By Mike Wilson
Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oregon will break down every 6A, 5A and 4A football team in the state in anticipation of a six-week season in March and April. Even if the season is postponed or canceled, we will continue to highlight more than a hundred teams and more than a thousand players in Oregon. Here’s our look at the Central Catholic Rams of the Class 6A Mt. Hood Conference.
Steve Pyne, 18th season (151-51)
2019 AT A GLANCE
Overall record: 11-2
League record: 4-0, first in Mt. Hood
Playoffs: Beat Southridge 63-21 in first round; beat Newberg 28-12 in second round; beat West Linn 42-35 in quarterfinals; beat Barlow 35-7 in semifinals; beat Lake Oswego 49-28 in final
ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED
QB Cade Knighton, first team and offensive player of the year; first-team all-state
RB Elijah Elliott, first team; honorable mention all-state
WR Silas Starr, first team; first-team all-state
OL Andrew Gross, first team; first-team all-state
DL Braeden Veary, first team; first-team all-state
LB Joe Nizich, first team and defensive player of the year; first-team all-state
DB/RB Miles Jackson, first team on defense and honorable mention on offense; first-team all-state on defense
WR/DB Kalvin Souders, second team on offense and honorable mention on defense; honorable mention all-state on offense
DL/OL Jordan Reed, second team on defense and honorable mention on offense
LB Mason Smith, second team
DB/WR Kimo Hiu, second team on defense and honorable mention on offense; honorable mention all-state on defense
WR Jaden Fulsher, honorable mention
TE Ethan Flynn, honorable mention
OL Daniel Pham, honorable mention
OL/DL Logan Nomura, honorable mention on offense and defense
DL Carter Johnson, honorable mention
LB Clyde Bell, honorable mention
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Senior WR/DB Myles Broadous
Broadus played a fair amount at safety and cornerback last season. “We expect good production from him,” Pyne said. “He has great instincts, ball skills and is very competitive.”
Senior TE/LB Jack Brown
Brown started every game in 2019 at outside linebacker and amassed 10 tackles for loss in what Pyne called a very consistent season. “He has great athleticism and playmaking ability,” Pyne said. Brown had an interception in the 2019 Class 6A championship game — one of only two that runner-up Lake Oswego threw in its five postseason games.
Senior TE/DE Jalen Ridgeway
Pyne said Ridgeway, a third-year starter and an honorable mention all-Mt. Hood Conference selection at tight end, is the one returning player on offense who contributed significantly to last season’s team. “He is a versatile player who can play as an attached tight end or split out wide and make plays,” Pyne said.
Junior RB/LB/S Zach Grisham
Grisham was the Rams’ third-leading rusher last season, gaining 320 yards and two touchdowns on 53 carries (six yards per rush). Grisham “was very productive running the ball in a backup role last season,” Pyne said. “We expect him to shoulder a much larger role this year.” Pyne said Grisham will be a mainstay on defense, playing a number of positions.
Junior WR/S Jordan King
King had a touchdown reception among his four catches in last season’s Class 6A championship game. That was part of a performance that Pyne characterized as King coming into his own during the playoffs. “He’s an FBS talent,” the coach said. “We expect his role on both sides of the ball to increase with the graduation of Silas Starr and Kalvin Souders.” King earned all-Mt. Hood honorable mention last season as a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive lineman. This season, he’s targeted to play in the defensive secondary.
Junior TE/DE/OLB Emar’rion Winston
Pyne expects the 6-3, 220-pound Winston to be a handful for opposing offenses from a defensive end or outside linebacker spot. “He is quick, strong and has good instincts,” Pyne said. “He should also factor on the offensive side of the ball.”
Graduation took a deep and broad toll on the Rams, who in 2019 won the school’s third Class 6A title in the past seven seasons. Central Catholic had first-team all-Mt. Hood Conference senior players at five positions on offense and three on defense; on The Oregonian/OregonLive Class 6A all-state team, the count was three seniors who were first-team offense and three who were first-team defense.
First-team all-state quarterback Cade Knighton, a four-year starter, is gone. Pyne said early in the year the competition to succeed Knighton was among juniors Emerson Dennis and Luke Johnson, sophomore Mateo Maehara and freshman Cru Newman. Most of the other positions on offense also will have new starters this season.
“First, we want to make sure that our seniors have opportunities to put their best plays on film if they have a desire to play in college,” Pyne said. “That being said, it is our plan to play as many kids as possible so that we have an opportunity to evaluate them, advance their skill sets and football knowledge so they can be ready for the fall of 2021.”
“We will need to develop a quarterback and continue to grow confidence in our younger players while making sure our seniors have adequate opportunities to have a great experience.” — Steve Pyne
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