Gladiators eye a 3-peat in TVL football
And a return to the Class 4A championship final
Gladstone High School has graduated 27 seniors including eight first-team all-conference players from last years team that went undefeated and won the schools first state title in football since 1978. But that doesnt mean the Gladiators wont be competitive in football this fall.
The Gladiators will simply reload. Gladstones program has reached a point where the Gladiators expect to be competitive every year. They are two-time defending league champions and theyve won 84.5 percent of their games over the past five seasons, going 49-9.
Wed like to get that 3-peat for the league title, said Gladstone senior co-captain Brent Smith. Gladstone has never had three league titles in a row before.
If we play our best, I dont think theres anyone that can beat us, said senior co-captain Brookes Schassen.
Asked which team is favored to win the Tri-Valley Conference this season, senior co-captain Riley Greene said, Ourselves, because were the only one that can stop ourselves from winning it. [Former coach Jon] Wolf introduced us to Oregons win the day motto. If we become better every day, by playoff time it will be tough for anyone to beat us.
Greene added, I feel our season will be a reflection of how hard we worked over the summer, and Im looking forward to seeing the outcome, because we had a lot of guys working really hard all summer long.
Gladstone coach Jon Jedrykowski said hes had some 60 football players taking part in the schools movement dynamics fitness program on a regular basis since school got out last spring.
Our goal is to play Gladstone football details, discipline, energy and execution, Jedrykowski said. If we to that, well be in the mix for the league title.
But we have a lot of guys new to varsity football and theyre going to have to figure out things real quick, because our league is going to be good from top to bottom.
But Jedrykowski says he likes the hand hes been dealt.
Because we graduated so many good kids a lot people dont think were going to do that well, he said. But I like these kids. I like that they want to prove people wrong and believe that they can do it. And I like that they have sacrificed their summer, working hard to get better. Theyre football kids, and they want to continue the tradition here at Gladstone.
Corbett has dropped from the Tri-Valley Conference, so with only four league games, every league game will have tremendous importance.
Gladstone will host 2014 TVC runner-up Crook County on Sept. 25 in its league opener. Gladstone will play at Madras on Oct. 2 and at Molalla on Oct. 23, after hosting Estacada on Oct. 16.
Nonleague games are with Philomath, North Marion, Scappoose and Class 5A Mountain View. Gladstone beat Scappoose in overtime in last years Class 4A semifinals; Mountain View went 8-2 last year, finishing first in the Intermountain Conference.
The cupboard is not bare at Gladstone. The Gladiators have returned some skilled football players.
Junior Wolf Forrette (5-11, 160) was in contention for the starting nod at quarterback when he broke his collarbone in the first game of the 2014 season. Hes back, and hes healthy and hungry.
He knows our offense well and he would have played a lot and maybe even have started last year, Jedrykowski said of Forrette.
He has an arm, he can run the ball, and hes quick, Schassen said. He started in [last years game with Scappoose] and got us a 21-0 lead before he got injured and Sean [Williams] took over.... Sean was more of a pocket passer. Wolf likes to use his feet. He can get out and pass on the run.
The Gladiators return an experienced back in 6-3, 220-pound junior Quinn Carl, who made some big plays in last years playoffs.
Hes a really big, powerful back, said Schassen. Hes going to run people over.
Schassen says he also likes what hes seen from junior tailback SirRay Smith, the younger brother of former Gladstone star running back Handsome Smith.
The Gladiators return Greene (6-2, 280) and 6-3, 205-pound senior Deion Fields to the offensive line. Fields was a first-team all-conference selection as a junior.
Jedrykowski is high on senior Skylar Bradford (6-6, 230, tight end) and Jose Rodriguez (6-5, 175, wide receiver), two players who are taking to the gridiron after not playing last year. He says that both of them are really good athletes.
Jedrykowski says he also likes what hes seen from Brent Smith (5-8, 150) and sophomore Damion Alvarado (5-5, 150) at running back, seniors Brian Edwards (6-0, 190) and Jeff Price (6-6, 240) at tight end, Schassen at center and junior Keaton Hogan (6-3, 270) in the offensive line.
Schassen (linebacker), Carl (linebacker), Brent Smith (cornerback), Fields (line) and Greene (line) return with experience on defense.
Sophomore Josiah Wachlin returns to do the place kicking. Senior Andrew Gross will also do some kicking, Jedrykowski says.
Players Jedrykowski said he planned to start in last Fridays season opener at Philomath included: seniors Brent Smith (running back and defensive back), Brian Edwards (tight end and linebacker), Brookes Schassen (offensive line and linebacker, 6-1, 170), Deion Fields (offensive and defensive line) Devin Neer (wide receiver and defensive back, 5-10, 180), Jeffrey Price (offensive line), Riley Greene (offensive line, 6-4, 300) and Wolf Forrettte (quarterback); juniors Quinn Carl (running back and linebacker), Jose Rodriguez (wide receiver and defensive line), Seth Whitmore (defensive back, 6-0, 150) and Darnell Washington (defensive line, 6-3, 245); and sophomores Derek Lee (offensive line, 5-9, 175), Chandler Berks (defensive back, 5-9, 150) and Devin Hall (defensive line, 6-1, 300).
Jedrykowski has made a few changes in his coaching staff. Ryan Schassen is defensive coordinator, replacing Doug Sommer, who is now defensive coordinator at Milwaukie; Gladstone wrestling coach Michael Hess and longtime Gladstone youth coach Steve Berks have joined the football staff as coaches of the freshmen team.
Gladstone was to play Philomath on the road in last Fridays season opener. The Gladiators entertain North Marion on Friday, Sept. 11, in their home opener.