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The Braves improve to 5-1 as league rival and 4-1 Seaside comes to Banks Oct. 15.

COURTESY PHOTO: STEWART MONROE - Banks' Daevon Vereen carries the ball during the Braves' win over Amity Friday night, Oct. 8, at Banks High School. Banks hosts Seaside this Friday night.It's been a month since the Banks Braves suffered a 33-7 loss to Estacada, but in that time they've improved to 5-1, made the most of what's been — to say the least — a fluid schedule, and improved in the areas they hope will let them compete with the state's elite.

"When you replace all of your lineman and face a veteran team in Week 2, you're going to take your lumps," Banks head coach Cole Linehan said. "But we went in there and learned, I think we improved, and I don't think it would be that lopsided if we played again. It was a good learning experience for us, and it showed us where we needed to improve — and I think we have."

The Braves won handily against 3A Amity this past week, more than doubling up the Warriors on 21 offensive plays en route to a 56-22 win.

Banks was led by a combination of efficient offense and impressive individual defensive performances, which included six Brave defensemen tallying at least eight tackles, including Christian Lyda (8), Dylan Smith (8), Jamar Flippen (10), Daevon Vereen (14), Charlie White (11), and Logan Kind (12).

"We've had some guys really step up," Linehan said. "The Vereen boys (Michael and Daevon) have just been huge for us. They just work so hard and are such coachable kids that it's just so much fun to see them have so much success."

Linehan also noted the immeasurable impact senior tight end and linebacker Charlie White has had, along with safety and running back Jamar Flippen. In addition to Flippen's defensive impact, he had 116 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries against Amity.

"This is the best football that Jamar has ever played," Linehan said. "He's running really hard, getting up field, using his speed, and it's been so fun to see him grow."

The Braves will host rival Seaside this Friday, Oct. 15. Despite their 4-1 record, Linehan said it's difficult to get a feel for just what the Seagulls will bring to the table this week. They've played a mixed bag schedule-wise, with their one loss also coming against Estacada. But the Braves coach said they know what they do from a scheme standpoint, and the game against Amity somewhat prepared his team for what they'll see from Seaside.

"It's always a big week," Linehan said. "We've built quite the rivalry over the last couple of years, and the kids are always excited to play Seaside. They've seen these guys since the third grade, so it's just one of those things."

The Seagulls have scored more than 48 points in three of their four wins, but the Braves, too, have done their share of scoring, posting nearly 40 points per game in their four contested victories.

Quarterback Cooper Gobel has thrown 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions, Flippen is averaging 87.6 yards per game rushing, and White leads the team with 25 catches for 410 yards and three scores.

The Seaside game will be the first of three Cowapa League contests that will likely decide the league championship. If Banks is able to get a win over the Gulls, defeat Milwaukie the following week, and take care of a tough Tillamook team in the regular-season finale, the title will belong to the Braves. But Linehan isn't thinking that far ahead, and he won't let his team either.

"Obviously you always hope to stay healthy when it comes to what you can and can't do going forward, but we're improving every week and finding where our guys best fit," Linehan said. "We think we match up well against a number of teams going forward, but this week's about Seaside. We know that. There's no getting ahead, and I'm really anxious to see how this game goes this week."

Banks' game with Seaside is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at Banks High School.

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