North Medford High wrestling coach Phillip Lopez isn't the type to get carried away.
ROGUE RIVER — At the end of an email briefly outlining his football team, Rogue River first-year head coach Beau Canfield left a quote by Benjamin Franklin.
"Well done is better than well said."
The former Southern Oregon University lineman is hoping the Chieftains' work on the gridiron speaks for itself this fall.
"My expectation is that we are going to compete and set a higher standard than we have had in the past here," he said.
Canfield, who takes over for Michael Maguire, is guardedly optimistic. His task is to guide a squad with five players who have some starting experience and to help rebuild a program that has struggled in recent years. Rogue River was 3-6 last season.
His background working under one of Oregon's most well-known coaches may prove valuable. Canfield graduated from Beaverton in 1993, played at SOU as an offensive lineman and then began his coaching career at the college in Ashland as defensive line coach for three years. He then went to Chandler High in Arizona, where he worked as the defensive line coach for four years, before taking on a position at Roseburg under the legendary Thurman Bell.
Canfield operated as defensive line coach for six seasons with the Indians. He came to Rogue River after Maguire — who was 5-14 in two seasons — accepted a job as offensive line coach at Santa Paula High in California.
The lessons that Canfield learned from Bell stuck with him, he said.
"The hours he dedicated to preparing for an opponent, his play calling, there is nothing like it," Canfield said of Bell, who begins his 43rd season as Roseburg's head coach this fall. "It is borderline savant like. It is a gift that he has devoted his lifetime to. I would like to think he has helped me and I am trying to flatter him by preparing my team in a similar way."
Helping lead the push in Canfield's option offense will be junior running back Alex Valencia, a second-team Southern Cascade Hybrid selection last season. He'll be assisted by quarterback Cody Wright (5-10, 155, jr.), running back Jarrid Hopkins (5-9, 160, so.), lineman Deandre Harris (6-0, 185, sr.) and tight end Brennan Moody (5-10, 180, jr.).
Valencia, Wright, Hopkins and Harris will be linebacker's in a 4-4 defense, with Moody serving as a lineman.
The Chieftains, who were 0-3 in league play in 2012, open the season by hosting Weed on Friday. Their first league contest is on Oct. 4, when they welcome in conference favorite Cascade Christian.
Canfield is an alternative education teacher at Rogue River. He had interviewed for the job a few years back in hopes of getting back to the Rogue Valley, and now that dream is a reality.
"I have just got fond memories of the area and always wanted to move back here," said Canfield, who has a wife and two young children.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org