Oregon’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best linebackers

By René Ferrán, Mike Wilson, Bob Lundeberg, Paul Valencia and Jarrid Denney

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Oregon high school football. Our seventh list focuses on the linebackers. (Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends | Offensive linemen | Defensive linemen)

There are hundreds of standout football players in Oregon and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Use the comments section to discuss the other linebackers worthy of fans’ attention in 2021.

Find our team-by-team breakdowns for every 6A, 5A and 4A team in Oregon at this link

Garrett Speer (Jesuit) photo by Leon Neuschwander

Aiden Timbo, 6-3, 175, Sr., Sunset

Timbo led the Apollos in tackles during the spring season with 44 (16 solo). “Aiden will take on the role as leader of our defense this season,” Sunset coach Damien Merrick said in August. 

Andrew Collins, 6-0, 195, Sr., Barlow

Collins stood out on defense as a junior, setting the stage for what could be a monster senior season. “He’s kind of our defensive leader, another extremely intelligent kid,” Bruins coach Tracy Jackson said. “He’s got great skills. He’s really tough to pin down as far as getting him blocked.”

Austin Waits, 6-2, 240, Sr., Cascade Christian

Waits is a two-way standout for the Challengers, who won the 3A championship in the spring. He had 28 tackles (4½ for loss) and an interception in five games last season. “Austin is a smart football player that you can give a lot of responsibility to,” coach Jon Gettman said.

Autzen Perkens, 6-0, 220, Sr., West Albany

Perkens plays a major role on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. “We’ve had a lot of good linebackers the last few years, and he’s in that mold,” coach Brian Mehl said. “He’s going to be a great defender for us.” 

Ben Winjum, 6-0, 215, Jr., West Linn

Lions coach Chris Miller called Winjum the MVP of last season’s JV team and someone ready to help fill the shoes of first-team SBLive Oregon all-state linebacker Cole Peters and two other all-Three Rivers linebackers. He led the JV team in tackles as a sophomore and had a team-high 23 through four games this season. “Ben’s a lunch-pail guy — a tough, tough kid and hard-hat dude,” Miller said.  

Blake Lewis, 5-8, 190, Sr., Cascade

“He has this natural knack on defense that is scary,” Cougars coach Brandon Bennett said of Lewis, who has been a starting linebacker since midway through his freshman season. The team captain on defense, Lewis is a physical freak, weighing 190 pounds and with hardly any body fat. As a junior, he had a team-high 51 tackles (seven for loss) and four sacks.

Blake Schubert, 6-1, 190, Sr., Hidden Valley

Schubert transferred from North Medford and was a bit of an unknown entering the spring, but by season’s end, he’d earned all-Skyline honorable mention on defense, finishing with 19 tackles (five for loss) and 2.5 sacks. “He has pretty soft hands and is a hard worker,” Mustangs coach Mike Fanger said.

Bowen Stinson, 5-11, 180, Sr., Mountainside

Stinson is one of the Mavericks’ few returning starters on defense. As a junior, he finished among the team leaders with 43 tackles (seven for loss). “Bowen is a hard-nosed kid who brings a lot of toughness and scrappiness to the field,” Mountainside coach John Mannion said. 

Bowen Stinson (Mountainside) photo by Leon Neuschwander

Brady Kopetz, 6-4, 225, Sr., Lincoln

Kopetz tied for the team lead in tackles for loss last season, and first-year Cardinals coach Matt Caruso expects great things on defense from Kopetz in his senior season. “What makes this kid stand out to me isn’t his raw athletic ability,” Caruso said. “It’s that he’s a great kid. He’s a natural leader. He’s program-first. He’s the least selfish kid that I’ve been around in the program so far.”

Braeden Lesina, 6-0, 203, Sr., Grants Pass

Lesina finished second on the team with 33 tackles during the spring season. He had five pass breakups and an interception. “With powerful legs and a strong upper body, Braeden is built to be a run-stuffer as the Mike linebacker in the middle of our 4-3,” Cavemen coach John Musser said. “He has been an effective pass defender, too.”  

Brayden Duke, 5-10, 190, Sr., Crook County

Duke had 41 tackles and three sacks in the spring campaign. “Our defense revolves around having a guy like that in the middle who takes care of business,” Cowboys coach Pard Smith said. He was all-league on both sides of the ball in the spring, also starting at fullback. 

