FALL SPORTS FORECASTS: New-look St. Helens football's secret weapon is element of surprise
EDITOR'S NOTE: Scappoose's fall schedule projections will appear in July 21's Spotlight.
Will the Lions reach as high as they have in 25 years with new starters in just about every spot?
It will sure be hard to scout them after 25 seniors -- including six all-Class 5A picks -- graduated in June, so new leaders are free to emerge this summer.
"We really haven't looked much past [the Hood River home opener on Sept. 1 at Doc Ackerson Stadium]," St. Helens coach Cory Young said. "We saw them at camp and they're a really strong team, and we're just working really hard this summer on making ourselves better and getting into that weight room and getting stronger and faster."
With state runner-up Wilsonville's all-state seniors Austin Kness (a kicker/wide receiver) and Draco Bynum (a defensive lineman) the only such talents in its way, the Class 5A quarterfinalist Lions are after their third state trip in a row and their first championship since their Class 3A titles in 1992 and 1996.
Chase Parkhurst and Dylan Kessinger are presumptive returning defensive backs in the new senior group with linebackers Cody Leanna and Liam Tindall and defensive ends Robert Landreth, Randy Ridgeway, Zach Hester and Caleb Carter, all of whom helped St. Helens' defense to the state's fewest 17 points allowed per game.
The seniors (as Parkhurst is also a quarterback, Leanna is a running back, Kessinger is a wide receiver and Landreth, Tindall, Ridgeway, Hester and Carter are linemen) are scheduled to lead the Lions first into a jamboree at Liberty High scheduled for Aug. 28 in Hillsboro.
The first regular-season test is Hood River Valley (winless last year), and the road-ready Lions will try to give Scappoose (back from the first Class 4A round) its second Seven-Mile War loss in a row on Sept. 8.
Kness, Bynum and Wilsonville, who trailed St. Helens 28-6 at halftime of their 38-35 quarterfinal rally at Randall Stadium and fell to first-time champion Lebanon in the final, come to town on Sept. 22.
Aug. 25 St. Helens at Liberty High jamboree, Hillsboro
Sept. 1 Hood River Valley at St. Helens, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 St. Helens at Scappoose, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 St. Helens at Milwaukie, 7 p.m. *
Sept. 22 Wilsonville at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Sept. 29 St. Helens at Hillsboro, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 6 St. Helens at Parkrose, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 12 La Salle Prep at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 20 St. Helens at Putnam, 7 p.m., in Milwaukie *
Oct. 27 Sandy at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
* - Northwest Oregon Conference game
Lions volleyball will unleash entirely new stars
Lydia Rose and Maika Kalauli, junior and sophomore right-side hitters, respectively, will not return as, according to coach Tom Ray, Rose tore her anterior cruciate ligament in softball this spring and Kalauli moved to Utah.
In that spirit, with the graduation of eight seniors including all-state libero Mercedes Massey, new fourth-years Hannah Stewart, Hannah Brumbles and Alyson Blasier (defensive specialists), Kenna Reinholdt (a setter) and Krista Gatten (a middle blocker) can come right up from junior varsity to help the 2014 state champion Lions to state for the seventh year in a row.
In a bit of scheduling fortune, St. Helens will not see a single all-state player in Class 6A second-rounder Lakeridge (Sept. 16 at the Lakeridge Tournament in Lake Oswego) and first-rounders Lincoln (in the season opener on Aug. 24) and Oregon City (at the Oregon City Tournament on Sept. 23) and Class 5A consolation semifinalist La Salle Prep (on Aug. 31 in Milwaukie and at home on Sept. 26) and Sandy (away on Sept. 19 and home on Oct. 17).
