By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– It was the first-time in two years since Jacob Peterson led the Sheridan Spartans to a 2A Quarterfinal appearance. It was the second-year that Peterson had ever led an Varsity program as a Head Coach before returning to Newberg last season.
Had not for Coronavirus, maybe Wednesday wouldn’t’ve happened. But as the mid-October cool air breezed through the valley and as the Head Coach over at Dayton now, Peterson returned to Ol’ Sparty with his Pirates squad.
“It’s great. I love these kids out here to death. I love (Sheridan Head Coach Will) Worley, him and I talk almost daily just throwing things off each other and ideas,” said Peterson. “And seeing what he’s done to keep it going from when we started, it’s incredible.
“The kids look good. They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re definitely working. They’re fast. I was super impressed with where they’re at today and that’s all credit to Worley and him just taking over and running with it. He’s going to be a great, great coach.”
Worley was an assistant under Peterson two years ago before eventually taking over the program.
With fans watching from the street, live-streaming happening on social media, the two squads went to work. Occasionally it got physical, but nothing to serious in the two-hour period, but it just felt great getting back to some sense of normalcy.
“I had the greatest time of my life,” said Dayton’s Kaden Fergus. “Just being able to get back out here, especially being online school…just being around people, get out and play some football is fantastic.”
“It’s been a long while, I’ve been grinding hard with my boys in the weight room and stuff, just working hard. It feels good to be back,” adds Sheridan’s Randy Gibson.
Sheridan’s Varsity had the cool hand to the Pirates first-game jitters. But Dayton too settled in, making it hard for Spartan quarterback Gavin Anderson after the first 12-play offensive session. Living up to defensive strength Peterson has been known for as Kaden Fergus guided the offense around him.
Gibson was Anderson’s main target with his height as the Sparts worked on their passing game. Anderson would go 17-of-34 with four touchdowns and five interceptions in 34 plays. Sheridan’s intensity waned a little bit over the second and third session, but it’s just a motivator moving forward into the Winter.
“We just got to work harder in practice, just got to go out there and get it done,” said Gibson, who had four receptions in the scrimmage. “Working hard in practice every week and doing what the coaches are telling us, just playing on the ball and stuff.”
The Pirates defense was in their base defense and are working on their offense as well as they much of their allotted time in the weight room, doing speed and agility as well as flexibility training to build that foundation for success on gameday. Finishing strong after their slow start to the evening’s festivities and heading into practice Thursday with film to critiqued and to work upon moving forward themselves.
For them, having the extra few weeks leading into the Spring season to learn their new Head Coach’s system and building that bond with him will help for hopefully when the season kicks off in March.
“Getting to know our plays a little bit better. Probably have a little more confidence,” said Fergus. “I wish I had (Coach Peterson) for all four of my years but sadly only had him for my last, but I’m going to make the best of it because he’s a great coach and I’m looking forward to see what he could bring for us.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald