As of Thursday, September 17, 2015
In what can be classified as a true battle of the state’s best, the No. 2-ranked Dufur Rangers are hoping to rain on the Hosanna Christian parade at 7 p.m. Friday in Klamath for the christening of the eighth-ranked Lions’ new turf field.
Just like Dufur, Hosanna Christian is undefeated and has done its damage by a 124-39 margin.
Led by quarterback Matt Hetrick, lineman Hunter Jansen, running backs Mitchell Cole and Silas Sanches and speedy wide receiver Waylan Cole, the Lions have a multi-faceted offense, ranging from Double Tight End I formation, Spread and passing.
The Rangers, who have allowed just 14 points in the first two games of the season, will be tested athletically and physically.
“They are very athletic,” said Dufur head coach Jack Henderson. “Their best athlete is Mitchell Cole. He is their best back and linebacker. They have good size on the line. Hunter Jansen anchors both of their lines, he’s 6-foot-2 inches, 240 pounds and moves well.”
Dufur’s defense has Bailey Keever, Hagen Pence, Curtis Crawford, Zach Christiansen and Travis Lucas ready to give the Lions their most competitive contest to date.
The Rangers have already held Lowell to six points and Triangle Lake 58-8 in their first two games.
Hosanna, who beat Sherman 58-20 on Sept. 4 and Butte Valley, CA. 66-19 last week, present a more dynamic challenge.
“We have been working on tackling. Our pad level hasn’t been very good the first two weeks,” Henderson said of what he and the coaching staff have been working on with the team. “And being quicker in every position on defense.”
Last week against Triangle Lake, Keever completed 8 of 15 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns and he rushed 10 times for 111 yards and two scores.
He also added an 85-yard interception return.
Pence ran for 28 yards and a score and he added five grabs for a career-high 111 yards and touchdown catches of 35 and 34 yards.
Kurt Nuevo chipped in 44 yards rushing and 16 yards receiving to go with a touchdown, Kolbe Bales had a touchdown run, and Curtis Crawford hauled in two catches for 30 yards.
Dufur has averaged 58 points a game, but Henderson said there were plenty of areas to improve on.
“We want to gain greater consistency on offense,” the coach said. “We have the ability to run and throw and need to maximize both.”
It is going to take a lot of execution and fundamentals to come out on top and the Rangers will have to be much sharper, force turnovers, limit their own and perform well in all three phases of the game, Henderson added.
“It’s very critical for us to become the team that we have the potential to be,” Henderson said. “They all need to buy in to the process and be a piece of a successful program.”