What's next for Indians football?
Some change is inevitable for the Scappoose football team, the makeup of its schedule and the look of its league.
How much different things will be for the Indians in 2020 is the source of conjecture.
Scappoose coach Sean McNabb not only is looking at the loss of about about two-dozen seniors to graduation but also at the likely reshaping of the Class 5A level.
Not that the Indians won't have good players, some experience and a little firepower returning next year, along with new prospects.
"I think we have a pretty special group coming up," McNabb said.
As for Year 3 of Scappoose in 5A play ... that ball is in the Oregon School Activities Association's half of the field, with more likely to be known soon, as other schools go up or down in football.
Canby plans to drop and presumably would fit as a geographical rival to Wilsonville, the only team to finish ahead of Scappoose in the Special District 1 West Division the past two seasons. Canby's enrollment reportedly now is 1,259, just under the 1,260 cutoff for 5A, but the Cougars are able to go down to 5A for football based on their poor 6A records the past two seasons, 2-7 in 2019 after going 0-9 in 2018.
Cleveland and Wilson of the 6A Portland Interscholastic League could go back up for football, and the likes of Putnam and Milwaukie could drop from 5A to 4A. The Dalles, meanwhile, is a good bet to go up from 4A back to 5A for football.
For now, all bets are off, although one thing is pretty certain: Pendleton, which has played Scappoose five times in the past two seasons, won't be on the Indians' regular-season schedule in 2020, so if those two proud football programs are to meet again, it won't be until the state playoffs.
The OSAA had, in effect, five leagues last season for 5A football — with Scappoose and St. Helens in the West Division of Special District 1 (of three Special Districts). Cleveland and Wilson also were in the West, while Putnam and Milwaukie were in the East.
McNabb said he thinks whatever arrangement is agreed upon for 2020 very well could open the door for Scappoose to play former 4A rival Astoria again on the gridiron as a nonleague opponent.
Whoever and wherever the Indians play next season, they'll have a new full-time quarterback, most likely in Luke McNabb, the backup this year to senior Jakobi Kessi.
Luke McNabb, listed at 6-2 and 210 pounds, will be a junior next fall and figures to give the Indians' attack even more of a downfield aerial threat.
"In the off-season, he needs to get together with his receivers and throw the ball to them — I feel like that could be one of our strengths," Coach McNabb said. "We might throw the ball more next season than in some others; we'll have some speed on the perimeter, and might do more there.
"Luke's going to have to get faster, quicker and get an even better feel for the game, though. He needs to work on some mechanics and on understanding the offense and on what we're trying to do.
"We'd like to see him run the zone option and pull the ball and take it to the second level, be a kid who can get to the next level with it, as well."
Coach McNabb said he believes the Indians will have a good cast of skill players around the QB. The list includes running back Deacon Smith, who will be a senior, and receivers such as Logan Johnson, Dominic Lite, Colin Stoddard, Tyler Lager and Dominic Zweigart. Stoddard will be back as a junior while the rest are returning as seniors.
"Smith, once he got healthy this year, showed what he can do. He's going to be a really tough back for us," Coach McNabb said. "And the freshman class has some talented kids, some good receiver/running back types."
The frosh-sophomore team did well this season, going 6-1, with a loss to Wilsonville.
"It's a solid group," Coach McNabb added, "one of the better frosh-soph teams we've had."
The program also has quite a few juniors who may be ready to make their mark on the varsity, he noted.
"It's all about getting everyone developed in the off-season, doing the right thing in the classroom, playing other sports and all of that," McNabb said.
For Scappoose, it's also about finding a few more linemen to replace the graduating standouts such as Tommy McKedy and Jerico Archer.
Bobby Vanek will be back up front for his senior season, and Mason Archer will be a senior in the mix on offense and perhaps defensively as well. Ruben Daniels played a lot on the defensive line as a junior. Those guys figure to be among the corps of big bodies.
Ashtin Kauffman is expected to return after contributing at linebacker as a sophomore, and the Indians are likely to make use again of Brett Krieger, who did a lot of blocking as an H-back as a junior.
Place-kicker Cade McDonald, who doubles as a soccer player, has two years of football experience with the varsity as he prepares for his senior year.
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