With a high-powered offense and terrific speed, Grant's got the weapons to contend
If Lincoln is No. 1 in the PIL -which the Cardinals will have to prove on the field and to Northeast Portland -then Grant currently is no worse than No. 1A.
In two games, Grant already has reached the century mark in scoring, having beaten Beaverton 51-13 and Newberg 49-28 in nonleague road games.
Trying to keep the Grant offense from murdering you is like playing a game of football Clue -is it going to be quarterback Andre Broadous on the option with the cutback, or running back Kasseem Osheroff up the middle with the handoff, or wide receiver Paul McCoy down the sideline with the bomb? Or one of several other explosive possibilities?
Grant, however, will need to play its best game of the season to win this week. The Generals are getting ready for their only true home game (in the bowl next to the school), a 4 p.m. Friday test from Southridge, which was 2-0 until falling to Lincoln 24-14 last week.
The Generals will need to eliminate penalties and other mistakes and play more consistently. Staying healthy also will be a key all season, because six to 10 players go both ways much of the time.
'We've got some work to do,' says offensive tackle Matti Maki. 'But it's my senior year, and a lot of us have been working for this since we were freshmen.'
Lincoln's success has kept some of the spotlight off Grant, which gave the Cardinals fits last year before losing 17-14 in their regular-season showdown.
Receiver-cornerback Bryan Butcher, also a deep threat and solid defender, says the Generals are still 'under the radar.'
'I don't think we've played up to our potential,' says Osheroff, one of several track standouts on the team.
• Grant has terrific speed at the skill positions. The Generals had 475 yards total offense at Newberg, most of that in the first three quarters. Broadous, a junior who looks more comfortable in his second year at the helm and sharper with his throws, passed for five touchdowns, completing 11 of 13 for 277 yards. He also ran 10 times for 69 yards and another score.
• Grant's linemen aren't huge, but they are effective.
'Good technique, great coaching,' says one of them, Marcus Dyer. 'We feel we'll go as far as our offensive and defensive lines will take us.'
• Wide receiver Isaiah Buchanan has caught two touchdown passes and is all over the field on defense this year; he returned a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown against Beaverton and applied heavy blitz pressure on Newberg quarterback Levi Fletcher last week.
Last season, Buchanan pretty much played deep in the secondary, waiting for passes. At Newberg, he was on the attack like a linebacker and in the offensive backfield several times. And when he wasn't, he or Butcher, McCoy or others were chasing down ball carriers or receivers.
'We're mixing it up on defense from game to game,' Buchanan says. 'Our outside linebackers are going to have different responsibilities this year.'
• One of the good additions to the varsity is sophomore sprint star Karl Acker, who plays safety and receiver-running back. He was the quarterback and a linebacker for Grant's freshman team last year.
'Everything's different for me, but it's fun,' he says. 'I just like being on the field. I don't care where I'm at.'
• As in the past, the Generals have recruited a soccer player to do their place-kicking. Junior Gabe Miller is 12-for-12 on PATs and is kicking off well.
• Grant and Lincoln will meet Oct. 27 at Lincoln. In addition to Southridge, the Generals also have to play nonleague games against tough Canby (Sept. 22 at Lincoln) and PIL 5A favorite Roosevelt (Oct. 12 at Lincoln).
'First, the PIL title, then the state title. That's my goal,' Buchanan says.
• Lincoln (2-0) probably will face its toughest opponent yet when it travels to Tualatin (3-0) on Friday. The Timberwolves lost to eventual state champion Jesuit in the state semifinals last year and return running back Kyle Johnson. He gained 198 yards on 33 carries and scored three touchdowns in last week's 28-21 win over South Medford.
• Lincoln QB Connor Kavanaugh, who was knocked out of the opener two weeks ago on a hit that broke a bone in his head, says he doesn't worry about taking another hit or getting injured again.
'Anytime, anyone can get hurt,' he says. 'If I don't give the defense a good opportunity to get a good shot at me, I think I can play the whole game.'
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