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Friday jamboree lets Vikings show what they've got

New coach. New offense. New optimism.

This year’s Forest Grove Vikings will take the field against Century and Liberty high schools in a jamboree Friday night at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

New FGHS coach Perry Herbst will be making major changes from last year’s spread offense.

“I will keep Century and Liberty guessing as to what offensive schemes we replace it with,”

said Herbst, who served for six years as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.

The jamboree format will begin at 7:15 p.m. with a short-version

game against Century, followed by a condensed 8:15 p.m. contest against the Falcons of Liberty.

The Vikings return only two starters from last year’s team that finished with a 4-5 overall record. Austin Brown is the top returning player and is an honors candidate on both sides of the offensive line. In addition to Brown, Senior Diego Ruiz-Diaz is another returning two-way lineman standout.

Herbst is particularly hopeful about the improvement of the linemen who have faithfully attended weight room workouts all summer.

“We have lots of new players and lots of them will get playing time,” Herbst said.

He also thinks new starting quarterback, Luke Janac, last year’s starting JV quarterback, is ready for prime time.

“Luke’s just 5-9 and maybe 150 pounds sopping wet, but he’s tough-minded, makes

good decisions, is a good leader, and can run the ball,” said Herbst.

About 80 players turned out for fall ball, and with the Vikings fielding a freshman, junior varsity and varsity team, lots of athletes will get playingtime at the freshman and junior varsity level. The varsity squad, however, will have most players — including Janac and Brown — playing both offense and defense.

The offensive backfield will feature halfback Trevor Rhorer and fullback Zack Ennis. Key wide receivers will be Alex Hitchcock and Cole Hammond.

The core offensive and defensive linemen will include Bryan Blix, Jake Bailey, Harrison Dotson, Colin Hall, Jed Falcon and Kurtis Van Dyke. The Viking defensive line may try a variation of the old Dallas Cowboy “flex defense,” Herbst said.

Linebackers and defensive backs will include Drake Littlefield, Spencer Jones and Braden McLoughlin, with more names expected to factor in all areas of the team.

Herbst said he knew little about Century’s squad, but Liberty was in the state playoffs last year and has a number of players back, he said.

“I’m telling our players to focus on the journey and not the destination,” explained Herbst, who doubles as a Social Studies teacher at FGHS.

The Viks’ regular season opener will be on the road againstWest Albany Friday, Sept. 2.