By Jeremy McDonald
WILLAMINA, Ore.– A Sheridan player mentioned how surprised he was with how Gervais was playing Friday night at the jamboree at Willamina High School that both teams were at. The Spartans and Cougars meet October 18 in Sheridan the next-to-last-week of the regular season in the 2A Speical District 2 League schedule.
Offensively, they have a big line that were getting the push necessary with shifty backs to find the holes that they needed to pick up yards on the regular; raising havoc against Nestucca, Vernonia and Willamina in their Scio-like offense.
Head Coach Tracy Jackson has instilled already in his short time at Gervais that confidence to succeed, and it was beginning to show as they embark on this season with him.
“It’s just that work. Just like work, we work to get that paycheck at the end. It’s our paycheck now, we’re showing it right now,” said Fabian Santos. “Like coach say, don’t take a play off. Every play is a good play.”
The Senior running back, along with Junior Running Back Damian Tavera, grinded out big gains with the thanks to their big line and their Quarterback in Ray Marrufo in making the hand-offs as cleanly as possible in the old-school playbook coming to Gervais.
There were a few hiccups in securing the rock in spots yes, it’s expected in the infancy of learning a brand-new system, but with the flashes the offense had Friday it’s only a matter of time before it’s clicking on all cylinders.
“New offense. It’s old fashion, but it works,” laughs Brian Limage, who had a carry against Nestucca Friday. “It’s really effective. Damian and Fabian, they’re really good ball carriers and then adding me with my speed, I can do some damage.”
Limage finished third in the 400-meter run at the 2A State Meet this past Spring as the six-five Senior will be playing cornerback on defense opposite side of Auggie Gudio.
That defense however was swarming. Clogging holes against the Bobcats, taking away easy passing options against the Loggers of Vernonia and carrying it over to their scrimmage with the Bulldogs with their pursuit angles.
Using their speed and quickness to cause headaches as Marrufo (interception) and Skyler Kempton (fumble recovery) recorded defensive turnovers for the Cougars Friday.
Jackson reminded his team that tonight is great, but it’s only the beginning. The real fun and test start September 6 against Portland Christian and it’s time to focus up to their next opponent and the next play in front of them,
There’s flashbacks to seeing their 11-0 lead entering the second half evaporate as they dropped their season opener to the Lions 40-17. But with this year, they’re hoping the element of surprise with their new approach will help them when they travel up to play them on September 6.
“Portland Christian. Flash backs from last year, 11-0 at halftime and then it went down hill, but this year, it’s different,” starts Limage. “Even though they don’t have film on us, they expect the same thing, but they don’t know what’s coming.”
Kick-off is at 7pm
Photos By Jeremy McDonald