Indians attempt to curtail T'wolves
Thurman Bell has tutored some great running backs in his 28 years as the Roseburg High football coach.
But Bell has never seen a tailback quite like Tualatin's Luke Staley.
He's big, he's powerful and he's got sprinter's speed, Bell says. He's like a runaway freight train.
The Indians will get a close-up view of the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Staley at Eugene's Autzen Stadium on Saturday evening when they meet the Tigard-based Timberwolves in a Class 4A state semifinal matchup.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Staley, who's been on the Tualatin varsity since his freshman year and is being recruited by Brigham Young University, has been on a tear in the playoffs. He ran for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the T'wolves' 23-7 victory over Mountain View last week and has racked up an eye-catching 708 yards and eight TDs in Tualatin's three playoff wins.
Roseburg defensive coordinator and former head track coach Brad Mastrud recalls seeing Staley outrun former Indians' speedster Mike Cory in a 100-meter dash last spring.
Cory had a lifetime best of 10.8 seconds in the 100 and won the SOC district title in 1997.
For him (Staley) to beat Cory is just plain scary, Bell says. We told our kids about that and it definitely got their attention.
Running roughshod through the Indians' defense figures to be quite a chore for anyone, however.
Prior to last week's 28-20 victory over Lakeridge, Roseburg had allowed just six points over a six-game stretch. The Indians have been particularly difficult to run against, making the matchup against Staley all the more intriguing.
Staley missed most of last season with a knee injury, but rather than mope over his misfortune, he stepped into the weight room six days a week for a full year, former Tualatin assistant and current Crater head coach Randy Heath says.
He looks like he's chiseled out of granite, Heath says. He's definitely a Division I athlete.
The Timberwolves have another fine runner in fullback Ryan McKee, who amassed more than 1,300 yards in Staley's absence last season and has been a major contributor again this year.
I don't know if I've ever seen a pair of running backs like those two, Bell says. Our kids better make sure they fasten their chin straps.
Roseburg quarterback Kevin Linderman, meanwhile, has been the key to the Indians' offense. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 184 yards and three TDs last week, including a 7-for-8 performance in the second half when the Indians had to rally for the win.
A Roseburg victory would vault the Indians into the state championship game for the third time in four years.