Aug. 24 St. Helens at Lincoln, 6:30 p.m., Portland
Aug. 31 St. Helens at La Salle Prep, 6:45 p.m., in Milwaukie *
Sept. 5 St. Helens at Putnam, 6:45 p.m., in Milwaukie *
Sept. 7 Parkrose at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 12 Milwaukie at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 14 St. Helens at Hillsboro, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 16 St. Helens vs. Lakeridge, 8 a.m., at Lakeridge Tournament, Lakeridge High School, Lake Oswego
Sept. 19 St. Helens at Sandy, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 21 Wilsonville at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 23 St. Helens vs. Oregon City, Oregon City Tournament
Sept. 26 La Salle Prep at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 28 Putnam at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Sept. 30 St. Helens vs. Century, Century Tournament, Hillsboro
Oct. 2 St. Helens at Parkrose, 7:15 p.m. *
Oct. 4 St. Helens at Milwaukie, 6:45 p.m. *
Oct. 7 St. Helens vs. Franklin, 8:30 a.m., St. Helens Tournament
Oct. 7 St. Helens vs. David Douglas, 11:15 a.m., St. Helens High School
Oct. 7 St. Helens vs. Woodburn, 1:05 p.m., St. Helens Tournament
Oct. 10 Hillsboro at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Oct. 17 Sandy at St. Helens, 6:45 p.m. *
Oct. 19 St. Helens at Wilsonville, 6:45 p.m. *
Girls' soccer's senior defense will be tough to break
With Morgan Bingaman in goal and defenders Sidney Allen, Emily Davis, Emilia Reardon and Sarah Bjork on her back line, the five Lions seniors will help to keep each match intense as they strive for their first state play-in round appearance in three years.
New seniors and team captains Sophia Estep and Braya Hutton will not return, according to coach Simon Date, as Estep begins her time with the Portland Thorns and Hutton focuses on her equestrian career after coming up second by a nose in the Oregon-Washington Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship barrels this spring.
St. Helens' defense will see how it fares against Class 6A second-rounder Glencoe in the season opener on Aug. 29 at Hare Field in Hillsboro before it hosts Class 5A first-rounder Hermiston on Sept. 15 at Doc Ackerson Stadium.
The Lions enter Northwest Oregon Conference play at all-state junior forward Marley Salveter and quarterfinalist Sandy on Sept. 28 before they host first-rounder Wilsonville on Oct. 10, head to all-state senior midfielder Madison Ellsworth and quarterfinalist Hillsboro on Oct. 18 and host all-state junior Allison Warta, sophomore Co-Player of the Year Jacqueline Blakeley and defending champion La Salle Prep in the regular season finale on Oct. 24.
Girls' soccer schedule
Aug. 29 at Glencoe, 7 p.m., Hare Field, Hillsboro
Sept. 5 Dallas at St. Helens, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 St. Helens at Astoria, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 12 St. Helens at Madison, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 Hermiston at St. Helens, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 St. Helens at The Dalles, 4 p.m.
Sept. 26 South Albany at St. Helens, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 St. Helens at Sandy, 7 p.m. * Oct. 3 Parkrose at St. Helens, 7 p.m. * Oct. 5 St. Helens at Milwaukie, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 10 Wilsonville at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 17 St. Helens at Hillsboro, 4:30 p.m. *
Oct. 19 Putnam at St. Helens, 7 p.m. * Oct. 24 La Salle Prep at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Lions girls' cross country can beat best state run in 22 years
Alyssa Fite and the Lions girls will see what they can do at state after running to eighth in Class 5A and their best performance since they crossed the finish line fifth as a team in Class 3A in 1995.
The senior and juniors Mackenzie Trainer, Cheyenne Trainer and Anna Luttrell can get to state for the third year in a row after Josie Hanna, Krista Lamunyon and Genny Luttrell helped lift them to the top 10 and graduated.
For the boys, Dakotah Camberg and Jacob Falk are seniors who can make it for the first time after Ben Johnstun went twice in a row and graduated.
St. Helens will have all the elite races it likes as it gets rolling at the Ultimook Running Camp's Session 2, scheduled to feature Class 5A boys' champion Crater and Class 4A girls' medalist Tillamook, on Aug. 6 at the Hydrangea Ranch in Tillamook.
The Nike Bill Chapman Invitational, with Class 6A girls' champion Jesuit and Class 4A boys' champion Valley Catholic, is set for Aug. 31 at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.
At the Meriwether National Cross Country Classic on Sept. 22, the Lions will see Class 6A boys' champion Central Catholic, Valley Catholic's boys and Tillamook's girls, Scappoose's boys and girls and Class 3A/2A/1A boys' champion Bandon.
