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Anderson is key to North Valley's success

Dane Anderson gives North Valley arguably the most dynamic player in the Skyline Conference and one of the best Class 4A players in the state.

The 6-foot-3 senior was a first-team all-Skyline Conference selection as a wide receiver, hauling in 52 passes for 942 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for 250 yards and four more TDs. He was also picked as the all-conference punter.

"I'll take him with anyone in the state right now," said North Valley veteran coach Todd Willaman. "He's a playmaker."

Anderson will be featured among an array of skill position players that includes returning running backs Dane Dellfite and Anthony Romano and wide receivers Jeremiah Rusk and Jacob Hannah. In addition, transfers Nick Todaro, from Grants Pass, and Steven Shaneyfelt, who moved from Florida, should give the Knights additional depth.

"I really like our skill kids," said Willaman. "They have good speed and athleticism. We can keep people honest and Dane will still get his touches. We're going to spread him around quite a bit."

A key for North Valley will be at the quarterback position, where sophomore Tristan Burke is expected to be the starter. Daniel Dean was in line to succeed Ryan Anderson, Dane's brother, at quarterback. But the junior broke his leg at the Gold Beach football camp this summer and his status is questionable.

"It's been quite a while since we've done that," said Willaman, referring to when sophomore Josh Makepeace was thrust into the starting role quarterback's role Allen Beck was lost for the season in the 2003 opening game.

That year the Knights advanced to the state quarterfinals.

Luke Campbell, a 290-pound senior, is the only starter returning on the interior line. Campbell was a second team all-conference pick on defense.

"(Campbell) is really going to be a good one," said Willaman. "He's a good strong blocker and moves well."

Willaman is going to have to retool the remainder of the line. Sophomore Cody Toller is expected to move into one of the down lineman positions.

"Technique-wise, Toller is good already," said Willaman. "Otherwise we're going to fill in the pieces of the puzzle."

Defensively, Willaman expects the Knights to improve on a dismal season where they allowed an average of 31 points a game

Dellfite, a first-team all-league linebacker, is the Knights' best defender.

"He reads and reacts well," said Willaman. "He has good speed and hits a ton."

North Valley won the Skyline in 2008 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Willaman's expectations are to do better than last year, when they were third in the conference and failed to make the playoffs.

"Our strength will be our skill-type players," said Willaman. "If we can plug some holes up front and let our skill kids run around, we'll be OK. I think our kids will respond."

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480, or e-mail fsilow@mailtribune.com