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Oregon Class 6A football 2022 season preview: New-look Three Rivers League could be anyone’s to win

OregonLive.com logo OregonLive.com 8/17/2022 Nik Streng, oregonlive.com
The No. 4 West Linn Lions take on the No. 1 Lake Oswego Lakers in an Oregon high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Lake Oswego High School. West Linn won 31-14. © Howard Lao for/oregonlive.com/TNS The No. 4 West Linn Lions take on the No. 1 Lake Oswego Lakers in an Oregon high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Lake Oswego High School. West Linn won 31-14.

The Three Rivers League showed that it may be the top district in Class 6A in the 2021-22 season. Of the eight teams that made it to the state quarterfinals in 2021, four were from the Three Rivers League (No. 1 Lake Oswego, No. 2 West Linn, No. 3 Tualatin and No. 10 Lakeridge). West Linn and Tualatin made it to the semifinals and the Timberwolves made it all the way to the title game.

But a lot can happen in nine months.

Tualatin and West Linn find themselves with new head coaches in 2022, with one of the top quarterbacks from the Metro League joining the district.

It’s hard to predict who will be the top team coming out of the Three Rivers League in 2022. If past seasons are any indicator, the league race will just be the beginning as multiple teams could make deep playoff runs.

Here’s a look into the Three Rivers League football teams, listed in alphabetical order:

LAKE OSWEGO LAKERS

Coach: Steve Coury

2021-22 record: 10-2

Players to watch: The Lakers are returning RB/OLB Calvin Macy, WR/S Owen West, WR/DB Ethan Park, FS Henry Smith and have Grant Onaitis moving from guard to center. Brodae Sutherland is back at OL/DL after suffering an injury last season. New to the team this season is transfer TE/S Oskar Sanchez. The Lakers also have newcomers LB/OG Tobia Tagliabue, LB/OG Hunter Kavanaugh, DE Oliver Macy, DE Luciano Lopez and DB/WR Stevie Moody.

Outlook: After losing a big senior crew from last season, Coury said the Lakers lack experience early in the season. But Lake Oswego is fast this year. Coury said the Lakers have strong mix of senior leadership and talented underclassmen that will get stronger as the season goes on. “It needs to happen in a hurry,” he said.

LAKERIDGE PACERS

Coach: Spencer Phillips

2021-22 record: 8-4

Players to watch: Ryan Oliver, QB/P, 6-3, 200, SR; Chris Azari, C, 5-11, 245, JR; Joey Olsen, WR, 6-5, 220, JR; Camden Ferguson, OL, 6-2, 305, SR; Ethan Biondine, RB/DL, 6-0, 220, JR; Tashi Crofut, LB/TE, 6-0, 210, JR; Lucas Burkeen, WR/CB, 5-10, 175; Jayce Swygard, TE/SS, 6-3, 200; Keaton Emmett, K/WR/DB, 6-0, 165; Tristan Davis, DE/TE, 6-7, 250; Baylor Corbin, WR/DB, 6-1, 175; Ansu Sanoe, ATH, 6-2, 215; Yahkyll Noil, LB/RB, 6-2, 200; Brigham Davis, FR/WR, 5-10, 165; AJ Klen, OL/DL, 6-4, 250; Tim Price, OL/DL, 6-3, 245; Joey Massari, OL/DL, 6-4, 240; Riley Yaker, LB/SS/TE, 6-3, 205; Donald “Chili” Stevens (RB, 6-0, 220) transferred from Grant.

Outlook: The Pacers have a veteran line, with a three-year starter at quarterback. Phillips also has a strong crew at running back and the top junior receiver in the state in Olsen. Arizona commit Davis is one of the top defensive players in the state as well, transferring from Wilsonville.

OREGON CITY PIONEERS

Coach: Shane Hedrick

2021-22 record: 2-8

Players to watch: Ryder Swanson, DL, JR; Logan Fry, S, SR; Jake Hood, OL, SR; Jacob Nimo, OL, SR: Matt Bozarth, DL, SR; Luke Kelly, ILB, SR; Caden Kearney, ILB, SR; Jake Lopez, S, JR.

