By Bob Lundeberg
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 South Albany RedHawks of the Class 5A Mid-Willamette Conference.
Kaden Younger photo by Taylor Balkom
Jeff Louber, second season (0-6)
David Younger, first season of second tenure (28-38 in seven seasons from 2013-19)
PAST 3 SEASONS
2021 (spring): 0-6 overall, 0-6 in Mid-Willamette
2019: 2-7 overall, 2-7 in Mid-Willamette
2018: 2-7 overall, 2-7 in Mid-Willamette
OL/DL Austin McCormick
WR/DB Kyler Thompson
WR/DB Zack Turcott
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tyler Seiber, sr., RB/LB
A varsity starter at running back since his freshman season, Seiber has the experience and ability to make the all-conference team. “Tyler is a natural athlete with great vision and explosiveness,” Louber said.
Devin Jones, sr., WR/DB
Jones is a vocal leader who excels on both sides of the ball. “He is a great route runner with great hands, a very competitive personality and good speed to go with it,” Louber said. “We are looking forward to getting some college scouts’ eyes on him.
Jesse Bass, jr., OL/LB
Bass is a returning starter who has the skill set of a tight end but the size of an offensive tackle. “He is an incredibly hard worker with great speed and a big frame,” Louber said. “I feel like he has the capability to play at the next level.”
Maxwell Louber, jr., RB/LB
Son of Jeff Louber, Maxwell Louber is an experienced inside linebacker who is poised for a breakthrough junior season. “He has a tremendous understanding of the defense and how coverages work with fronts and stunts,” Coach Louber said.
Kaden Younger, jr., QB/DB, and Gaje Nicholson, so., QB/DB
Younger and Nicholson are in a camp battle for the starting quarterback job. Younger, the son of David Younger, is the incumbent while Nicholson is a promising sophomore. “They have been pushing each other, and both of them have what it takes to lead the team,” Louber said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
Jeff Louber and David Younger have been reunited at South Albany. Younger, the program’s head coach for seven seasons, resigned after the 2019 season and spent the past year as an assistant at Willamette University. Younger came back in July and is sharing head coaching duties with Louber, a longtime friend and colleague who led the program during the 2020-21 school year.
“Jeff runs the defense and is in charge of defensive quality control, and I will oversee the offense,” Younger said. “We have a great relationship. We don’t always see eye to eye, but when he and I meet, we always walk out of the room on the same page.”
The RedHawks won Mid-Willamette Conference titles in 2015 and 2017 but have struggled the past three seasons, including an 0-6 spring record. Louber believes the team, which graduated just seven seniors, is set up for a bounce-back season.
“There were so many unknowns last year,” Louber said. “Training was limited, our schedule was shortened, our team was low in numbers, we were installing a new offense. This year feels much more normal. We’ve been able to have kids in the weight room again, been able to participate in 7-on-7s, have live team meetings and enjoy each other’s company. I feel like we have really come together as a tight-knit group.”
Louber believes offensive line play will be one of the team’s biggest strengths. Matt Cobb, Ramie Halbrook, Howard Yost and Bass are returning starters.
“Our line has taken on the challenge of being the leaders of our program,” Louber said. “They understand their importance and have used it as motivation to try to outwork the skill position kids in the weight room, on the field and in the film room.”
Along with the above-mentioned players, the coaching staff is excited about returning seniors Jerron Berry (RB/LB), Kellen Hanson (RB/DB) and Draven Wilborn (WR/DB) and junior Jedidiah Kollaer (RB/DB).
The RedHawks might still be a year away from competing for a playoff spot, but the program appears to be trending up with Younger and Louber at the helm.
“I’ve been really impressed with the kids in the weight room and in 7-on-7s,” Younger said. “Kids are competing for positions. There is really no sense of entitlement. I don’t think we have a lot of kids that are thinking they are starters. I think we have a lot of kids that recognize maybe the guy ahead of them or behind them is working really hard, so they have to compete a little harder.”
“After a few seasons with little success in the win/loss columns, we are going to take this season one game at a time. Our team goal is to put together a winning season and be in position to earn a playoff spot.” — Jeff Louber