By René Ferrán, Mike Wilson, Bob Lundeberg and Jarrid Denney
The Oregon high school football season kicks off this week, and SBLive has rolled out a comprehensive statewide preview.
Here, we examine each 5A team’s most irreplaceable player. Who is one player that if he were to miss a game, his team’s chances would take a massive hit? We answer below.
Logan Person (Dallas) photo by Taylor Balkom
Hood River Valley: WR/KR Trenton Hughes, Sr.
Hughes played quarterback last season and received all-NWOC East honorable mention. The hope this season is that he moves back to wide receiver, a position that is seen as a better fit for him, especially considering he was voted first-team all-NWOC East as a returner.
La Salle Prep: WR/TE/LB Grant Ellison, So.
As a freshman, Ellison was first-team all-NWOC East at tight end and received honorable mention at linebacker. That’s part of what prompted first-year coach Dustin Janz to say Ellison has “crazy upward potential.” Ellison tied for the team lead in sacks and regularly featured in the Falcons’ passing game in the spring.
Parkrose: WR/S Michael Scott, Sr.
Scott is the Broncos’ most accomplished skill-position returner. He earned all-NWOC East honorable mention at wide receiver and safety last season. As a junior, he was part of a 1-2 punch at receiver with then-senior Keviantae Hill, but this season Scott is expected to be the No. 1 receiving threat.
Pendleton: RB/LB Kyle Liscom, Sr.
Liscom was NWOC East defensive player of the year as a junior — his second consecutive season ranking among Class 5A leaders in tackles — and was a first-team SBLive Oregon all-state selection. He’s considering playing at the Coast Guard Academy. Liscom played slot receiver in the spring but is targeted to play more at tailback this season.
Putnam: TE/LB Jackson Brown, Sr.
After playing quarterback in the spring, Brown will move back to tight end as a big target down the seam at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He was Putnam’s leading tackler last season and was voted second-team all-NWOC East at linebacker, where he is a third-year starter.
Redmond: QB Hayden Parrish, Sr.
Parrish was a starting quarterback his freshman season, didn’t play there as a sophomore because of injury, then moved back in the spring to pass for 890 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions (three of them in the Panthers’ only loss, to Hood River Valley). He was voted second-team all-NWOC East at quarterback.
Ridgeview: WR/DB/P Jeremiah Schwartz, Jr.
Schwartz was the Ravens’ most productive receiver last season, averaging more than 37 yards and scoring three touchdowns on his six receptions. He stands out for his athleticism and speed — shown by his victory in the 400 meters at the Class 5A track championships in the spring.
The Dalles: WR/DB Jaxon Pullen, Sr.
As a junior, Pullen led The Dalles with 434 rushing yards (10.1 yards per carry) and five scores on the ground, earning all-NWOC East honorable mention. He was the team’s second-leading receiver and was second-team all-NWOC East as a returner, and this fall he might also take snaps at quarterback.
Canby: TE/OL/DL Jacob Strand, Sr.
Strand is 6-5 and 270 pounds, will be a three-year starter on offense and has orally committed to Oregon State. Cougars coach Jimmy Joyce called Strand an “elite-level talent” who will make a big impact on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Forest Grove: TE/DE Jake Steltenpohl, Sr.
Steltenpohl is a returning starter on offense who is ticketed to play the Y receiver in the Vikings’ new spread, no-huddle offense. Steltenpohl also ranked second on the team in tackles for loss in the spring season.
Hillsboro: WR/S Michael Ellis, Sr.
Ellis was Hillsboro’s leading tackler by a considerable margin through two games of the spring season before suffering a season-ending injury. Trying to find the best place for him, the Spartans moved Ellis all over the field on defense in the spring before settling on safety.
McKay: WR/DB Chansse Lee, Sr.
Lee, who didn’t play organized football until his sophomore season, will be a third-year starter, having led the team in receiving as a sophomore and a junior. Last season, he had 22 receptions for 386 yards.
North Salem: QB TC Manumaleuna II, So.
Manumaleuna entered high school as a heralded prospect, as he had received a scholarship offer from Oregon before matriculating at North Salem. He split time at quarterback last season and compiled modest statistics, but he led two double-digit comeback wins for the Vikings. A big leap is expected during his sophomore season.
Scappoose: DB/RB Trey Dieringer, Jr.
Starting at strong safety as a sophomore in the spring, Dieringer made a huge impact. He led the team in total tackles (48) and forced fumbles, tied for the lead in sacks and was second on the team in tackles for loss. Dieringer should also receive action at running back and H-back this season.
St. Helens: QB Tyler Tolles, Jr.
Tolles emerged as the starting quarterback in the spring season, and in his second varsity season, he’s expected to be able to process things more quickly as the game seems to slow down. His mechanics and accuracy have improved.
Wilsonville: WR/S Jack Johnson, Sr.
Playing at weakside outside linebacker last season, Johnson was among the team leaders in tackles (he is Wilsonville’s top returning tackler this season). His two forced fumbles were second-most on the team. This fall, Johnson will play the pivotal strong safety position in the Wildcats’ 3-4-4 defense.