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Substance over style

Substance over style

Hard-nosed Idrogo draws his approach from his roots

EAGLE POINT ' Nate Idrogo is a blue-collar type of running back for the Eagle Point High football team.

He's not fast, he's not fancy and he doesn't showboat.

Idrogo's hard-nosed, no-nonsense style of play fits in perfectly with his upbringing.

Idrogo's parents ' Juan and Cuca Idrogo ' got married when they were just 17 and 15, respectively. They were working in the potato fields of Tulelake, Calif., at the time, and it wasn't long before the first of their eight children was born.

— They have since moved on to better jobs ' Juan is a manager at the Talent Wal-Mart and Cuca a hair stylist at Cost Cutters ' but their strong work ethics have been passed on to their offspring.

They've been working hard since they were teenagers to make sure all of us kids were taken care of, says Nate Idrogo, who is the youngest of the clan. They've been very strict, but they've taught me the value of hard work and how to respect myself and others.

My dad is always telling me, 'Do your best in school and sports and earn your way to college.'

That's something he never did. He wants me to have a better life.

When it comes to football, Idrogo gets plenty of advice from his five older brothers, all of whom suited up for either Tulelake or Lost River High near Klamath Falls before the family moved to Eagle Point.

But the younger Idrogo doesn't need much help in that area; he's been playing football ever since he joined a Pop Warner team in the fourth grade.

Heading into Friday's game against fifth-ranked North Medford, Idrogo is the third-leading rusher in the Southern Oregon Conference with 430 yards and five touchdowns on 72 carries.

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior is one of the mainstays of coach Harry Hedrick's triple-option, flexbone offense.

Nate has some natural instincts as a runner, says Hedrick, whose team has won four of its six games. He can feel where a hole is developing and bounce into it.

He doesn't have great speed, but he's got good vision and he runs low to the ground.

With Idrogo and quarterbacks Creighton Nevin and Jered McClellan leading the way, Eagle Point is averaging an SOC-best 252.5 yards rushing per game. In total offense, only North Medford (356.8) has averaged more yards per contest than the Eagles (333.6).

EP totaled a season-high 456 yards during last Friday's 32-27 win over Ashland.

I really like this offense a lot, Idrogo says of the flexbone. We've got a lot of good runners, and this offense allows all of us to get involved.

It's taken time to make everything click, but the last couple weeks we've been getting control of it.

Idrogo has also been a stalwart on defense for the Eagles from his outside linebacker position.

He's done a real nice job there, too, Hedrick says, and for a lot of the same reasons. Nate has a good feel for where the ball is going.

Idrogo is looking forward to Friday's matchup against North Medford, even though few people give Eagle Point any chance at winning.

Everyone in our locker room is confident, he says. We feel like we match up with them pretty well.

You can bet the Black Tornado will make Idrogo a marked man Friday ' it takes pride in stuffing an opponent's top running back. But Idrogo isn't likely to be intimidated.

After growing up with five older brothers, he's accustomed to punishment.

Eagle Point?s Nate Idrogo is the third-leading rusher in the SOC with 440 yards and five touchdowns on 72 carries.