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TC Manumaleuna era about to kick off for North Salem football

Here’s our look at the North Salem Vikings of the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference West Division.
North-Salem-High-School

By Mike Wilson

Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oregon will break down every 6A, 5A and 4A football team in the state in anticipation of a six-week season in March and April. Even if the season is postponed or canceled, we will continue to highlight more than a hundred teams and more than a thousand players in Oregon. Here’s our look at the North Salem Vikings of the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference West Division.

NORTH SALEM TEAM PAGE

HEAD COACH 

Jeff Flood, 13th season (24-91)

2019 AT A GLANCE 

Overall record: 2-7

League record: 2-7, tied for seventh in Mid-Willamette

Playoffs: Did not qualify

ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED 

DB/RB Jason Carter-Varay, second team on defense and honorable mention on offense

QB Justin Montero, honorable mention

OL Martin Calderon, honorable mention

DL Nelson Millan, honorable mention

LB Adan Gonzalez, honorable mention

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Senior OL/DL Kobe Hubbard

Hubbard was second-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference at offensive line as a junior and will be a third-year starter. At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, he's an athlete — he plays on the basketball team — not just a large body. "Athleticism is something that we don't have to worry about with him," Flood said. "He moves really well. He's got really good feet. Combine that with his size and strength, that's a pretty good combination for us." Hubbard is No. 30 in 247Sports' Oregon class of 2021 rankings.

Senior OL/DL Octavio Maldonado

Maldonado started at guard as a junior and is another part of an offensive line that Flood calls among the team's strengths. The 5-7 Maldonado is like a "block of granite," Flood said. "I don't know what he weighs, but I wouldn't want him running at me."

Junior C/DL Isaiah Razo

Another returning starter on the offensive line, Razo played tackle as a sophomore but is being moved to center. The 6-foot, 250-pound junior also plays basketball and moves well on the football field. "I think he's got a really, really bright future," Flood said, adding that Razo is excellent on defense.

Senior TE/DE Isaiah Rico

Flood said Rico was really good last season, and "I think he would be great this year (assuming there's a season)." Lanky but physical and armed with a good catch radius, Rico earned all-Mid-Willamette honorable mention at tight end and defensive line last season. "He's excellent on the defensive side," Flood said. "He's really, really improved at tight end. He was physical last year. Just the nuances of running routes and getting open wasn't something he was used to. He's accustomed to that now. Defensively, every team had to scheme for him." Flood projects a bright future for Rico.

Senior RB/LB Anthony Valdez

Physical toughness and a hardnosed mentality are necessities to play fullback, and Flood said Valdez has them. "He doesn't mind sticking his nose in places," he said. "He fits the mentality of that position, of a hard, physical runner." Flood said Valdez could be a great featured runner if necessary. On defense, Valdez could be the team's focal point at linebacker.

Senior WR/DB Clayton Hinton-Welty

After playing quarterback when he started football, Hinton-Welty has knowledge of the offense whatever position he is at — which is just about everywhere for the Vikings. This season, he will probably play wide receiver. "He will be somebody we can move around to different positions," Flood said. On defense, he's a third-year starter and was the "center field captain" of that unit as a junior.

Sophomore WR/DB Erick Gonzalez

Gonzalez started the final five games of 2019 at defensive back as a freshman and, Flood said, is an incredible athlete. He has added about 20 pounds to the 120 he played at last season, and his skills on both sides of the ball have the coach excited. "It was the first time since I've been here at North that we started a freshman," said Flood, now in his 13th season. Gonzalez received some action last season at wide receiver. "He's probably got the best hands we've had here since Dylan Young (who later was an NAIA all-American at Southern Oregon University) in 2009," Flood said. "Erick is a really, really special athlete. So, we have to get him the ball."

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Sophomore RB