Preps Beat: Grant football tested by competitive slate
The Grant Generals have another big football game this week.
Grant is treating every game in this unique season like a playoff game. And, seeing playoff-caliber competition each week is an important opportunity for the Generals' seasoned seniors and for a talented group of younger players.
Grant is 2-1 after a 19-12 Week 3 loss at Clackamas. That followed big wins over Barlow (26-0) and Roosevelt (60-20).
It's 3-0 Central Catholic who provides the challenge this week. The Rams and Generals clash at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at Franklin High.
The tough schedule is by design, coach John Beck noted.
The Generals have a seasoned senior class that helped Grant share the PIL title in 2018 and win it outright in 2019. So playing less-experienced PIL teams this spring would not have served the Generals, or younger opponents.
Had there been a fall season, playoff regulars South Medford and Sheldon were non-league opponents on the Grant schedule.
Beck described the uncertainty through the fall and winter about the fate of football "really, really stressful" as he balanced being a coach and father of Grant senior linebacker/running back Brennick Beck with his position as a member of the Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board.
He is thrilled that Grant's seniors get this season, but noted it came too late for some to capture attention from colleges that don't have scholarships left to give.
One such player is Grant 6-0, 200-pound quarterback/safety Logan Going, who in the loss at Clackamas threw touchdown passes to sophomore running back Donald "Chili" Stephens and to senior receiver Luke Borchardt. Beck said Going and many of his classmates need to get good video of their play this season and then look for opportunities to join a program as a preferred walk-on or look at Division III or junior college options.
First comes three more high school games: Saturday's showdown with Central Catholic; an April 3 game against Jefferson the Generals will look at as a PIL championship game; and a "bowl week" game in Week 6 against an opponent to be determined that Beck said will be a traditional playoff participant.
"These games are cool," Beck said of the slate of opponents the Generals are playing this spring. "You get to find a matchup with a similar team who you are competitive with and that's a fun challenge."
Volleyball — Central Catholic entered this week at 7-0, with only two sets dropped (in a 3-2 win at Clackamas). Kayla Hambley has stepped up to be the Rams' head coach, the first time in more than three decades that Rick Lorenz isn't guiding the program.
Hambley, who coached in the program for 10 years, told OSAA Today's John Tawa that most of the Rams' coaches have been mentored by Lorenz.
"Many of the coaches on our staff have been coaching at Central Catholic for 30-plus years, and having them by my side to guide me through the transition and offer support has been a huge blessing," Hambley told Tawa.
Soccer — Lincoln and Grant, the top two teams in the PIL in boys soccer and girls soccer, are scheduled to settle PIL supremacy on March 30. The girls game is slated for 4 p.m. at Delta Park. The boys game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Jefferson High.
Football — PIL games March 27: Roosevelt (1-2) at Franklin (3-0), 12:30 p.m.; Lincoln (2-1) at Cleveland (0-3), 4 p.m.
Other Week 3 football:
7 p.m., Thursday, March 25 — David Douglas (1-0) at Wilsonville (3-0).
7 p.m., Friday, March 26 — McDaniel (1-2) at Parkrose (0-3), Clackamas (2-1) at Sandy (1-2), La Salle Prep (2-1) at Putnam (1-2); Mountainside at Jesuit.
Saturday, March 27 — Reynolds (1-1) at Centennial (0-1), 1 p.m.; Ida B. Wells (1-2) at The Dalles (1-1), 1 p.m.; Westview (1-2) vs. Jefferson (2-1) at Franklin High, time TBD; Central Catholic (3-0) vs. Grant (2-1) at Franklin High, Time TBD; Gresham (1-2) at Barlow (1-2), 4 p.m.
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