Sutherlin, Ore. -- While some teams lost players due to the pandemic shortened season, Sutherlin football turned it into a positive.
"We got a couple kids to play because it was a short commitment last year," explains head coach Josh Gary. "So we got a couple kids out that way and hopefully they hold on. This is more of a it's football season. Come out, participate and it's just been easier. It's just been normal.
Which helps considering what kind f production they lost.
"We lost three guys up front. A nd we lost a really good skill running back, Josh Davis, who played in the East-West Shrine Game so replacing kind of your premier back yet we have some talent there. That's gonna be, always offensive line, that's always gonna be the question mark. So if we can build those guys and get them working together as a unit we can be solid."
And the trial by fire with the younger plays continued into this fall.
"It's been rough rough trying to bring out the new kids," says senior linebacker Thomas Mentes. "New quartberack since we have a new spot to fill in quarterback. Trying to bring him in and get him used to the big time. Varsity and not JV. Try to get him to work with the receivers. It's been hard."
"The younger kids, they're so untested," says Gary. "They didn't get to play JV football. We didn't get a JV because our numbers were down and we had so many kids online so we won't know who we are until Friday."
But every senior among this small class feels grateful for the year ahead.
"It was rough," Mentes says. "I felt bad for all the seniors last year who didn't get to have a full season since we got quarantined a lot. I'm just grateful to be able to play a full season."