In the Nike Portland XC meet, St. Helens will rejoin Jesuit's girls, Crater's boys, Summit's girls, Valley Catholic's boys and Catlin Gabel's girls.
The Lions will see Scappoose, Astoria, Clatskanie, host Rainier and Warrenton at the Trojan Relays on Oct. 4 at Trojan Recreation Park, and the Heiser Farms XC Race will include Central Catholic's boys and Tillamook's girls.
The Northwest Oregon Conference Championships, where Sandy's boys and Wilsonville's girls will try to repeat and from which the top three teams and any top-seven individual who doesn't belong to the qualifying teams reaches state set for Nov. 4 at Lane Community College in Eugene, is set for Oct. 25 at Blue Lake Park in Gresham.
St. Helens' boys last reached state as a team -- starring Bryan Strang, Nathan Reed, Casey Cooke, David Sumsion, Tanner Boyle, Fuller Worman and Eliazar Lopez -- and went 10th in 2010.
Cross country schedule
Aug. 6 St. Helens at Ultimook Running Camp Session 2, Hydrangea Ranch, Tillamook
Aug. 31 St. Helens at Nike Bill Chapman Invitational, 4:30 p.m., Rood Bridge Park, Hillsboro
Sept. 6 St. Helens at Northwest Oregon Conference Preview, Blue Lake Park, Gresham *
Sept. 20 Hillsboro, St Helens, La Salle at Wilsonville, 4 p.m., Wilsonville Memorial Park *
Sept. 22 St. Helens at Meriwether National Cross Country Classic, 5 p.m., Meriwether National Golf Club, Hillsboro
Sept. 23 St. Helens at Three-Course Challenge, Camp Rilea, Warrenton
Sept. 30 St. Helens at Nike Portland XC, 9:15 a.m., Portland Meadows Race Track
Oct. 4 St. Helens at Trojan Relays, Trojan Recreation Park, Rainier
Oct. 11 Putnam, Milwaukie, Wilsonville at St Helens, McCormick Park *
Oct. 13 St. Helens at Heiser Farms XC Race, noon, Dayton
Oct. 25 St. Helens at Northwest Oregon Conference Championships, Blue Lake Park, Gresham *
Boys' soccer seeks first win in two years
Forwards Gabe Compton, Alex Ramos, Pacey Littleton and defender Daniel Lujano have to be eager to avoid a second winless season in a row.
St. Helens, which won its last game 2-0 in its home finale against Sandy on Oct. 27, 2015 and will replace nine graduates, six of whom were all-Northwest Oregon Conference talents, is scheduled to open at home against Dallas (which won a single game by a single goal last year) on Sept. 5 at Doc Ackerson Stadium.
The Lions will also host Class 6A all-state senior defender Miguel Carrillo and first-rounder Centennial on Sept. 13, and hit the road for all-state senior defender Marco Reyes and Class 5A first-rounder South Albany on Sept. 26.
A dangerous Northwest Oregon Conference stretch includes a trip to Wilsonville -- the runner-up to Woodburn in last year's final -- on Oct. 10, a home game against all-state senior forward Bryan Tapia Silva, all-state midfielder Edwin Rivas and quarterfinalist Hillsboro on Oct. 17, a game at first-rounder Putnam on Oct. 19, and a trip to all-state sophomore goalkeeper Quintin Castner and semifinalist La Salle Prep in the regular-season finale on Oct. 24.
Boys' soccer schedule
Sept. 5 St. Helens at Dallas, 4 p.m.
Sept. 7 Astoria at St. Helens, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 Centennial at St. Helens, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 The Dalles at St. Helens, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 St. Helens at South Albany, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 Sandy at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 3 St. Helens at Parkrose, 6 p.m., Portland *
Oct. 5 Milwaukie at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 10 St. Helens at Wilsonville, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 17 Hillsboro at St. Helens, 7 p.m. *
Oct. 19 St. Helens at Putnam, 7 p.m., Milwaukie *
Oct. 24 St. Helens at La Salle Prep, 7 p.m., Milwaukie *