Eight is enough
By ROBERT HUSSEMAN
Of the News-Register
PERRYDALE – There will be no postseason for Perrydale.
The Pirates have been historically strong in eight-man football, with a run of four consecutive Class 1A Casco League titles and a state championship in 2004. When the Oregon School Activities Association reclassification and districting committee assessed the state’s schools last year, it saw little Perrydale as primed to make a big jump – from eight-man to 11-man football.
One problem manifested for the Pirates: a lack of participants.
“The magic number really was low-20s to have a viable 11-man program,” Perrydale head coach Chris Gubrud said. “We’re looking at 15 to 17. One of those (is a) freshman; only two seniors. I don’t think we’d be doing what’s right for our kids to put them in a situation where every single player is on offense, defense and every special team because you have three or four kids that aren’t ready to play varsity football.
“You always end a season with two to four kids that are out and if you start with 16, that means you’re finishing (an 11-man football season) with 12. That just wasn’t going to work.”
Gubrud, also the Perrydale athletic director, applied for and received from the OSAA a waiver to compete in eight-man football for the 2014 season as a Class 2A school. Rather than joining Central Linn, Kennedy, Regis, Santiam and St. Paul (which also moved up from 1A, and from eight-man to 11-man) in the Class 2A Tri-River League, Perrydale will compete in football as a 2A independent. (Perrydale will compete in the Tri-River Conference in all other sports, including volleyball this fall. Tri-River members East Linn Christian and Western Mennonite do not field football teams.)
The Pirates are the only school above 1A playing an eight-man football schedule this season and, as such, will be unable to participate in the 1A or 2A state playoffs.
“We’re taking the approach that we’re like a college team on a bowl ban,” Gubrud said. “We’re going to try to win every game. We’re going to try to be Ohio State from two years ago. We’re going to treat every game like it’s our bowl game.”
Eighteen boys and no girls comprise the 2014 Pirates’ roster. According to Gubrud, there are 92 students (including 38 boys) enrolled in Perrydale High School for the 2014-15 academic year.
By the OSAA’s benchmark, that might not be sufficient for designation as a 2A school. The OSAA used enrollment numbers that counted students on free and reduced lunch as less than one student in its reclassification endeavor. Further, according to Gubrud, the OSAA used a number from the 2012-13 academic year – 92, according to its formula; the lowest number of any 2A school – that raised Perrydale above 1A. The number of students on free and reduced lunch programs in 2014-15, Gubrud believes, would lower the Pirates back to 1A enrollment levels (89 and below).
However many students end up occupying the sideline and grandstands, Perrydale will play out an eight-game independent schedule this season. Seven of the opponents are from Oregon, including 1A playoff teams Dufur, Sherman and Triad. (The Pirates also made the 2013 playoffs, falling in the first round to eventual state champion Imbler.
“I don’t want to overlook anybody this year,” junior running back/linebacker Brant Barnes said. “I think, last year, at times we overlooked our opponents and we got off to some slow starts. This year I want to take every opponent like it’s the same.”
Gubrud assumed the helm when Dan Dugan stepped down after three seasons as Perrydale’s head coach. The two had co-coached the Pirates for 10 seasons before Gubrud stepped aside. The pair led Perrydale to the 1A state title in 2004. (Dugan is serving as a volunteer assistant with the Perrydale defense.) Steve Mabry remains the Pirates’ defensive coordinator.
Quarterback/safety Troy Tremblay, an all-Casco League player in 2013, is one of Perrydale’s two seniors. Tremblay, Barnes and sophomore running back/defensive back Haylen Janesofsky have stood out on a squad that players and coaches say is more fit an athletic than last season’s team. Linemen Alex Hawes and C.J. Marsters are expected to anchor the Pirates in the trenches.
“We’ve got enough depth to where we can have some kids not playing both ways,” Gubrud said. “We’ve got 12 kids that are varsity-caliber players.”
If the numbers dictated it, Perrydale would join fellow former 1A school St. Paul as an eight-man power attempting to thrive in the 11-man game. This year, the numbers do not work out in the Pirates’ favor.
“We will petition to move back down to 1A every year until we move,” Gubrud said. “We know what we project. But they were not going to go on projections. It really wasn’t a negotiable item. So we are where we are.”
Right where Perrydale wants to be.
League: Class 2A Independent (playing eight-man football schedule)
Coach: Chris Gubrud (first season, second tenure; 15th overall)
Last season: 5-5, 3-1 Class 1A Casco League (lost in 1st round of 1A state playoffs)
Key returners: QB/S Troy Tremblay, sr.; RB/LB Brant Barnes, jr.; RB/LB Haylen Janesofsky, so.
SEPT. 5: Siletz Valley, 7 p.m.
SEPT. 12: @ Crow, 7 p.m.
SEPT. 19: Triad, 7 p.m.
SEPT. 26: Sherman, 7 p.m.
OCT. 3: @ Dufur, 7 p.m.
OCT. 10: vs. Elgin in Arlington, 2 p.m.
OCT. 16: @ Oregon School for the Dear (junior varsity), 2 p.m.
OCT. 24: Naselle (Washington), 7 p.m.