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It's not too hot for football to start

With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees it seems more than a little weird to say the smell of fall sports is in the air. But they’re certainly coming at us pretty fast.

I watched my first football game of the season last Saturday and was glad I did. I ignored the pro Hall of Fame game last week—actually I turned on the game and the score was already lopsided so I turned off the game. I wasn’t even interested enough to go back and check.

John BrewingtonWhat did interest me, however, was the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday. Scappoose Coach Sean McNabb was coaching the game, and Scappoose grad Paul Revis was playing in the game.

It was a fun contest to watch. McNabb put in his no-huddle offense and the players seemed to adapt to it well.

Every time I turned around it seemed like I was seeing Revis at least on the edge of a play. He never did score and three of his best plays got called back for holding. It almost seemed like the refs were out to get him or just handicap the game to make it more interesting. Notice I said almost. I don’t think that was the case, but if it had been a regular season game, I’d think the West team might have been getting homered.

The West actually dominated much of the game, even though they twice trailed. They put it away fairly easily on the legs of Forrest Garcia (Run, Forrest, run?) Quarterback Grant Shroeder of little Santiam Christian was impressive, as was Devin Ceciliani of Madras. Shaine Warren of Clatskanie also made some good defensive backfield plays.

It was a joy to watch. McNabb called me this week from vacation and it was nice to learn the Revis had emerged as the team leader. That was no surprise. He helped the team bond and that, too, was no surprise.

I’ll miss seeing him on the playing fields or in the gym in Scappoose. He left a tough legacy to duplicate at Scappoose High.

Now the time is near for the next crop of players to take the stage.

Some, of course, are veterans and have a few years under their belts, but it’s their turn to show leadership and help their teams bond and develop.

St. Helens has a new coach and a new outlook this season. They’ll be more pass oriented. The changes at St. Helens have also brought out one of their biggest turnouts in years. The Lions play in a tough conference, but they could be a much different team. And it’s the last year they’ll face Sherwood (the Bowmen are moving up to 6A).

It could be an exciting season for St. Helens. I like Jared Phillips organization skills and he seems to have a handle on making some changes.

In Scappoose, it would be easy to say it’s same-ole’, same-ole’ but with McNabb there’s often nothing similar. If anything he adapts very well to the talent he has. He has a good group back and a lot of talent. Some players will be sorely missed, but others should fill in nicely. You don’t get a Paul Revis or a Derek Anderson every year, but there are certainly others than can fill the bill. Remember, Scappoose won the last two of three-straight championships without Anderson. Others that didn’t go on to play at Division 1 schools or the pros got the job done.

McNabb runs a no-huddle, spread offense much like Oregon. When it’s clicking it’s hard to stop. It clicked enough last year to get the Indians’ their first league title in several years, and the No. 1 ranking in the state. The Indians only lost their opener to Roosevelt and then in the playoffs to eventual champion Baker.

Can Scappoose repeat? Why not? They’ve done it before.

It should be exciting to see what both Phillips and McNabb can do with their teams this season.

With the first games on Aug. 30 (both away) both coaches have just three weeks to whip their teams into well-oiled playing machines. It’s always a chore, but with lots of veterans on each squad it may not be that hard.