Piecing It Together

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

DALLAS, Ore.–  The rain was down to a drizzle to end Thursday night’s practice.  The ball was slick and wet.  Good practice for when their six-week season kicks off here in the first week of March for the pro-run offense the Dallas Dragons run.

There was a feel of a late October, early-November evening as they wrapped up their last helmeted practice.  Knowing that they’ll get to put on the shoulder pads for the first time since their November 8, 2019 postseason defeat to Ashland in southern Oregon.

“It’s good, last year we always do those wet ball drills and it’s hard to see when they’re going to be helpful.  But this season comes and it’s all going to be wet balls,” said Logan Person.

“It felt good, we worked for it.  We were kind of on-and-off, but we kept our progression going throughout,” adds Ashton Foster ongoing shells on Friday.  “We stopped in November…but we stayed active.  It helped us out a lot.  It’s great, I’m just grateful to get one last season on the field with the seniors.”

But throughout the lull and dull of the past few months, the running back-quarterback duo found ways to keep up with their craft.  Showcases to work on the finer dynamics of their crafts and showcasing their talents on top of the 7-on-7 work.  Making sure if they did get to this point, they can make the most of not just their opportunities, but of the Seniors last opportunities.

For Person, who’s moving from linebacker to safety, the reps over this downtime at the position.

Foster (7) rolling out to his right, looking to pass during Thursday Night’s practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It’s mainly helped with safety since I’ve just switched to that position, so I’ve been busy picking up my knowledge of that since I’m new to it,” said Person. “But I’ve definitely progressed through 7-on-7 and combines, getting my feet up.  I’ve been working with Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, he’s been helping me with speed stuff.  We do speed stuff every Saturday, so getting that has been really beneficial with acceleration as a back.

“Getting in-and-out of those holes.  Quick cuts, get through, find gaps and get up the field.  Definitely helped a lot with that.”

Ekpre-Olomu played at the University of Oregon as a defensive back from between 2011 and 2014 and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the seventh-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. 

Person competed in the FPU Combine in Naples, Florida, a combine put on by EForce as well as the same MVP combine that both Person and Foster took part in.  Foster also took part in the Northwest 9 and the Northwest Showcase to work on his throwing game as he takes over for Landon Gardener at Quarterback this season. 

Now it’s just blending the pass-game progression with the run-and-pound game that Dallas brings to the table.  Getting everything down for his backs in Person, Cael Morrison, Jace Grillo and John Hofenbredl.

Dallas went 6-4 in 2019, reaching the 5A State First-Round before falling to Ashland at Ashland (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It’s been difficult because we’re a heavy run team, but 7-on is just helped me improve on my game.  My reads, my deep throws, fitting the ball into tight spaces you know.  Landon was pretty good with those so I just got to take over and finish what he left,” Foster starts.

“It’s (going to be) super important since it’s going to be wet this season, so it’s going to be a slippery ball, I got to get used to that.  Got to get over the adversity, come out here and have no excuses.  Come out here and take the practice snaps.  Get the handles perfect, get all the reads perfect, all the footwork perfect and the hands off perfect.”

With South Salem just two weeks away, it’s a matter of getting the reps down in the wet weather.

“Last year we always did those wet ball drills and this year it’s going to be all wet balls so it’s a matter of getting used to them now,” laughs Person.  “Since we’re a run-heavy team, it’s going to be better for us in the long-run because passing teams aren’t going to be passing much out in the wet, running weather.”

For the pair, like many of their counterparts, were worried about one last season for their senior teammates.  Wanting to make sure they do whatever they can to make the most of their few weeks together to send them off on a good and high note mid-Spring.

“There’s a lot of Seniors we haven’t played on the field with yet because we were on JV and swung up on Varsity, but we never played full-time with them.  We’re happy to get the opportunity to get back out there,” Foster said.

“That was a big worry is that we won’t be able to play with our teammates who are leaving and they won’t have a season…to get an opportunity to get out there and compete with them,” adds Person.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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