By René Ferrán
SBLive Oregon will break down every 6A, 5A and 4A team in the state leading up to the 2021 fall football season. Here’s our look at the Klamath Union Pelicans of the Class 4A Skyline Conference.
Tom Smith, 12th season (46-53)
PAST 3 SEASONS
2021 (spring): 2-3 overall, 2-1 in Skyline
2019: 1-7 overall, 1-3 in Skyline
2018: 5-4 overall, 3-1 in Skyline (lost in first round)
ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED
OL/DL Alan Adams, second team offense, second team defense
RB/LB Nathan Gettman, honorable mention offense, second team defense
LB Zeke Pena, honorable mention defense
PLAYERS TO WATCH
C/DL Hayden Smith, 6-2, 300, Jr.
A first-team all-Skyline selection at center as a sophomore and the team’s most experienced lineman, Tom Smith’s son will be the anchor of a young position group. “He’s a force in the middle on both sides of the ball,” Coach Smith said.
WR/S Jaymus Dutra, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Dutra was a midseason JV callup as a sophomore and has started in the secondary since. He’ll be a key two-way contributor for the Pelicans this season after earning second-team all-conference honors on both sides of the ball in the spring.
RB/LB Lincon Peterson, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Peterson moved up from the JV team during the spring and had an immediate impact, earning all-Skyline honorable mention at linebacker.
WR/CB Pablo Macias, 5-8, 170, Sr.
Macias’ work during the long COVID offseason propelled him into a starting spot at receiver during the spring. He also took over punting duties and was an all-Skyline second-team selection there.
QB/DB Silas Dutra, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Dutra last season won a battle with Kaden Coulter (now graduated) for the starting quarterback job and ended up receiving all-conference honorable mention. He likely will keep the job this fall, as his main competition is an untested sophomore.
The Pelicans entered the spring season with high hopes, but in the end, it went about as expected. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and lost by large margins in the three games they were considered underdogs.
A key player from that team, junior lineman Antonio Landin — a first-team all-conference selection on both sides of the ball — is out this season with an injury, making what was going to be a young and inexperienced group up front even more so. Tom Smith’s son Hayden will have to provide leadership despite being a junior.
The Dutra twins have an obvious connection in the passing game, but the Pelicans will need to find balance in the running game to have success. Peterson appears to have the best shot at earning the bulk of the carries.
The defense must find a way to battle with the high-powered offenses it’ll face from the three top Skyline contenders. The Pelicans didn’t play Henley in the spring, but in their two games against Mazama and Hidden Valley, they gave up a combined 107 points.
If the youngsters get up to speed quickly during a manageable nonconference slate, they’ll still have to find a way to knock off one of the other big three in the conference to find their way back to the 4A state playoffs.
“This year’s team will be very young. We’re projecting five or six sophomores will be starting on each side of the ball. This year’s team goal is to get better every game and every week. The kids are pretty committed, and it’s a fun group to coach.” — Tom Smith