5A rivals Eagle Point, Crater square off Friday
Crater got a measure of relief with one key injury sustained in last week’s 25-18 loss to North Medford, but another stands to have a big impact on the Comets (1-2) moving forward.
Crater senior free safety Brady Eaton, who had to be immobilized and carted off by ambulance, received promising news that he had not sustained major injuries by Saturday and could be available Friday.
Senior strong safety and standout receiver Trevor Jaasko, however, was set to visit a doctor Wednesday but preliminary diagnosis has him out for the rest of the season with a likely knee ligament tear.
“We’ll miss Jaasko a lot,” said Crater coach Berk Brown. “We’ll obviously miss his playmaking capability on offense and his ability to cover ground on defense for us. It’s been one of those years, another guy has to step in and fill his role. We’ve moved some things around and some guys are going to get some different opportunities to play different positions so we’ll see how it goes this week.”
Jaasko left in the third quarter last week but still leads the area with 260 yards receiving to go with three TDs. Senior Dawson Douglas (22 catches, 218 yards, two TDs) will continue to be a prime target, but the Comets will also be looking for Eaton, Payton Anhorn, Dylan Ennis and Jaden Fliegel to step up in Jaasko’s absence.
Senior Blake Eaton has shouldered the load at QB, completing 55 of 91 passes for 643 yards, five TDs and four interceptions, but it’s been Cameron Kramer’s effort on the ground despite a taped up left hand that continues to be pivotal. Kramer has run for 156 yards on 38 carries thus far and will look to challenge an EP defense that is allowing an average of 238 yards rushing and 346 yards overall.
“There’s no such thing as moral victories,” said Brown, “but what I take away from our last two performances is that we’ve got really tough, gritty kids who don’t mind mixing it up with anyone and who will give their teammates and their coaches everything they’ve got when they’re in between the white lines, and that’s all we can ask for. We’re a couple plays away from beating both Grants Pass and North Medford, but that’s the way it went and we’re learning from our mistakes and growing as a program and we’re excited to take on Eagle Point, who has made a lot of improvement over the last year and presents a lot of challenges.”
Head coach Erik Johnson said his Eagles (1-2) put up more of a competitive effort last week against South Medford, and he expects that to continue on senior night Friday against the rival Comets.
“Even though we were down in the fourth quarter, we still came out and we fought every play,” said Johnson. “It was 13-0 at half, so that says how much we came out and competed.”
Junior inside linebacker and running back Isiah Hill provided several highlights, along with sophomore defensive lineman Wyatt Graves.
Freshman Bryton Livingston got his first start and completed 5 of 10 passes before giving way to sophomore Anthony Milian (6-for-13 passing, 82 yards) in the second half. It was the second straight game both QBs were utilized.
“Bryton approached it very calm, very confident and he did well,” said Johnson of his first start. “You’re talking about a freshman going up against 23 seniors on a 6A team, and he might come up to their hip, and he did very well. His future is bright.”
Johnson also sees a bright future for EP’s running game, which has seen David Brown total 154 yards on 36 carries and Hill add 116 yards and one TD on 22 carries.
“Just looking over film with the players and talking to them, we are literally 6 inches one way or the other way for our run game to start clicking,” said the coach. “This would be the week to do it against a very confident and very well-coached Crater team.”