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Butte Falls seeks breakthrough year

BUTTE FALLS — After two years of head coaching experience at Butte Falls, Darren Kinyon expects the Loggers to make a significant leap in 2015.

Kinyon's team slightly improved from a winless campaign his first season to one victory in 2014. But the Eagle Point public works employee senses a special spirit with this group.

The Loggers might be lacking in numbers — an initial turnout of 12 — but not in camaraderie. The chants during practice are louder and stronger. And after practice, players remain to play touch football then hang out together.

"What's nice is the kids we have are really meshing together," said Kinyon, who expects the squad size to increase to 16 by the start of school. "The next step is getting into more individual position teaching. All of the kids have played football. That's a first."

Kinyon has enlisted three former Logger players — Travis Myers, Chase Ellis and Jared McGonagle — to fill out his staff.

"You realize you can't do everything yourself," said Kinyon, 50. "You need coaches you trust and respect."

After returning from active duty in the Marines, Ellis, a speedy prep running back, has been a positive influence as an assistant.

"I've watched Chase grow up and give back to this community," said Kinyon, who has lived in Butte Falls for 20 years. "The older kids watched Chase play football. He's young enough to relate to them."

Offensively, the Loggers have seven returning starters.

Senior Wil Bateman is back for his second season at quarterback. Bateman, who possesses the size, savvy and experience needed for the Loggers double-wing attack, might be pushed by a junior transfer from Eagle Point, Tyler Davis.

"(Bateman) is strong as an ox — he bucks hay all summer," said Kinyon. "He's coming out of his shell as a true leader."

With Bateman at the helm, the Loggers are expected to be a power running team.

Sophomore speedster Isaac Tiry will be called upon to be a major focus, taking over for last year's leading rusher Alex Cool-Hunsaker. Also, another Eagle Point transfer, junior Kadin Ault, will provide strength and speed as a runner.

With returning senior guards Aidan Cool-Hunsaker and Mike McNabb and junior center James Busch, the Loggers have the pieces to be an effective line.

"We just want to keep pounding away," said Kinyon. "We controlled the clock in a lot of our games. Turnovers were our biggest problem."

On defense is where Butte Falls will need to show a lot of improvement. The Loggers surrendered almost 54 points per game and too many big plays last year.

"We know where we need to improve and have worked on it," said Kinyon. "The kids are focused on the teaching and are asking for help."

Luke McGonagle, Jimmy Kinyon and Bateman return as cornerstones of the Loggers’ 4-4 or 4-3-1 defense. And Christian Suarez, an undersized but quick-reacting player, is going to be given a chance at inside linebacker. Ault should secure one of the linebacking positions and Davis is being looked at to shore up a major deficiency in the secondary.

Kinyon, a former youth football coach, admitted he has learned a lot about the eight-man game in the past two years.

"It's so wide open," said Kinyon. "It's really faster than I gave it credit for."

Kinyon isn't predicting a District 2 West Division title but thinks a .500 season would be a success: "I want to build this program and create something for the kids to have pride in the school and community,"

Winning football games goes a long way in establishing that type of credibility.

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