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The Vikings still have two starting spots to fill on the offensive line, not to mention a question at quarterback as they prepare for Friday's 7 p.m. season opener at Corbett.



JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Colton quarterback Mitch Nation drops to pass as Zemar Smith (26) and Austin McKinney (5) prepare to block during Friday's high school football jamboree at North Marion High School in Aurora.The Colton Vikings came away from Friday night’s high school football jamboree at North Marion High School with some insight into one of the pre-season’s biggest questions: Who is going to start on the right side of the offensive line?

There is still time to make changes, but it looks as if senior Brent Fine has the inside track on the starting right guard position and junior Ronny Woodward is the front-runner at right tackle heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. season opener at Corbett.

There are other options, including several that Colton coach Dan Leighton put to the test in Friday’s jamboree as the Vikings ran 24 plays — 12 on offense and 12 on defense — against St. Paul, North Marion, and Woodburn.

Leighton said his final decisions will follow additional film study.

“We’re getting there,” Leighton said. “I’ve just got to look at the game film with my coaches to make sure that we’re all on the same page as to what we want to do.

“The good news is we’ve got some depth, which gives us some options if anybody on the offensive line needs a breather or goes down. Whoever I have out there, I’m going to have confidence they can get the job done.”

At quarterback, senior Mitch Nation and sophomore Dawson Hall took an equal number of snaps at the jamboree, but Leighton wasn’t ready to declare one had won the starting job.

"We might go dual quarterbacks,” Leighton said. “I mean, I don’t see why we can’t. I have to really look at the film, but in certain situations, certain sets, we might play both quarterbacks.”

Leighton said many of his players were surprised by the speed of the game during the Vikings first two series against St. Paul and North Marion, then held their own after a few adjustments.

“It was the first time this year that they got to hit somebody with a different color jersey,” Leighton said. “That’s what jamborees are for — to get that first initial hit out of the way so the kids know what to expect going into the opener.”

Against Woodburn, Nation guided the Vikings on a four-play, 40-yard scoring drive the ended with senior tailback Austin McKinney following center Hunter Poet into the end zone from 2 yards out.

Colton’s Zemar Smith later broke loose near the left sideline on a 40-yard touchdown run that got called back for a blind-side hit — a new point of emphasis with officials.

Defensively, the Vikings surrendered one TD to each of the three teams they faced.

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