NORTH POWDER - Football fans in North Powder have been waiting since
Nov. 17 of last season for this week to come. On that day Mohawk ended
the Badgers season with a 62-14 victory in North Powder.
Powder Valley now has a chance for redemption, a chance for another
trip to the state 1A quarterfinals and possibly a little more.
"I think we can be competitive all year, that's for sure," Coach Skye
Flanagan said. "We got a group of young kids; there are nine to 10
sophomores that will all contribute. There is some senior leadership in
front of them and hopefully it can all come together."
That group of seniors is led by Joey Brown and Casey Wendt, who both
have years of experience on the offensive line and had a combined 93
tackles last season that included eight sacks.
Another key player returning for the Badgers is sophomore Trenton Dixon. He led the team with 100 tackles and in receiving yards with 937, was second in sacks, had a kickoff return of 85 yards, averaged eight yards a carry, threw a touchdown pass, and had three interceptions all in his freshman season.
"Trenton is just one of those special athletes. He has a lot to overcome being at the quarterback position," Flanagan said of Dixon. "He has to be a leader, set an example and do what's right for us to win. But, he's definitely going to be a catalyst for us."
"We're going to be pretty tough. We have some speed we didn't have in the past and I hope we take advantage of that," Flanagan said.
The Badgers scored 442 points last season, which was second in the Old Oregon League behind Imbler. Powder Valley will look to top that total this season behind some new talent.
"Tyrone Jackson is a name you'll hopefully be hearing. He's going to be playing running back for us. He's very fast," Flanagan said. "He's a sophomore who runs a legit 4.5 40-yard dash in the open field and it's exciting to have that option."
Senior Dustin Stephens returns this season after having 14 tackles, two for sacks, and offensive touchdown his junior year.
"Dustin we're going to be moving into the slot-back for us. He has some good speed and we're hoping to take advantage of that."
Flanagan also mentioned junior Gavin Kandle as someone who would be making an immediate impact as a receiver and defensive back.
The Badgers will be playing their first night games at home this season under new lights put in during the off-season. Unfortunately there are only three home games on the Powder Valley schedule in 2008.
"Every game is going to be a monster for us this year. We are definitely going to have to be road warriors," Flanagan said of his schedule. "We'll get our feet wet with McKenzie in the opening week, but then we have Mohawk, the defending state champion, the second week."
The Old Oregon League will have parity from top to bottom this season.
"Every league game will be real tough. I really believe the league will be pretty open this year," Flanagan said. "As far as favorites it's hard to say, Imbler will be up there again, Joseph will be competitive and Cove under a second-year coach will be tough."
Flanagan concluded on his team, "We're looking forward to playing our style of football. I feel if we play solid and tough we should be right in there."