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 Roosevelt Roughriders of the Class 6A Portland Interscholastic League.
Ryan McCants, first season
2019 AT A GLANCE
Overall record: 5-5
League record: 4-1, second in PIL
Playoffs: Lost 70-29 to West Linn in first round
ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED
OT/DL TJ Price, first team on offense and defense, defensive player of the year
TE/DL Malik Kelly, first team on offense and defense
RB DaMarzhe’ Nelson, first team
Utility Malique Sabb, first team
LB Flen Grisby, second team
DB Roshellio Sanders, second team
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Senior OL/DL Sosiua Taumoeanga
Don't let Taumoeanga's position on the interior lines fool you. He's also a rugby player, and at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, the senior brings a very athletic streak to the position. "He moves very well for a guy his size," McCants said. "When we're doing our agility drills, he's out there competing with some of the skill players. He's very well put together. And he just moves like a skill player in a bigger guy's body." McCants foresees Taumoeanga playing at tackle on offense and tackle or end on defense.
Senior OL/DL Nathan Horsey
Horsey was second-team all-Portland Interscholastic League at offensive tackle as a junior after being a first-team pick as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder brings a high motor. "He loves to work, loves the game of football," McCants said. "He's going to be another anchor on the line for us." McCants said some of the local small colleges are looking at Horsey. "He's a real hard worker, and he's going to do whatever he can to prove that he can play at the level that he'd like," McCants said.
Junior QB Imarion Kelly
McCants lauds Kelly for his tangible skills as well as his intangible qualities. "He's got a heck of an arm," McCants said. "He can run, he can throw. He's one of our best athletes as well." Kelly took over at quarterback in the second half of the 2019 season and has apparently been on an upward trajectory since. "In the few months I've known him, he's grown into a leader," McCants said. "I see him leading more and more each day and making sure the guys are doing the things they're supposed to be doing."
Junior RB/S Lindell Betts
Getting the ball into Betts' hands — wherever he lines up — appears to be a priority for the Roughriders of North Portland. "He's really explosive," McCants said. "When he runs, when he turns it on and he has a step on somebody, he's not going to get caught." A strong student in the classroom, Betts might line up at wide receiver depending on what offensive package Roosevelt runs. "He's really quick," McCants said. "He can make you miss in a phone booth, as they say."