From summer workouts and weight-lifting sessions to key injuries and a Division I scholarship offer, its clear that the Cougars began preparing for their 2013 campaign well before practice officially began in August.

by: JEFF GOODMAN - Noah Kyllo, shown during the Canby football team's win over Keizer-McNary at home Sept. 6, is one of several key seniors on the roster this year.Regardless of what happens on the field each week, this year’s Canby football team is seemingly a product of its eventful offseason.

From summer workouts and weight-lifting sessions to key injuries and a Division I scholarship offer, it’s clear that the Cougars began preparing for their 2013 campaign well before practice officially began in August.

“I’ve been training the last six months — I’m ready,” said senior linebacker Sam Bodine, who received an offer from Portland State before the season began. “We expect a lot out of this team.”

This team, which last year lost to Tigard in the second round of the playoffs to finish with a 6-5 overall record, has high expectations in its fourth season under coach Mike Vaught.

For one, Bodine was among several players to participate in school athletic trainer Bryce Gillespie’s series of morning workouts and clinics over the summer. They got stronger, built up their physical stamina and improved their agility.

“He runs us a lot,” Bodine said of Gillespie, whose program recently wrapped up its fifth year. “I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”

Added senior running back Dominic Shorter: “The conditioning, it gets us in great shape. If you weren’t playing a winter or spring sport, (Gillespie’s clinics) will get you ready. It’ll help in any sport, especially football.”

Canby’s linemen also used the offseason to bulk up. They demonstrated remarkable progress at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge in July, and they’re fixed on applying their new strength against a tough slate of opponents this year.

Led by Zach Kraus, the group also includes fellow seniors Kyle Rademacher, Nick Kraxberger, Craig Fobert and Alejandro Sandoval. Other potential contributors include junior Chad Coon and sophomores Tony Kraus and Austin Schwartz.

“Our season is going to come down to our line,” senior quarterback Austin Taylor said. “They have a lot of potential, and they should be one of the toughest lines in the state.”

It will also hinge on the development of Taylor, who took a crash course in signal-calling with Vaught over the summer because projected starter Timmy Johnson had offseason surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. Taylor struggled against Tigard in the Cougars’ season opener, but he went 6-for-6 with two touchdowns against Keizer-McNary a week later.

Taylor will hand off to a crop of talented running backs that includes Shorter, senior Noah Kyllo and junior Jace Cates. The stable was also supposed to include speedy junior Devon Fortier, but he will miss the season to recover from knee surgery.

That likely means more carries for Shorter, but Bodine believes he’s ready for the increased workload.

“He’s been wanting to do it since third grade,” Bodine said.

Bodine will get a share of carries as well, but he’ll be utilized more as a blocking fullback on offense. On defense, he spearheads a cast of linebackers that also features Cates and seniors A.J. Schlatter and Cole Thompson.

Other contributors on this year’s team include Trey Bellmore, Trevin Stephens, Nicholas Strnad, Braxton Ennes and North Marion transfer Keltin Boykin.

Canby has reached the second round of the playoffs every year under Vaught, but it is hoping for an even longer postseason run in 2013.

“Hopefully we can stay healthier than last year,” Shorter said. “Every week, it was someone new (with an injury). Staying healthy will be huge.”





Coach: Mike Vaught (fourth year)

Last year: 6-5 (4-1 in the Three Rivers League); lost to Tigard in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs

Key players: Sam Bodine, Dominic Shorter, A.J. Schlatter, Noah Kyllo, Austin Taylor, Cole Thompson, Zach Kraus, Kyle Rademacher, Alejandro Sandoval, Nick Kraxberger, Craig Fobert

Key losses: Sam Stelk, Mike Caruso, Coby Cates, Cody Churchwell, Hunter Cory, Chris Barham, Coleman Schmidt, Konnen Bell, Isaac Shrier

Outlook: With returning linemen, speedy backs and experience against the region’s top teams, the Cougars are hoping to get past the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in coach Mike Vaught’s tenure.

First league game: 7 p.m. Sept. 27 vs. Oregon City


8/30     Tigard                          L 38-7

9/6       McNARY                    W 42-14

9/13     CAMAS (WA)           7 p.m.

9/20     Lincoln                        6:30 p.m.

9/27     OREGON CITY *     7 p.m.

10/4     Lake Oswego *           7 p.m.

10/10   Lakeridge *                 7 p.m.

10/18   WEST LINN *           7 p.m.

10/25   CLACKAMAS *       7 p.m.

* Three Rivers League game

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