For the Knappa football team, playing a reduced-game schedule this spring may just help a program in a rare, but definite rebuilding phase.
It showed Thursday night at CMH Field, where Yamhill-Carlton defeated the Loggers 34-0.
Tiger running back Jacob Preston scored three first half touchdowns and Yamhill sophomore quarterback Jacob McGhehey threw for two scores in the third quarter.
When players graduated in the past, Knappa just reloaded and came out and kept winning. But the 2021 spring season features a total rebuild.
Key Knappa losses from the 2019 season include the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year along with the offensive and defensive backs of the year, defensive lineman of the year and coach of the year, as Aaron Barendse stepped down following the 2019 season.
Chris Jackson takes over, and the cupboard isn’t nearly as full as it used to be.
Only three all-league players return — which for Knappa is unheard of.
“We are going to be both young and inexperienced,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of new faces this year stepping into multiple positions. We have two returning seniors that have played key roles in the past.”
That would be Devin Hoover (receiver/safety) and Cameron Miethe (running back/middle linebacker), while junior Trevor Ogier is the third all-league returner.
“We will be relying heavily on their experience and leadership to get us through this season,” Jackson said. “Cameron Miethe will be returning as our running back and middle linebacker while Devin Hoover will be at wide receiver, safety and could end up seeing some outside linebacker.”
Paul Miller (receiver/place kicker) is one of just three seniors on the roster.
Logger juniors include Tanner Jackson, Mark Miller, Jonny Lenhard and the Morrill brothers (Carter and Logan).
“All have some varsity experience, but will be stepping up into some very key roles this year,” Jackson said.
Knappa has four sophomores and eight freshmen who will all see action out of necessity.
“We have been blessed with a great freshmen class this year who will be no strangers to playing time. This year will present many challenges, but I’m confident it will only make us better in the years to come.”
Knappa plays at Gaston March 19.