Eugene, Ore. -- The Fighting Irish's 2018 season could not have gone any better, yet they were not able to bring home a state title to Sheldon. The team loss in the 6A championship game to Lake Oswego. But despite the success the team had last year, the Irish said they're not hanging their hat on the season they had.
"We talk about it a little bit, drawing upon some of the lessons as they would apply to the upcoming season but at this point this is our season," said head coach, Josh Line. This is 2019, nothing that was accomplished last year is going to make a bit of difference now."
The team lost a number of stars from a year ago, watching the likes of Patrick Herbert (University of Oregon tight end), Zach Folsom (Portland State receiver), and Michael Johnson Jr. (Penn State quarterback) graduate and leave the program to D-1 universities. This year the head coach's son, Griffin Line will step into the starting spot at quarterback. But with experience under his belt from last year, the team isn't worried about how he'll perform under the Friday night lights.
"Griffin last year played in the first game, had a week's notice. Played as good as any quarterback could have done," said receiver Gunner Robinson. "We have all the confidence in the world in him."
Line pointed to the chemistry on the team as a reason for his confidence going into this season as the starting quarterback and having control of the offense.
He said, "I think it helps my confidence overall, but you know just being with my teammates and them helping me, my offensive line; best offensive line in the state of Oregon. I really feel, feel good about this year."
Even without the stars from a year ago, Sheldon is still expected to have an explosive offense. The Irish plucked three star recruit (committed to the University of Oregon), Seth Figgins as a transfer to plug into the whole the final Herbert brother left at tight end. However, when speaking with coach Line he said he still is working on getting his footing with the team.
"No matter how athletic or talented you are, when you come to a new school and try to learn a new system it's a challenge," he said. "I mean it's just like he's a freshman right now. So I know the kids have embraced him and I've been really pleased with that."
His new quarterback is excited to utilize Figgins' 6'6 frame against the competition this year.
"I'm super excited about Seth," said Griffin Line. "Obviously he has a big frame, but he's a good kid and he works really hard. He fits in well with our program, so I'm excited about him."
Sheldon's route back to the championship game will be just as hard, if not harder with a number of tough road games on the schedule, including West Linn and Jesuit.
"It's a challenge but that's what, that's why we work so hard. We want those challenges," said the head coach. "It's not something that we would ever you know look at negatively."
Players also embraced the challenge. Offensive lineman, Taylor Johnson said, "I love it. It's good to get those test in the beginning of the season, so by the time you get to playoffs you're battle tested and ready to go."
Right out of the gate, the Irish will have one of those test. They travel north to Washington in week one, to take on Graham Kapowsin.