Brock Hisler, 6-0, 185, Sr., Heppner

Hisler has learned from three Class 2A all-state linebackers during his career, and he’s poised to become the program’s fourth in the past four years. He had 38 tackles (eight for loss) in the spring, and through three games this season, he’d nearly matched those totals with 33 tackles (five for loss) and a forced fumble. The Mustangs posted two shutouts in their first three games, extending their win streak to 21 since the start of their 2019 state championship season.

Brody Crowley, 5-11, 180, Sr., Clackamas

Crowley was a first-team all-NWOC East selection for La Salle Prep in the spring before transferring to Clackamas for his senior season. 

Brody MacMillan, 5-10, 202, Sr., La Grande

MacMillan, an honorable mention all-GOL selection as an outside linebacker on the 2019 state championship team, established himself as one of the team leaders during the pandemic and will be counted upon to contribute on both sides of the ball this season. “Brody is in every sense a true football player,” Tigers coach Rich McIlmoil said. “He is extremely talented and physical. He loves this game and plays it with all his heart, and in my opinion is one of the best all-around players in the state.” 

Bryce Indell, 6-0, 205, Sr., Thurston

During his junior season at Willamette, Indell was a two-way monster for the Wolverines. He was second among 5A players with 84 tackles. He was third with 12 tackles for loss. He transferred to Thurston for his senior season and likely will start to draw attention from colleges as he joins a loaded Colts squad. “He’s another guy who played great in the Les Schwab Bowl and is just phenomenal,” coach Justin Starck said. 

Caden Lasater, 5-11, 185, Sr., Crater

Lasater isn’t just Crater’s leader on both sides of the ball — he’s one of the top players in the state. Comets coach Berk Brown spent 12 years coaching college football and is entering his sixth season coaching high school football. He said Lasater is one of the best players he has coached. “He is one of the most intelligent guys I’ve ever been around,” Brown said. “He has a knack for being around the football on defense.” 

Caden Lasater (Crater) photo by Leon Neuschwander

Caleb Clardy, 6-1, 185, Jr., David Douglas

Clardy transferred from the Seattle area before last season and made a strong impression — beyond just the David Douglas campus — with his play. Scots coach Cal Szueber called him one of the best players in the Mt. Hood Conference and said a lot of 7-on-7 teams have recruited him. “He’s got that football IQ,” Szueber said in praise of the hard-hitting linebacker. “He will definitely be playing at the next level.”

Carter Boyles, 6-1, 210, Sr., South Salem

A starting middle linebacker since his sophomore season, Boyles is a 4.0 student who has taken control of the Saxons’ defense with his size and athleticism. “He’s really smart and is a leader for us on both sides of the ball,” coach Scott Dufault said. “He’s not a real talkative kid, but he’s asserted himself a little bit more this year.” 

Charlie White, 6-3, 220, Sr., Banks

Besides being a standout tight end who was named Cowapa League offensive player of the year as a junior, White also starred at linebacker, finishing with 45 tackles (six for loss) and four sacks. “Leader of the team. Great kid. Pumped to have him back,” Banks coach Cole Linehan said.

Chase Brown, 6-2, 180, Sr., Salem Academy

Brown made his way onto college recruiters’ radars with a dominant spring season, finishing with 69 tackles (10 for loss). He sits No. 33 on 247Sports’ ranking of Oregon class of 2022 recruits with an offer from Pacific University in Forest Grove. In the Crusaders’ first two games this season, he had 27 tackles and a forced fumble. 

Daniel Yancey, 6-2, 230, Sr., Mazama

Yancey was a two-way standout for the Vikings in the spring, making the all-Skyline second team at linebacker with 30 tackles (1.5 for loss) in helping Mazama win the 4A Showcase championship. 

Earl Ingle, 6-1, 202, Jr., West Linn

Ingle, our favorite for 6A defensive player of the year at the beginning of the season, was the rare freshman to crack the rotation at West Linn, playing in four games in 2019 and making eight tackles. As a sophomore, he became a fixture in the starting lineup and dominated from the get-go, recording 36 tackles (six for loss), making three sacks and forcing two fumbles in earning first-team all-Three Rivers and second-team SBLive Oregon all-state honors at outside linebacker. This season, he had 20 tackles and three sacks through four games. “He’s a tremendous football player who has a chance to be the state defensive player of the year,” Lions coach Chris Miller said. “He’s tough, strong and a ballhawk.” 

Elijah Jackman, 6-1, 230, Sr., Tigard

Jackman last season made the all-Three Rivers second team on defense. A physical presence who can set the perimeter on either side of the ball, he has drawn interest from several Northwest Division II and III schools. Jackman also shined during the track season, winning the district title in the discus and placing third at the 6A Showcase. “He just continues to develop and get stronger,” Tigers coach John Kemper said.

