Ex-Eagles crack Southern Oregon's lineup
ASHLAND -- Three former Eagle Point High football players may be in SouthernOregon University's starting lineup on Saturday night when the Raiders opentheir season against Linfield College at Raider Stadium.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Dan Woodward, sophomore receiver Toby Taylorand sophomore defensive end R.J. Josephson will either start or at leastplay significant minutes for the Raiders, according to SOU coach Jeff Olson.
It's nice to have some friends out there on the field in a gamelike this, says Josephson. It says something about Eagle Pointfootball, too, which is nice.
Josephson is a definite starter at defensive left end. Taylor has beenbattling Mike Long for a receiver position during fall camp, but Long hasa pulled hamstring muscle that has made his status for the game questionable.
Woodward and freshman Dan Walters of Jerome, Idaho, are SOU's top twoquarterbacks going into the game. Offensive coordinator Bill Singler sayshe may not select a starter until just before game time.
We aren't in any rush to name a starter, says Singler. Theywill both play in the first half. And we will probably go with the one whoplays best and stay with him if he stays hot.
Woodward says he's confident he can move the team.
I'm throwing the ball pretty well, and I'm comfortable with theoffense, he says. It's pretty similar to what we ran at EaglePoint. The difference is that there's more of it.
The Raiders will open the season without 1996 Columbia Football Associationrushing champion Casey Jackson, who suffered a neck injury while workingout this summer in his hometown of Seaside. He underwent surgery on Aug.22 to repair two herniated
discs. Jackson is expected to miss at least SOU's first three games.
Sophomore Griff Yates of Coquille is expected to start at tailback inplace of Jackson. He will be backed up by Tommy Selden and Tim Rust.
We miss Casey, says Singler. I can't imagine how wecouldn't miss the CFA rushing champion.
But we have three guys who have shown they are capable of steppinginto that position. They have all looked good in fall camp.
Southern Oregon returns a veteran offensive line, featuring tackles BrandonMcLean (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) and Ian Reid (6-2, 290). Starting guards areMitch Montgomery (6-4, 300) and Bob Metcalf (6-0, 240). Paul Pelis (6-4,240) is scheduled to start at center.
I feel totally confident in our offensive line, says Woodward.They are protecting the quarterbacks well and giving us time to readand throw. And they are doing a good job of opening up holes for our backs.I think our offensive line is one of our strengths.
Ryan Morgan and either Long or Taylor will start at the wide receiverpositions.
Toby (Taylor) has really caught my eye in fall camp, saysSingler. He's quick and he can make plays. He's a tough kid. He getshit hard and bounces back up for more.
Singler says all three Eagle Point players share one trait: physicaltoughness.
Dan Woodward is tall and rangy, and he can attack a defense becausehe's so fast and strong for a quarterback, says Singler. ``He's competitiveand tough.
Defensively, Josephson (6-0, 185), tackle Jon Chamberlin (6-4, 255) andlinebackers Jason Drake (6-1, 215), Zach Loboy (6-1, 240) and J.D. Callicoatt(6-0, 210) of Grants Pass are the leaders of an aggressive front. Callicoattis a transfer from Portland State.
Josephson has gained 15 pounds since his freshman season, but says hestill remains an undersized defensive end at 6-0, 205 pounds.
I get some help from my teammates to overcome giving up about 50pounds to each guy I face, says Josephson. Other than that,I rely on my quickness.
Linfield features tailback Tramaine Payne (5-9, 208), a former HenleyHigh player. The Wildcats run behind a big offensive line that averagesmore than 300 pounds per man.
They are an experienced, physical team, says Olson. Theyhave experience at every starting position with 18 returning starters fromlast year and a lot of other returning players.
Brian Higgins, a junior from Chico, Calif., will start at quarterbackfor the Wildcats. Former South Medford High quarterback Curt Musser willback up Higgins.
Other probable defensive starters for Southern Oregon are Gerald Breymann(6-3, 255) at right tackle, John Avalos (6-2, 250) at right end, cornerbacksMatt Brockamp (5-10, 175) and J.J. Jedrykowski (5-10, 190), strong safetyJohn Tunick (6-0, 190) and free safety Jenner Yriate (5-10, 180).