by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Starting quarterback Gage Bumgardner throws a pass during drills on Wednesday afternoon. Bumgardner is now in his second season at quarterback, and will also play linebacker.With the season opener against Cleveland looming just a few weeks away, St. Helens High School’s football team was hard at work last week, participating in fitness and drills as part of team preseason camp. Full practices begin Monday, Aug. 19, which is when the Oregon School Activities Association allows helmets and pads. The first game is on the road on Aug. 30.

Offensive Player Watch

Cory West, returning all-league tight end, looks like he might be in for another big year for the Lions. Through practice on Wednesday, West was impressive as a ball carrier, finding a way to sneak through defenses during drills. Sporting a pink outfit, West was a bright spot at practice both in color and demeanor.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Corey West shrugs off a defender in practice on Wednesday afternoon. West was all-league at the tight end position a year ago.Bryce Bumgardner also did well, finding a way to get under passes and leaping up to grab several that seemed out of reach. Bryce threw a few passes as well.

Quarterback Watch

Returning starter Gage Bumgardner doesn’t seem to have lost a step from last season, completing nearly all of his passes at practice on Wednesday. Accuracy, confidence and a strong handle on the offense stuck out from the senior quarterback, who has a lot of options to throw to this year.

Overall Thoughts

At the get go, practice came across a little lackluster, but as time went on and the team worked into offensive drills, things came together. It’s not polished yet, but there is time for that aspect to come around for first year head coach Jared Phillips.

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