Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Huskies hunger for playoffs

Second-year coach Doug Bilodeau wants to build a positive culture that translates to success on the field


by: PHIL HAWKINS - Senior Ben Crumley (No. 4) directs the offensive line on the first day of fall practice. Crumley will take over the starting quarterback role this season.Since the inception of the Tri-Valley Conference in 2010, the Gladstone Gladiators and the La Salle Falcons have claimed the top two spots in each of the past three years. The third spot has been up for grabs every year, and in 2013, North Marion coach Doug Bilodeau is hoping that the Huskies will be there to challenge a playoff spot.

“The top three teams are obviously La Salle, Gladstone and hopefully North Marion this year, but we don’t know week to week,” said Bilodeau. “We’re not going to call that yet.”

In his second year with the North Marion, Bilodeau is trying to snap a streak of three years since the Huskies were playoff bound, back in 2009 when the team was part of the Capital Conference. Since then, North Marion has gone 1-14 in conference play, including last year’s team that finished 0-5 after starting the season with three straight non-conference wins.

“We had a tough fight against Molalla, a tough fight against Madras, but those other games I felt we did good,” said Bilodeau. “I felt that what we did against those good teams with what we had, we did OK. The win wasn’t there, but the competitive attitude was.”

As much as Bilodeau wants his team to be competitive within the Tri-Valley in 2013, he doesn’t look ahead to the end of the season. His expectations for the team come as he judges his players based on how they perform at practice day to day.

“We worry about what the now is,” said Bilodeau. “When we leave the field, did we get better or worse? And if we got better, we raise the bar for tomorrow. If we got worse, what do we need to do to improve?”

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Coach Doug Bilodeau, above, will attack opponents on the ground with the Wing-T offense, a run-heavy scheme that uses misdirection and play-action to confuse defenses. This year, the Huskies return many quality athletes to run Bilodeau’s Wing-T offense. Senior tight end Tristan Wampole will take on a larger role on offense after spending last season as a tackle. He’ll be joined by Emry Patterson and Hunter Beachy to give North Marion a trio of returners on the offensive line.

The Huskies will be blocking for quarterback Ben Crumley, who moves into the starting role for his senior season. Tyler Saucedo will move from tailback to fullback this year, and Kyle Williamson returns for his senior season as a wide receiver and defensive back a year after earning Second Team All-Conference honors.

“Kyle’s a shifty little guy,” said Bilodeau. “He’s very quick. He’s one of the fastest guys on the team.”

The Husky offense will be predicated on controlling the ball on the ground and using the team’s speed on the offensive line to attack opposing defenses and confuse them with play-action and misdirection.

“We have smaller people and quicker people, and the Wing-T is designed for that with a lot of pulling guards,” said Bilodeau. “We’re not the shotgun. We’re not what you see on TV at all. It’s more of an old-school kind of offense, but it fits our personnel.”

While the second-year coach would like to see his team improve on the win total from 2012 and challenge for a play-in game this year, the team’s final record at the end of the season is secondary to how the Huskies mature as young men, said Bilodeau.

“I don’t want to talk wins and losses, I want to talk improvement, attitude and those positive things, and make the winning a by-product of what we do,” he said.