By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Reps are everything. Especially learning your new offense like the Gervais Football team entering the Spring, 2021 season in March.
Wednesday evening was just another day to get those reps in and improve under first-year Cougar Head Coach JJ Navarrete, getting a workout in under the tag ‘G-Town Cougars’ for their 7-on-7 games this Sunday in Tillamook in the Oregon 7’s league.
“This is a new offense that we’re learning, this isn’t double-wing. It’s a lot of learning experience,” said Tight End/Defensive End Auggie Guido. “We’re just trying to compete every night we go out. It’s not about winning right now, it’s about learning, competing against these teams (in the Oregon 7’s league) because we believe we can compete against these teams and against any team in 2A.”
The Cougs are one of a handful of 2A teams competing in the 7-on-7 league. Glide has a team and so does Salem Academy, each team has to go under a ‘club’ name not affiliated with the school. Hence the ‘G-Town Cougars’ name in competition. Salem Academy for example, are going with their original mascot as ‘Hornets’ as their team name instead of ‘Salem Academy Crusaders’.
It’s just week 3 of the seven-week season, but Navarrete mentioned to his team their improvements in throwing the rock and their route running. Passing game that hasn’t been the mainstay of the Cougar offense in the past considering their history with running backs like Damien Tavera, Fabian Santos, Dyontae Navarrete and Kona Kawamura in recent years. They’ve had a few arms in recent years however with River Moss and Brandon Gieselman.
At this moment, the Cougars have three quarterbacks working in reps in Ray Marrufo, Jesse Guido and Eremay Avgi. Guido and Aygi were working in reps at other positions Wednesday whenever they weren’t playing quarterback, working on those reps with their receivers in an offensive sense to build from.
“This new playing system, it’s really crucial for everyone to get reps in and learn the plays because we’re going off the ball, like really fast. At 7-on-7 it’s really, really crucial for the QB’s, the receivers and everybody to get their plays in. If we don’t know it, it’ll be really bad on our part because we’re going to struggle.
“I feel like since we’re going a lot on both practice and 7-on-7, it’s going to be good for us. We’re going to learn it and we’re going to have it in our head and won’t have to slow down.”
Muscle memory is important while learning a new system for sure as they focused on their offense Wednesday. Even if they’re going through laying the foundation and the basics as they are now as they learn the new and more complex playbook and the expectations set by Navarrete.
“It’s a lot more new routes we’ve never ran before. These are complexed a bit,” said Guido. “It’s a learning experience right now. I think it’s good (too) because (Navarrete) expects a certain level of where we need to compete at and we have to get to that level. It’s nothing without hard work, we have to work hard and we’ve been working hard out here trying to get us up to that caliber because that’s what we need and howe we need to win this year.”
Reps are just apart of the game. Perfecting the finer things. Perfecting the basics. That’s all it is at this point for the Cougars at this point of the game with the season a few months out.
“We’re doing the same thing over and over. We’re learning the basics, we’re not going advance, we’re learning the basics,” said Marrufo. “We’re trying to get really good at that and then that’s when we’ll start build higher,” “We’re trying to prefect them and when we perfect them we’re going to be good at them.
“Everything we’re doing: Running the routes, doing the throws, going the blocks…that’s all basic stuff and we’re all trying to get that perfected.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald