The La Salle football team is ready.
Ready to show off its new look, ready to work and ready to compete.
The Falcons, coming off a 4-2 performance in last year's pandemic-shortened season, believes it can do all of the above under first-year coach Dustin Janz.
"I believe that our team will be able to compete favorably in our league this season," said Janz, most recently the head coach at Oregon City. "A big key is for our players to remain healthy throughout the season. We also need to continue to work hard developing our young talent to step in when needed."
The 2021 version of the Falcons' offense will be led by a handful of talented returners, including junior quarterback Nate Dominitz (6-foot-1, 160 pounds), senior running back Peter Fengler-Johnson (5-8, 163), junior running back Zach Frazier (6-0, 220), senior offensive lineman Remy Winant (5-7, 210) and sophomore tight end Grant Ellison (6-4, 200).
"Dominitz has a great mind and is a great decision-maker. He gets the ball effectively into our playmakers' hands and has the ability to run, which will cause trouble for defenses," Janz said, adding that Fengler-Johnson is "extremely smart and quick, hard to tackle and very tough," while Frazier is a "physical presence with top-end speed."
Up front, Winant and Ellison will set the pace for the Falcons, with Janz calling Winant a "smart, physical player with a lot of experience," while adding that Ellison is a "physical specimen that has the tools to block, run and catch. He will be a mismatch every Friday night."
That said, the Falcons know they've got a lot of work ahead of them.
"We have had an extremely short runway to get prepared for our season," Janz added. "If we can execute at a high level and stay healthy, I think we will find success."
Head coach: Dustin Janz
2020-21 record: 3-2 in Northwest Oregon Conference play, 4-2 overall
2021 outlook: "It is hard for me to know who will win our league this year, (but) … I'm sure we will have a challenge each and every week of our season." — Dustin Janz
League contenders: Hood River, Pendleton, Redmond and Ridgeview
On the defensive side of the ball, La Salle will look for leadership from Ellison at defensive end, Dayne Lavoie (5-11, 175) at linebacker and Cameron Zielsdorf (5-11, 175) at safety.
"Grant is one of the most physically dominant players I have had the luxury to coach. He will be a handful for every offense we face," Janz said, adding that Lavoie is "physical, tough and smart," while Zielsdorf is "super-smart and athletic. He will be a big reason why we succeed on the defensive side."
If the Falcons are to succeed on "D," however, they'll need to acclimate to Janz and his coaching staff's new schemes quickly.
"(The key is) being aligned correctly at all times and being relentless in our attack of the ball each and every down," he said.
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