eighth-graders weren’t satisfied how their seventh-grade year ended, so with that sour taste in their mouths from that year just fueled that commitment for excellence further to help them achieve their goals that they set forth for the season.
“Finishing undefeated this season was our goal from the minute last season finished. We were disappointed how we ended last year and wanted to come back with with a little vengeance,” said Turner. “We knew where we wanted to be and what the expectations were, so we made sure to follow through. 100-percent commitment to our goal(s), tons of hard work, and a whole lot of toughness fueled this group no doubt.
“I mean these are eighth-graders asking for game film an hour or so after a game has ended. These same players spend their lunch and off hours watching film and asking questions in order to improve their game. You don’t get a group like that often. That’s extraordinary.”
Eighth-graders already looking at film as if they were playing for Brandon Bennett and learning from their mistakes like they are Quinn Legner or Elijah Nolan, that familiarity to watching game-film is certainly will be a plus going into High School in 2018.
And yeah, it’s bittersweet Turner has even admitted that, you don’t want a season like this to end as the kids move on to the next thing in their sporting careers and Turner to the High School to coach basketball, Turner is excited to see what they can do as High School athlete’s the next four-years with the Cougars.
“I can’t wait to see how this group fits with the current players and coaches we have at the high school,” he said. “With the grit and work ethic of this group added to what we already have, big things are coming for Cascade football in the coming years. “