Lakeridge football ready for more in 2021 season
The Lakeridge football team is ready to set the pace.
The Pacers, after going 2-3 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, are back for their first full year under head coach Spencer Phillips and are determined to make 2021 bigger and better.
"The key to us playing well and competing will completely rely on how well we communicate and play as a team," Phillips said.
On offense, the Pacers will be led by junior quarterback Ryan Oliver (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), a returning starter, and an offensive line led by sophomore Chris Azari (6-0, 240) and junior Cameron Ferguson (6-2, 260).
Phillips described Oliver as "smart, athletic and ultra-competitive," while adding that Azari "proved to be one of the smartest players on our team. He is turning himself into a true leader," while Ferguson "is one of our anchors and really transformed himself into a leader this offseason."
Thus far, the Pacers have relied on senior Jake Reichle (6-3, 200) and sophomore Ethan Biondine (6-0, 220) at running back, while their talented receiving corps is led by sophomore wide receiver Joey Olson (6-5, 205) and junior wide receiver Baylor Corbin (6-0, 180).
"Baylor is a very gifted athlete who can make every catch," Phillips said, adding that Olsen is "one of the most gifted athletes in the state. For as good of a player as he is, what impresses me the most is how hard he works."
Coming off the pandemic-shortened season that ended less than six months ago, the Pacers know that winning the turnover battle will key their offense's chances in 2021.
"(The) key to our success will be taking care of the ball," Phillips said.
Head coach: Spencer Phillips
2020-21 record: 2-3 in Three Rivers League play, 2-3 overall
2021 outlook: The Pacers' defense should be solid and they look to improve on last spring's short-season effort.
League contenders: Tualatin
Phillips said that this year's team will be led by its defense, which brings back nine starters from last season, a group led by senior linebacker Zac Waible (6-2, 215), Reichle at safety, senior defensive end Nui Tovey (6-3, 240), senior cornerback Zach Larson (5-10, 175) and Ferguson.
Waible "is the senior leader of our defense and one of the toughest players in the state," Phillips said, adding that Tovey — last year's co-defensive Lineman of the Year — "is one of the most athletic players in the state for his size," while Reichle "plays sideline to sideline and is a relentless competitor."
Now, if the Pacers just tackle effectively, Phillips expects his defense to be one of the Three Rivers League's best.
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