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Crusaders learned the importance of big plays in opening loss to West Linn, look to Improve.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Senior tight end/defensive end Spencer McKelligon is a weapon on both sides of the ball for Jesuit.A Week 1 football loss to No. 2-ranked West Linn was disappointing, but in many ways educational, for Jesuit High.

{obj:56668: Jesuit fell 17-3 to West Linn on Sept. 3,} Coach Ken Potter said there were a couple of plays Jesuit receivers could have made for sophomore quarterback Jacob Hutchinson.

"We all learned that when there's a chance for a big play, you need to make it," Potter said.

The relatively young Jesuit team also learned it isn't far from the Crusaders' usual spot among the state's elite.

Jesuit has five senior starters on each side of the ball: On offense, receiver Michael Johnson, running back Michael Rincon and linemen Bennett Raymond and Nick Borlet; on defense, senior starters include linebackers Johnny Miller and Tyree Blake, defensive backs Matthew Rincon and Jake Viteznik and defensive end Spencer McKelligon. Several of the seniors have two-way rolls, including McKelligon as part of a strong group of tight ends.

Potter said his team wasn't physically outmatched against the Lions, but "we just didn't make the plays we needed to make."

That included up front, where Potter is enthusiastic about his offensive line but pointed to first-game communication breakdowns as an area he expects improvement as the linemen get time playing together. Potter noted that Jesuit's blocking schemes vary from play to play, making communication vital for a starting group that includes junior center Roice Cleeland (6-3, 270) and juniors Sean Khouri (6-1, 244) and Sylus Wallace (6-2, 318). Junior Ben Lewis (6-2, 189) starts at tight end.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Jesuit sophomore quarterback Jacob Hutchinson throws downfield during his team's 17-3 loss to West Linn at Jesuit High School on Friday, Sept. 3.
Improved line play should make things easier on Hutchinson (6-2, 163), who Potter called "a real good sophomore quarterback" and senior Porter Harris, who also saw time behind center in the opener.

West Linn made the big plays that Jesuit didn't in the opener: a 49-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to break a 3-3 tie and a 54-yard pass play to help set up a fourth-quarter touchdown. Overall, Potter was encouraged by the way the defense performed.

"The defense pursued the ball really well," he said.

That defense is receiving guidance from several assistant coaches new to Jesuit, including former Portland State coach Nigel Burton, former Crusader standout and Oregon Duck Doug Brenner and former Oregon defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

The Crusaders hope to make a big step forward on Friday, Sept. 10, when Tigard, also looking for its first win after a 48-6 loss to Sunset, visits Jesuit for a game scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m.

Jesuit visits Camas, the 2019 Washington big-school state champion, on Sept. 17, then opens Metro League play on Sept. 24 against a talented Westview squad. The Metro League title could come down to the last two games in late October against Mountainside and Sunset.


Week 2 Portland-area games (7 p.m. Friday, unless noted):

Non-league — Tigard at Jesuit, 3:30 p.m.; La Salle Prep at Roosevelt; Franklin at Oregon City; Lakeridge at Jefferson; Dallas at Ida B. Wells; Central at Barlow; Parkrose at Cleveland JV; Lake Oswego at Sherwood; Clackamas at Camas, Washington; Grant at Sheldon; Lincoln at Liberty; Putnam at Milwaukie; Wilsonville at Pendleton; Scappoose at Hood River Valley; Banks at Estacada; Valley Catholic at Woodburn; North Medford at West Linn, 7:30 p.m. at Wilsonville High.

Mt. Hood Conference — Central Catholic at David Douglas; Centennial at Sandy; Nelson at Gresham.

Metro League — Mountainside at Westview, 3:30 p.m.; Southridge at Sunset, 8 p.m.; Aloha at Beaverton, 8 p.m.


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