Kingsmen insist they'll be much improved on defense
They've got a new quarterback and running backs, but they also expect to generate some offense
With an increased emphasis on defense, a new head coach and a new offense, the Rex Putnam Kingsmen expect to be more competitive in the Northwest Oregon Conference this fall.
A year ago they went 3-4 in the then eight-team conference (3-7 overall). They averaged scoring 24 points a game, but gave up an average of 40.5 points a game.
Well be much better defensively, said first-year head coach Tim Jacobs. John Telesmanich is our defensive coordinator and hes got a tremendous amount of experience. Weve been working a lot on the fundamentals....
Weve got a new coach, a new mindset and a new attitude towards the importance of defense, said Putnam senior Eamon Gallagher. Weve put a big emphasis on defense, which we havent done before. Over the last few years, weve spent most of the time working on our offense, figuring if we scored enough points, defense wouldnt matter. With our added emphasis on defense, I think its going to make a big difference. People arent going to be scoring 40 points on us every game.
We had the athletes to do something special last year, said senior Jeffrey DAuvergne. But we didnt have the coaching or the discipline. I feel like we can do some great things with the new coaching staff we have.
Weve got a lot of kids back from last year, said senior Tristan Smith. With our experience, talent and the new coaching staff, I believe we can be very competitive in our conference this year get to the playoffs....
The Kingsmen this year have switched from the spread offense of former head coach Brad Lewman, to the wing-T of new head coach Tim Jacobs.
Theyve got a new quarterback in 6-3, 180-pound junior Jake Hamilton, who replaces Josey Swain (transfer to Molalla) and Cedric Brooks (transfer to Clackamas).
Hes a smart kid, Gallagher said of Hamilton. Hes moved over from wide receiver to quarterback and hes picked up our offense really well. Hes a good athlete. He played quarterback in eighth grade. Hes a dual threat. He can throw the ball and run.
The Kingsmen have lost last years top running back, Richie Mock (transfer to Oregon City).
But Jacobs says hes got a stable of running backs he believes can get the job done, including seniors Brandon Culp (6-1, 190), Gallagher (5-8, 155) and Samuel Jackson-Palmer (5-10, 170); junior Jesse Countryman (5-10, 185); and sophomores Beau Winters and Rocky Robinson.
As to team strengths, he lists: Team speed, the way his players move to the ball when they are playing defense, depth in the offensive and defensive lines, and work ethic.
Four lineman return with starting experience seniors Juan Hernandez (6-0, 225) and DAuvergne (6-0, 240), and juniors Zack Mason (6-0, 280) and Aaron Dolfay (6-0, 230).
Jacobs says hes got several players with the potential to play small college football and many of them will see action of both sides of the football. Among them are seniors Gallagher (wingback/defensive back/wide receiver), DAuvergne (defensive end/tackle), Smith (tight end/linebacker) and Culp (wide receiver/linebacker); and juniors Kane Stephens (6-4, 155 wide receiver/defensive back), Joe Jesse (6-5, 175 wide receiver/defensive back) and Mason (offensive and defensive line).
Jacobs said of Gallagher, Hes a 4.0-plus student and hes an extremely smart football player. You tell him something once and hes got it.
As to the Kingsmens potential, Jacobs said, Were going to just take it a game at a time. The conference has gained two tough teams in Hillsboro and La Salle, and it was already a tough conference. Were going to have to come prepared to play some good football every Friday night.
The Kingsmen host Sandy in this Fridays NWOC opener. The Pioneers return a host of players from last years team that went 4-3 in conference and 6-4 overall, including senior quarterback Spencer Barnett and senior running backs C.J. McKinnis and Andrew Funk. The Pioneers prevailed 33-14 in last years game with the Kingsmen, played at Sandy.
The Kingsmen play cross-town rival Milwaukie at Milwaukie a week from Friday.