By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– Santiam has been know for their running game, occasionally popping out for a pass play.
Third day into the Josh Ruby-era with the Wolverines, Santiam flowed with the split-back formation, working on a few of the ten plays they’ve installed over the past 72 hours. Matt Brady’s execution of receiving the handoff and giving it to either Quentin Clark and Trenton Stafford, the offensive line playing smoothly with their blocks, looked like it was Week 1 or 2 instead of their first half-pad practice.
There’s fuel there from their 1-2 Spring season with a young team, picking up the experience they needed entering this season with the Jamboree just a week-and-a-half away. There was talk of being in shape, being efficient with what they do. Two years ago, they were a playoff team and three-years ago they were in the State Title Game.
“It just lit a fire under everyone’s asses that it’s not going to be easy. We got new kids coming in and we were going to need experience and staying in shape,” Stafford said of this past Spring. “Listen. Stay ready.”
Defense goes with the loading up of the box, 5-3 defense. Challenging teams to beat them over the top. Brady has a strong arm and with Gage Twede’s athleticism at receiver, it’ll alleviate the pressure on the dynamic duo in the backfield with Clark and Stafford.
Stafford, the bruiser and Clark the shifty back, are expected to be the workhorses and looked primed and ready under their Wolverine-alum Head Coach.
“I think we’re going to do good; we’ve been playing together since before Middle School…flag football and I think we’ll do pretty solid this year with a new coach and all that stuff,” Clark said. “We’re prepared for most of it already.”
Ruby, a 1995-graduate of Santiam High School, made a point that they’ll turn some heads this season at the end of practice. The jamboree is next Friday at Monroe High School before starting the season September 3 at home hosting Willamina.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald