The Sherman County High Huskies football team has one its largest turnout of players as second-year coach Kyle Blagg welcomed a group of 24 athletes to the first practice on Aug. 16 at Sherman High in Moro. With more players, Sherman returns to the OSAA Class 1A eight-man football level for the first time since 2018. The Huskies competed the last two years in the Special District 4 six-man league.
“Six-man was a lot of fun, and it was a good experience for our program, but it’s nice to be back where we really need to be in the eight-man Big Sky League,” said Blagg. “We’ve improved our numbers situation, and this is the most kids we’ve had in 10 years, so that’s good. We have a really young team though with 13 freshmen and just one senior, Braden Carnine. We have a pretty intense group of kids who are excited, ready to learn and they’re chomping at the bit to start the season.”
The Huskies, who are co-opting with Condon High, kick off their schedule with a jamboree Friday at Wallowa, followed by their regular season opener at 1 p.m. Sept. 4 at home versus the Crane Mustangs.
“Braden and Kole Martin have looked really good in practice and they’re definitely the standout players on our team,” said Blagg. “Kole has stepped up and he fits well into the leadership role that he should be doing as a junior. I expect to see other kids step up, as well, with strong efforts on the field to help our team improve as the season goes on.”
Carnine is a running back/linebacker who will provide leadership on offense and defense, and he’ll be utilized in other positions, too. Martin is a quarterback/defensive back who will also help lead the Huskies both offensively and defensively.
“All the kids that played in the spring have shown up looking good physically and are mentally ready too,” said Blagg. “For most of our kids, this is the first time they’ve played eight-man football. They’re learning new skillsets, new techniques, new plays, and new defensive schemes. They seem to be soaking everything up and I’m just excited to see what we can do. It’s all about them growing and getting better.”
Returning players from the spring team include juniors Eduardo Rubio, Collin Seale, Josiah Carlson, Logan Barrett, and Cade von Borstel. Sophomores on the squad include Henry Poirier, Casey Nelson, Talon Dark, Luke Fritts and Sawyer Baker. The 13 freshmen, including Blagg’s son, Michael, represent the largest number of first-year varsity players that Sherman has had in more than 20 years.
The Huskies will play their second game and their first of six Special District 2 league contests Sept. 17 against the Dufur High Rangers. Dufur had a 5-0 record during the spring season in March and Sherman had a 3-1 record during the spring in the six-man league. The Huskies play their first home game Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. against the Lyle/Wishram/Klickitat Cougars at Sherman High in Moro.