Estacada, now 1-1, hopes to regain winning ways in second long road trip of the season

While last year’s preseason schedule for the Estacada football team was described as grueling because of its insane difficulty, this year’s might warrant the same description for a completely different reason: the travel.

Just two weeks after travelling to Lincoln City to face Taft, the Rangers are headed back out to the coast on Friday, Sept. 14, for a matchup with 2-0 Seaside.

While the schedule might still be tough, one thing Baker hasn’t been complaining about thus far is his team’s health.

“No injuries, thank gosh,” Estacada head coach Brigham Baker said. “Finally a report of no injuries, which is really nice.”

One player who is banged up, however, is receiver Ryan Vauthier, who injured his ankle Friday night. The good news is that Vauthier was a full participant in practice this week and shouldn’t have any issues suiting up Friday.

Another bit of good news for the Rangers is that the speed that tormented them in the Scappoose game won’t be present this week, however it has been replaced with another challenge: size.

“Seaside is very, very big,” Baker said. “I think we give up 40-60 pounds with each guy against the line, and every time you see that it could present a problem.

“We are hoping to take advantage of that, though, since they are significantly slower than we are.”

Offensively, Seaside runs an offense similar to Estacada’s in that everything starts with the running game. Defensively, however, the Seagulls play very aggressively.

“They focus on getting up field and they live and die by the blitz,” Baker said. “So we’ll try and exploit some of those weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

With an aggressive defense like that, Baker hinted at the fact that the Rangers’ improved passing game might be a bit more prevalent this week.

Last week, the Rangers completed 14 of 19 passes and of the five incompletions, Baker attributed three or four to drops.

“Part of the reason our passing worked so well is because we run the ball a bit and make people make decisions,” he said. “We also have a quarterback (Bryan Rhone) who makes good decisions.”

As for how he’s going to combat the Rangers’ severe size disadvantage, Baker says it all comes back to fundamentals.

“The lowest guy always wins,” he said. “Bigger guys usually stand up real fast, so if we can move them a bit, we’ll have to block some angles. We can’t hit them straight on and win every time, so we’ll make some changes with our blocking schemes to put our kids in a position to be successful.

“Offensively, we’ll try and get as much speed as possibly on the field with fresh legs.”

Even if Estacada is able to take advantage of their speed, Baker knows he’s still up against a very, very good Seaside team.

The Seagulls are 2-0 on the season, having beat Warrenton 50-0 in week one and then Taft 13-8 last week.

The Rangers beat Taft 21-0 in the opening week.

“If they can score 50 on anyone, I think they’re pretty good,” Baker said. “I think we’re going to have to play at least as good as we did last week because they have all the confidence in the world right now. They’re probably expecting to be 3-0 for the first time in a long time.”

Baker said they’re working on improving their pass protection and some run blocking, but other than that he reiterated how pleased he was with his team’s performance Friday night.

“We just need to keep coaching the little things and trust what we’re doing,” he said.

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