BUTTE FALLS — Though it is just one football program combining two schools, Butte Falls/Crater Lake Charter Academy may have opponents wondering if they’re facing two different teams this fall.
“We have enough offensive formations and plays to be able to run different looks at all times,” said Loggers coach Jody Crowe. “We have five different formations that give me the ability to make adjustments. It’s simple for the kids. One thing we do that most teams don’t is every player learns two offensive positions and two defensive positions. In eight-man football, you have to be versatile and put guys in where you need them.”
Crowe and the Loggers hope to keep the opposition guessing while feeding off a 4-2 season last year.
After missing 2016 because of a lack of players, Butte Falls and the academy partnered for an independent-status season last fall and claimed victories over Bonanza, North Lake, Chiloquin and Prospect.
The Loggers are now members of the remodeled 1A District 2, a split conference of 12 schools.
Butte Falls/Crater Lake is in the West Division with Days Creek, Myrtle Point, Camas Valley, Glendale and Riddle.
The East Division has Prospect (the Loggers’ season-opening, nonleague opponent), Chiloquin, Bonanza, Triad, Hosanna Christian and North Lake.
Fifteen 1A teams automatically qualify for the OSAA’s 16-team bracket, with a league playoff determining the District 2 berths.
“I think we are going to be really competitive with every team we face,” Crowe said. “There are some established programs within the league. Our kids work hard. During our practices we don’t stop except for water. When we start, we go for a full 2 1/2 hours every day. ... Last year nobody really expected us to go 4-2. I think there’s been a certain amount of buy-in that people have done.”
Butte Falls/Crater Lake’s roster of 22 comprises seven freshmen, six seniors, five sophomores and four juniors. Five players return with starting experience.
“The team is looking really good,” Crowe said. “We have a couple of seniors leading us and a couple younger guys.”
Running back/linebacker Tanner Thomson (6-0, 185, senior), wide receiver/cornerback Kaleb Tiry (5-7, 135, senior), running back/cornerback Kai Hansen (5-7, 155, sophomore), lineman/defensive end Austin Harvey (6-0, 195, senior) and quarterback/defensive end Dylan Bridges (6-0, 195, senior) all have starting repetitions under their belts.
Bridges, whom Crowe calls “Sunshine,” served as backup signal caller but grew within the coach’s system before suffering an injury last fall. Freshman Colt Carlton is now the senior’s backup.
“This year he’s really stepped up as a senior and is doing really well,” Crowe said of Bridges.
Thomson (primarily a tailback), junior Warren Whitlock, sophomore Kai Hansen, Tiry and Levi Underhill (a 6-4, 185, sophomore) are all big offensive threats as backs and receivers, Crowe said.
Crowe, who expects to use 3-2, 4-1 and 2-4 defensive arrangements, likes the size of his players in the trenches.
He’s got five athletes who tip the scales over 200 pounds: running back/linebacker Warren Whitlock (5-10, 205, junior), offensive lineman/defensive tackle Seth Lester (6-4, 250, sophomore), offensive lineman/defensive end Wyatt Carlton (6-2, 205, sophomore), lineman Hunter Harris (5-9, 225, senior) and lineman Zack Stoutenburgh (6-4, 255, senior).
The Loggers’ home opener is Sept. 14 versus North Lake.
“We’re just excited to play some football,” Crowe said.
Jody Crowe (second year, 4-2).
Butte Falls/Crater Lake returns to league action after not having a team in 2016 and playing an independent schedule last season.
ASSISTANTS: Mike Lester, Wayne Underhill.
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 4-2.
Butte Falls/Crater LakeOpponents
62North Lake 26
6Hosanna Christian 68
OFFENSE (5): Running back Tanner Thomson (6-0, 185, sr.), wide receiver Kaleb Tiry (5-9, 164, sr.), running back Kai Hansen (5-7, 155, so.), lineman Austin Harvey (6-0, 195, sr.), quarterback Dylan Bridges (6-0, 195, sr.).
DEFENSE (5): Linebacker Tanner Thomson, cornerback Kaleb Tiry, cornerback Kai Hansen, end Austin Harvey, end Dylan Bridges.
Quarterback/cornerback Colt Carlton (6-0, 150, fr.), wide receiver/defensive back Grant Underhill (6-0, 155, fr.), receiver/defensive back Alfred Fuentes III (5-7, 175, so.), running back/defensive back Tristan Mullen (5-7, 150, fr.), receiver/cornerback Tristan McGuire (5-5, 145, fr.), receiver/defensive back Levi Underhill (6-4, 185, so.), running back/cornerback Coy Staten (6-0, 165, sr.), receiver/defensive back James Castro (6-1, 170, jr.), running back/linebacker Warren Whitlock (5-10, 205, jr.), running back/linebacker Zack Genereux (6-2, 185, jr.), offensive lineman/defensive tackle Seth Lester (6-4, 250, so.), offensive lineman/defensive end Wyatt Carlton (6-2, 205, so.), lineman Hunter Harris (5-9, 225, sr.), lineman Brennan Pulliam (5-7, 185, fr.), lineman Zack Stoutenburgh (6-4, 255, sr.).
Aug. 31at Prospect, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7at Weed, 6 p.m.
Sept. 14NORTH LAKE, 2 p.m.
Sept. 21at Days Creek, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28at Myrtle Point, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6CAMAS VALLEY, 2 p.m.
Oct. 13GLENDALE, 2 p.m.
Oct. 19at Riddle, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26League Playoffs, TBA
Reach freelance writer Dan Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org