Outlook: The Pioneers struggled with consistency in 2021. This fall, Oregon City will be bringing in a new quarterback as second team all-league selection Camdyn Stiegeler is now at the University of Washington. But a veteran defense and a strong line should be the anchor for this squad.

TIGARD TIGERS

Coach: John Kemper

2021-22 record: 3-7

Players to watch: Top returners include Vaughn Croxton, TE/LB, 6-1, 230; Konner Grant, RB/DB, 5-11, 190; Reese Hare, OL/DL 6-5, 230; Matt Studer, OL, 6-1, 290; Austin Goetz, TE/LB, 6-2, 215; Henry Masters, TE/LB, 6-2, 215; Luke Davis, RB, 5-11, 170; Brady Jordan, QB/DB, 6-2, 180 and Nate Duenas, WR/CB, 6-1, 170. Newcomers include Jake Feist, 5-11, 180; John Stone, 6-5, 285; Brian Smith, 6-4, 215; Ethan Cate, 5-10, 180 and Boone Coffman, 5-11, 200.

Outlook: Only a couple of weeks into official fall practices, Kemper said the Tigers are off to a good start. “We are taking it one day at a time,” he said. “Be better than we were yesterday.”

TUALATIN TIMBERWOLVES

Coach: Dom Ferraro

2021-22 record: 12-1

Players to watch: Jack Wagner, QB/S, SR; Kevin Interian, RB/LB, SR; Richie Anderson, TE/DL, SR; AJ Noland, DB, JR; Drew Corcoran, OL/DL, SR; Will Wilson, LB, SR.

Outlook: The Timberwolves saw a huge senior class of 20 players graduate in the spring, including nine first team all-league seniors and Class 6A Offensive Player of the Year Malik Ross. Tualatin is returning quarterback Jack Wagner, who will be leading Ferraro’s “Ricky Bobby Offense” in his first year as head coach of the Timberwolves.

WEST LINN LIONS

Coach: Jon Eagle

2021-22 record: 11-2

Players to watch: Top returners include Mark Hamper, WR/LB, 6-3, 200, SR; Earl Ingle, LB/RB, 6-2, 205, SR; Ben Winjum, LB/RB, 6-0, 200, SR; Koffi Kuoame, RB/CB, 5-10, 5-10, SR; Wiley Donnerberg, WR/CB, 6-4, 200, JR; Gus Donnerberg, LB/TE, 6-4, 205, JR; Jake Holmes, TE/DL, 6-3, 240, SR and Hudson Staats, WR/S, 5-11, 175, SR. Emerging talent on the team are Gabe Howard, WR/CB, 6-2, 175, SR; Baron Naone, WR/DL, 6-4, 210, SO; Gage Hurych, K/P/CB/WR, 6-1, 170, JR; Jake Normoyle, OL, 6-2, 250, SO; Hunter Haines, WR/S, 6-1, 175, JR; Noah Harcek, LB, 6-1, 200, SR; Nick Sakys, QB, 6-2, 190, JR; Hudson Hardy, LB/RB, 6-3, 200, SO; Evan Davis, LB, 5-10, 200, SR; Hudson Harding, OL, 6-0, 260, JR; Drew Baltz, WR/CB, 6-3, 175, SO; Wyatt Smiley, WR/CB, 6-3, 175, SO and Ridge Huot, OL, 6-3, 260, JR. Newcomers include Sam Leavitt, QB, 6-1, 200, SR; Stephen del Giudice, OL, 6-4, 255, JR and Jay West, RB/DL, 6-2, 245, JR.

Outlook: In his first season with the Lions, Eagle has a strong crew of returners from a 2021 state semifinal team. The addition of Leavitt at quarterback gives the Lions another dangerous weapon to go with a veteran cast on offense. Hamper was a first team all-league player on both offense and defense last season. Ingle was a co-Defensive Player of the Year of the Three Rivers League in 2021.

— Nik Streng, nstreng@oregonian.com, @NikStreng

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