Passing league proves to be impactful for Estacada skill players
WOODBURN — For the third time this summer, Estacada competed in passing league scrimmages against four different teams at Woodburn High School. Their most recent competition took place on Tuesday, July 31, against Colton, Woodburn, Dallas and Santiam. Each team got to possess the ball for approximately 12 minutes per scrimmage — starting from the 40-yard line.
Estacada is not a program that relies on their aerial attack all that much — they rarely break the century mark in passing yards during an actual game — but the Rangers skill position players still got a chance to show their stuff.
"In my mind, we're twice the team that we were at the end of the school year," Estacada assistant coach Jim Carey said. "These kids have been faithful to working hard all summer. The timing on our routes are better and we're making fewer mistakes on our coverages."
In passing league, teams play 7-on-7 against each other without the benefit of linemen or a running game. The offense plays with backs and receivers and the defense plays with linebackers and defensive backs. The quarterback has five seconds to get rid of the ball and if he doesn't, the play is blown dead.
In Estacada's first contest against Colton, the Rangers secondary only allowed a single score in 12 minutes of play.
Estacada then held Woodburn scoreless for 10 minutes before the Bulldogs scored on two straight plays.
However, when the Rangers started facing better competition, their secondary began to get exposed.
Against Dallas, Estacada gave up a multitude of big plays and surrendered four scores against the Dragons. However, Landin Vittetoe got Estacada's only interception of the day in that scrimmage.
The Rangers also gave up four scores in their competition with Santiam — the state runner-up at the 2A level last season.
However, Carey was encouraged at the fact that the Rangers got to face teams that had intricate passing schemes that challenged them.
"We saw a lot of different offenses and alignments tonight," Carey said. "Facing teams like that and getting those repetitions really pays off in the long run."
Although Estacada returns senior quarterback Nick Keller — who was the 2017 Tri-Valley Conference offensive player of the year — backup signal caller David Stamm got the majority of repetitions while Keller spent most of the day playing wideout. The duo hooked up for a 40-yard score early on in their scrimmage with Colton and then connected for two more touchdowns against Woodburn.
Look for extended coverage in the Aug. 9 print edition.