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Dufur finding its gridiron groove

Rangers football team is looking to build on its fast offensive start to '13

— Much like their Big Sky Conference rival, Sherman, the No. 3-ranked Dufur Rangers have a full head of steam brewing with Perrydale in their crosshairs.

The Rangers are riding a two-game winning streak and have opened things wide open on offense by racking up 130 points in the 96 minutes played so far.

Nick Little has already hit paydirt 11 times this season, but quarterback Cole Parke is beginning to find his groove running and throwing and Trever Tibbets, Bailey Keever and Jake Little are showing their worth on offense.

“We have threats everywhere in our skill positions and we have people who can go the distance from pretty much anywhere on the field,” said Dufur coach Jack Henderson. “That is a great thing for us. We need to continue to exploit that and develop ways to take advantage of all those kids so that teams can’t hone in on one phase of our offense. We can get it done in a lot of different ways.”

Up next is a road challenge versus a Perrydale team that rebounded from an opening-game 28-16 loss to Sherman with a 46-32 triumph over Siletz Valley last week.

This is Perrydale’s home opener and they are hoping to get things back going off last year’s seven-win pace.

The Pirates still have some weapons in Lane Budeau, Mitchell Clark, Troy Trembly and Cody Halverson, so for a team that scored 535 points last year, things could open for this top offense.

It is up to this Ranger defensive team to keep up its stout efforts. Last week, they held Imbler’s all-league running Joe Griffin to 90 yards rushing on 21 carries, but held him to 37 in the opening half.

In two games, Dufur has forced nearly 10 turnovers and have had an interception for a score and three special teams tallies.

Defense is an emphasis for Henderson, as he focuses on getting this team to the next level.

“I feel that we can get a ton better because we are just not very consistent right now,” Henderson said of his defensive unit. “We are playing more aggressive than the Rangers have played in several years, which is exciting to see. We have kids that have a huge upside. They are working hard and focusing on getting better every day.”

Brent Sumner likes the current trend the Rangers are on and he said there are never any thoughts on the past, but the future – Nobody in the locker-room is thinking too far ahead.

“We have improved a lot from last season and we just keep on going up,” Sumner said. “We just got to keep working harder and harder to get where we want to go. We focus a lot. We hardly think about the last game, we focus on what is ahead of us and that is the way it should be.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

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