Facing The Challenge

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

ST. PAUL, Ore.– There’s always a change when you adjust to a new league or classification. But, there’s always a jump going from 11-man football to 8-man as the Buckaroos of St. Paul are doing.

As pointed out from Jaidyn Jackson, the team camp at Eligon gave St. Paul an opportunity to see what the competition is like at the High School level as most of them haven’t seen 8-man football since about Middle School.

“Oh that helps out a lot because that’s our first look at 8-man since Middle School for some of us,” said Jackson.  “So four years, the first look at 8-man, first look at High School competition eight-man too, it’s good for us.”

With football season starting on August 13 with the first official practice, the Buckaroos were hosting team camp as they get adjusted for the new reality of what the season holds ahead when practice officially kicks-off Monday and the countdown for their home-opener versus Wallowa begins.

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Justin Herberger clarifying a question he had during Tuesday’s camp (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

With the talent they have returning from 2017’s 2A State Semi-Finalist team like Jackson, Justin Herberger and Saul Martinez, there’s a good chance they can make another deep playoff run this time at the 1A level in 2018 with a variation of what they ran with 11-guys now with eight.

“It shows, like with the team camp, just getting on track with running plays with each other,” said Herberger as the Bucks will be playing with three fewer players on each side this season compare to last season. “Getting to know how each other plays, especially with three less guys on the field.  But we’re running the same offense as last year pretty much, we’re getting into a groove right now so it should be fun.”

And as they learn new packages on both sides of the ball, learning what assignments they have on defense with three or maybe more linemen in front of them defensively or knowing where to step on a pass play compare to a running play, these five days at camp will serve wonders for them as they prepare for a Cougars squad that reached the 1A State Quarterfinals in 2017 before falling to Triad.

But St. Paul is up for the challenge ahead.

“We always love a good challenge, it makes us better.  Just trying to do the best tat we can for the change from last year to this year, 11-man to 8-man,” said Jackson,  “Just same routines, just doing the same stuff.  Just transitioning to 8-man, just making everything 8-man.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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