Illinois Valley shooting for postseason

Cougars led by junior QB CJ Manning

Mail Tribune
August 28, 2013


Ray Yarbrough
(Sixth year, 16-33)
Illinois Valley hopes to use the momentum it built this summer and apply it toward a successful SCH campaign.
ASSISTANTS: Randy Keith (defensive coordinator/offensive line), Aaron Skinner (running backs/linebackers), Matt Knight (wide receivers/outside linebackers), Derek Duman (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/defensive backs), Walter Hulsey (junior varsity/offensive line/defensive line), Darrell Cushman (junior varsity defensive coordinator).
2012 LEAGUE RECORD: 1-2 (third, SCH).
2012 results
Illinois Valley Opponents
14 Hidden Valley 17
10 McKinleyville (Calif.) 36
38 North Douglas 8
24 Glide 38
34 Bandon 13
19 Bonanza 7
20 Lakeview 52
13 Cascade Christian 63
7 Lost River 21
17 Rogue River 16
OFFENSE (6): Quarterback CJ Manning (6-0, 180, jr.), center Cade Doyle (5-10, 221, sr.), guard Nick Worley (6-0, 235, sr.), wide receiver T.J. Hughey (5-10, 185, sr.), running back James Thompson (5-9, 200, jr.), left tackle Chase Robbins (6-4, 257, sr.)
DEFENSE (7): Tackle Nick Worley, middle linebacker T.J. Hughey, outside linebacker James Thompson, defensive end Chase Robbins, free safety CJ Manning, outside linebacker Logan Miller (6-1, 165, jr.), middle linebacker Julian Northrup (6-2, 220, sr.).
Offensive/defensive lineman Kai Alvarez (6-0, 190, jr.), offensive lineman/linebacker James Jarrett (5-10, 195, so.), running back/cornerback Jordan Rubenstein (5-7, 150, so.), wide receiver/defensive back Dakota Fortney (5-11, 140, jr.), wide receiver/cornerback Brandon Perez (5-5, 130, jr.), guard/middle linebacker John Britt (5-10, 195, sr.).
Aug. 30 at Hidden Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 SIUSLAW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 CRESWELL, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Glide, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 BONANZA, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Lost River, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 ST. MARY'S, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Cascade Christian, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Lakeview, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 ROGUE RIVER, 7 p.m.

CAVE JUNCTION — The Illinois Valley football team was on the same page earlier this year, recording respectable showings at a 7-on-7 tournament and also at its own team camp.

As long as the metaphorical bookmark doesn't slip out of the novel, the Cougars should be in the running for one of the two Southern Cascade Hybrid automatic playoff berths, head coach Ray Yarbrough said.

Lakeview and Rogue River will also be gunning for that second spot.

Illinois Valley, which finished 4-6 overall and third in the four-team league last fall, returns six starters on offense and seven on defense.

Junior quarterback CJ Manning, senior left tackle Chase Robbins, senior center Cade Doyle and junior running back James Thompson headline the group.

Those players, along with the others, showed strength and some leadership when the Cougars hosted a team camp that saw North Valley and a few teams from Northern California attend. At a 7-on-7 tournament in Bend in June, Illinois Valley was the smallest school "by far" but held its own, Yarbrough said.

"We competed," he said. "I thought we had a good showing and were able to get some things installed."

Manning has started the past two seasons under center. He will again guide the spread offense.

"He knows what to expect from me and the expectations overall," Yarbrough said.

Robbins will make the drastic switch from wide receiver to left tackle. The 2012 SCH first-team defensive selection may have the best hands on the team, Yarbrough said, but at 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, he is needed elsewhere.

"He has that sheer size," Yarbrough said. "He is an athletic, big guy."

Doyle is sound at center and Thompson shows great alacrity, Yarbrough said.

"James is the one guy who is always calling me," he said. "I expect some big things from him at running back. He's explosive."

Senior Julian Northrup was a two-way starter as a sophomore before suffering a season-ending knee injury his junior year. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder plays tackle and middle linebacker.

Yarbrough sees his team in the mix for the playoffs — as long as they all stay on the same page.

"I think we'll be right there," he said. "We are hoping to compete. We have a quality group of kids.

"Rogue River has given us some tough games. I think our conference could be really, really competitive."

Illinois Valley opens the season by hosting Class 4A Hidden Valley on Friday. Its league season begins on Oct. 18 at Cascade Christian.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email