2A Oregon high school football: Players, teams to watch

By René Ferrán

A look at some of the top players and teams to watch in Class 2A Oregon high school football

Players to Watch

QB/DB Brody Ballard, Jr., Monroe

Ballard was a two-way standout for the Dragons as a sophomore, receiving second-team all-state recognition on defense and first-team all-league honors at quarterback. 

WR Isaiah Basargin, Sr., Kennedy

A second-team all-state honoree for the state runner-up Trojans, Basargin caught 29 passes for 647 yards (22.3 per catch) and eight touchdowns in 2019. 

OL/DL Camryn Biegel, Sr., Kennedy

As a junior, Biegel made the all-state team on both sides of the ball — first team on offense and second team on defense.

OL/LB Cole Boen, Sr., Kennedy

Another two-way all-state selection for the Trojans, Boen made the first team on defense and the second team on offense.

RB/LB Dylan Irwin, Sr., Monroe

While playing beside 2019 Class 2A offensive player of the year Zach Young in the Dragons’ veer offense, Irwin made the all-league first team and all-state second team. 

OL/DL Sam Irwin, Sr., Warrenton

Irwin keyed the Warriors offense as an all-state first-team offensive lineman and made the all-state third team on defense, where he recorded 47 tackles (11 for loss) and two sacks as an interior lineman.

QB Dylan Kleinschmit, Sr., Kennedy

Kleinschmit last season regained the starting job he held as a freshman and threw for 1,580 yards and 21 touchdowns, earning third-team all-state recognition. 

TE/LB Jackson Lehman, Sr., Heppner

Lehman was a first-team all-state tight end last season and is the top returning receiver for the Mustangs with 14 catches for 345 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a second-team all-state linebacker with 42 tackles (nine for loss). 

OL/DL Brody Little, Sr., Culver

Little made the 2019 all-state team at three positions — second team at punter and third team on both lines, making 49 tackles (most of any returning Bulldog).

WR/DB Mason McAlpine, Sr., Toledo

McAlpine made the all-state second team on offense last season, when he finished with 29 catches for 462 yards and five touchdowns.

LB/P Braden Mendenhall, Sr., Sheridan

Mendenhall was a first-team all-league linebacker who had seven games with double-digit tackles (104 total) in his junior season. He averaged 35 yards per punt, earning second-team all-league honors.

RB/LB Cameron Miethe, Sr., Knappa

Miethe was a third-team all-state selection on both sides of the ball last season, helping the Loggers win the league title.

QB Jaxon Rozewski, Sr., Toledo

The Western Oregon signee has had a solid three-year career for the Boomers. He threw for 2,187 yards and 26 touchdowns (six interceptions) while completing 58 percent of his passes (119 for 205) as a junior. He has 5,720 yards and 67 touchdowns during his career and was named to the all-league first team last season.

TE/DL Brady Traeger, Sr., Kennedy

Traeger was a terror on the defensive front for the Lancers, earning first-team all-state recognition for a defense that allowed 11.8 points per game, while also making himself a favored target for Kleinschmit, catching the winning touchdown in their state semifinal win over Monroe.

OL/DL Tyler Voltin, Sr., Regis

The Rams struggled to a 2-7 record a season ago, but Voltin’s contributions could not be ignored — he made the all-state first team on offense and third team on defense.

RB/LB Caleb Wilson, Sr., Creswell

Wilson last season was named Special District 3 co-defensive player of the year at middle linebacker and made the all-league second team at running back.

QB/DB Jayden Wilson, Sr., Heppner

The 6-foot 5, 205-pound Wilson broke his left fibula in a first-round playoff loss to Kennedy as a sophomore but returned last season to lead the Mustangs to their first state title since 2015, throwing for 1,282 yards and 23 touchdowns and running for 797 yards and 14 scores en route to first-team all-state honors. He signed with Western Oregon last month. “He’s played every snap at every level at quarterback,” coach Greg Grant said. “I’m just looking forward to having him play for us for a few more games.”

RB/DL Blake Wolters, Sr., Heppner

Wolters made the all-state team on both sides of the ball last season, running for a team-high 999 yards and 16 touchdowns and making 70 tackles (17 for loss) with four sacks and five forced fumbles.

RB/DB Gunner Yates, Jr., Coquille

The younger brother of two-time Sunset Conference player of the year Caiden Yates started making a name for himself as a sophomore, earning second-team all-state honors in the secondary with 90 tackles and three interceptions. He rushed for 1,116 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught a team-high 12 passes for 245 yards and three scores. “Gunner is an amazing football player to watch because he isn’t just gifted with incredible ability (4.5 speed in the 40) but also an impressive level of football intelligence,” Red Devils coach David Thomason said. “If Gunner is on the field, watch him — great plays are to come.”

Teams to Watch

Coquille (9-2 in 2019) 

The Red Devils graduated Caiden Yates but return several key pieces of their defense, including Gunner Yates, senior DB Jace Haagen (53 tackles) and junior DL Grady Arriola (67 tackles, 12 for loss, six sacks). Haagen also threw five touchdown passes as the starting quarterback. 

Heppner (13-0) 

The defending state champion returns plenty of firepower, including one of the state’s top quarterback recruits in Wilson as well as juniors Brock Kisler (63 tackles, nine for loss) at linebacker and Jace Coe (43 tackles, six interceptions) and Kason Cimmiyotti (23 tackles, six interceptions, six pass breakups) in the secondary.

Kennedy (10-2) 

The 2018 state champion and 2019 runner-up returns several key players — five all-state performers, including second-team defensive back David Reyes — who could have led the Trojans to a third consecutive appearance in the final.

Monroe (10-2) 

The 2017 state champion graduated two-time state offensive player of the year Zach Young but returns three all-state players, including second-team junior TE Trent Bateman, to go with senior first-team all-league OL Tom Koch. 

Oakland (8-3) 

The Oakers reached the quarterfinals for the second time in the past three seasons and notched their most wins since 2014. They bring back third-team all-state RB Corbin Picknell and all-league DLs Ross Graves and Jesse Parker. 

Toledo (8-3)

The Boomers are set to give the Red Devils a run for Sunset Conference supremacy, bringing back senior quarterback Jaxon Rozewski (2,187 yards, 26 touchdowns) and junior Ashten Fisher (15 catches for 291 yards) to go with Villanueva and McAlpine at the skill positions. On defense, senior LBs Markus Cross (70 tackles) and Trent Hutchison (41 tackles) and sophomore DB Gunner Rothenberger (58 tackles) are back.

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