MORO – The Sherman Huskies officially started the 2019 6-man football season with a lopsided 78-22 victory over Harper-Huntington on Sept. 7, and based off that level of dominance, making the move down from the 8-man division appears to be a forward-thinking move for head coach Mike Somnis.
While it is a big adjustment in terms of rules and regulations, Somnis feels like the 13 Sherman players and two Condon athletes can make some waves.
“It has been an exciting transition. Obviously, 6-man has its differences, but it has been a lot of fun with this version of football,” Somnis said. “The kids are really enjoying it and there seems to be a lot more freedom. We are just trying to take it day-by-day and just keep learning as we go. The kids are learning, the coaches are learning, and we just hope to have a really good product on the field by the end of this season.”
Last season, Sherman went winless and had to cut its season short due injuries, safety issues and grades.
With a roster of 15 in a 6-man setting, returning senior Tyler Bledsoe is optimistic about his team’s chances to achieving success following a tough 2018.
“We are very motivated because of what happened last year,” Bledsoe said. “We didn’t play a lot and weren’t able to finish the season, so this year, in 6-man, it should be a good thing for us. We have more depth and more skill, and we have the ability to have some good performances. I just want to make this last season one of the best for this team.”
In their five completed 2018 games, the Huskies scored 60 points and were shut out twice, but with several offensive changes, there could be a philosophical change from Somnis’ patented rough and tumble running attack to more motions, sweeps and passing plays, especially now with the ability to use linemen in passing patterns.
“I think it is going to be a pretty easy adjustment,” said Fields, the Huskies’ returning quarterback. “We have a lot of speed and guys that can make things happen in the open field, too. We can beat any team and I think we can score a lot of points. The way we have been playing, I think we can do pretty good and make the playoffs.”
Of the Sherman athletes, Austin Olson, Tim DePaepe, Clayton Reed, Gill Witherspoon are the sophomores, and Eduardo Rubio, Ajani Diaz, Josiah Carlson, Harmony Bledsoe, Cade von Borstel and Kole Martin make up the up-and-coming standout freshmen newcomers.
Bledsoe and Jeremy Ballesteros are Sherman’s only veteran seniors, and Condon’s Cort Colby (senior) and Braden Carnine (sophomore) complete the varsity roster.
“I am actually really excited. It is a new thing for us,” Ballesteros said. “We players here that will get experience and get better because of it. With this team, I would say that we have a lot of potential if we work as a team and we have players who don’t try to be the star of the game. It is not about one player; it is about all of us coming together to make it far this season.”
Of their six remaining regular-season games, the Huskies have two at home versus Echo (Sept. 27) and South Wasco County (Oct. 18), and have road contests against Prairie City (Sept. 13), Mitchell-Spray-Wheeler (Sept. 20), Joseph (Oct. 4) and Jewell (Oct. 11).
The 6-man showcase game is set for Oct. 25 in Moro and the 6-man playoff crossover will be played on Nov. 1 at Madras High School.
“My expectations are really simple, and I told the kids in their first practice – our attitude and our effort will dictate how we approach each day at practice and each game through the course of the season,” Somnis said. “If we come to practice every day a little bit better and we work hard and we have a great attitude, day-in and day-out, good things will happen.”
Up next on the docket, Sherman (1-0 overall) travels to Mitchell (0-1) for a league matchup with a start time of 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20.