The Kingsmen are hungry.
The Rex Putnam football team is hungry to compete, hungry to win and hungry for a shot at a playoff berth.
"Our league has a few highly ranked teams, but after that, it feels very wide open," said Putnam coach Tim Jacobs. "Our boys are hungry and they are looking forward to seeing how they stack up against everyone."
This year, the Kingsmen offense will be led by a quintet of key players, including senior offensive lineman Gabe Sayer, junior running back Sam Baldwin, senior wide receiver Jason Crowe, sophomore wide receiver Tyler Creswick, and junior quarterback Konnor Bickford.
Jacobs said that Sayre — a three-year starter on offenseÂ — is "aggressive and physical at the point of attack, while Baldwin is an "explosive runner with great vision. Very football savvy. (He) uses great vision to put himself into great positions."
Regarding Putnam's receiving duo of Crowe and Creswick, Jacobs called them an "excellent 1-2 punch at wide receiver on offense. Both have excellent hands and have the ability to make things happen once the ball is in their hands."
Along with staying healthy, Jacobs said his offensive unit's success would be based on a couple factors.
"(The key is) the offensive line gelling and becoming a cohesive unit," Jacobs said. "(We need to) win the third down battle (to) keep our offense on the field."
There's talent on the other side of the ball, too; that group led by senior defensive end Myles Barton, senior linebacker Jackson Brown, Sayre (a two-year starter), Baldwin, Crowe and Creswick.
"Barton (is an) explosive defensive end. He makes plays in the backfield consistently on defense," Jacobs said, adding that Brown — Putnam's leading tackler last spring — is making tackles at an even higher rate this fall. (He's the) heart of the defense. Very football smart (and) able to check us into better defenses and get everyone aligned correctly."
With all that as pretext, Jacobs said that the key to success for his defense is pretty simple and straightforward.
"Defensively, we have to stop the run," he said. "(We) must put ourselves in a position to get off the field on third down."
Head coach: Tim Jacobs
2020-21 record: 0-3 in Northwest Oregon Conference play, 2-4 overall
2021 outlook: "Our boys are hungry and they are looking forward to seeing how they stack up against everyone."— Tim Jacobs
League contenders: Pendleton, Redmond
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.