Emar’rion Winston, 6-4, 240, Sr., Central Catholic

Winston has made a nonbinding oral commitment to Oregon, where he is expected to be a force at outside linebacker. “He’s a really intelligent football player, a good leader,” Rams coach Steve Pyne said. “He’s very productive on defense in terms of executing his assignments, being physical at the point of attack, being able to make plays in the backfield with his pass rush and cover in space when needed.”

Emar’rion Winston (Central Catholic) photo by Taylor Balkom

Ethan Biondine, 6-0, 230, So., Lakeridge

One of three Pacers freshmen to make the all-Three Rivers team in the spring, Biondine recorded 25 tackles (four for loss) at outside linebacker and received honorable mention. Lakeridge coach Spencer Phillips described him as one of the hardest-working athletes he’s worked with and his breakthrough candidate for this season. “Ethan will be a tremendous player for us this fall,” Phillips said. 

Ethan Lucore, 6-1, 215, Sr., Sandy

Pioneers coach Josh Dill called the 6-1, 215-pound Lucore “by far” the team’s most physical player. “He will lead the team in tackles, and he’ll lead the team in (pancake blocks),” Dill said. “He’s nasty — in a good way.” Lucore competed in track (200 meters) for what Dill said was the first time, and the payoff in football will be better speed. “We’ve seen the benefit from that,” Dill said. Lucore also will get some time at nose guard.

Ezra Waterman, 5-10, 220, Sr., Marshfield

Waterman has been the heart and soul of Marshfield’s defense the past few seasons. The 74 tackles he tallied in the spring were the second-most in 4A, and he led the state with 13 tackles for loss in being named to the SBLive Oregon all-state first team. “Ezra was the defensive MVP of the league as a sophomore and a junior,” Pirates coach John Lemmons said. “He’s just a great defensive player and pretty good on offense as well.”

Gabe Robles, 5-9, 170, Sr., Redmond

Robles was a second-team all-NWOC East pick during the spring, when he had three games with double-digit tackles “He’ll be a key piece of a great linebacking corps,” Panthers coach Brent Wasche said. “Gabe is fast, strong, agile and comes with violent intentions.”  

Garrett Speer, 6-0, 185, Jr., Jesuit

Speer can line up as a linebacker or strong safety depending on scheme and team needs. He showed that versatility in a Week 4 victory over Westview with a game-high 10 tackles (eight solo). “A true playmaker who will be a standout on D,” Crusaders coach Ken Potter said.

Gibson Coyle, 5-10, 200, Sr., Central Catholic

Rams coach Steve Pyne called his first-year starter at inside linebacker a good athlete, a great leader and a hard-nosed player who is expected to make his biggest impact on defense. 

Grant Ellison, 6-4, 195, So., La Salle Prep

As a freshman, Ellison received all-NWOC East honorable mention at linebacker, tying for the team lead in sacks. That’s part of what prompted first-year Falcons coach Dustin Janz to say Ellison has “crazy upward potential.” That Ellison has a projectable body doesn’t hurt, either. “He has just a tremendous mind, he’s a very hard worker, an amazing specimen of an athlete,” Janz said.  

Gus Togni, 5-8, 166, Sr., Lincoln

The team leader in tackles last season, Togni plays bigger than his listed dimensions. “He’s a hard-nosed kid, plays behind his pads, just relentless,” Cardinals coach Matt Caruso said, adding that Togni has quick feet and is getting quicker with his eyes and his decision-making. “He’s getting to that point where his technique and his eyes are going to make up for a lot of what he lacks in size.”

Henry Masters, 6-3, 205, Jr., Tigard

Masters, part of Tigard’s loaded junior class, started making a name for himself during the spring season, bookending with Elijah Jackman on both lines and receiving all-league honorable mention on offense and defense. “He’s very athletic but needs to continue to develop in the weight room,” Tigers coach John Kemper said. “But he’s another kid that, if he develops, could have quite a few offers his senior year. We’re really excited about him.” 

Hudson Davis, 5-9, 182, Jr., Newberg

Davis returned to the gridiron fresh off winning a 6A wrestling state title in June and earning All-American status with a sixth-place finish at 182 pounds at the 16U Greco-Roman National Championships in Fargo, N.D. As a sophomore, he made the all-Pacific second team on both sides of the ball, making 27 tackles. “Talk about an athlete who’s built for being a fullback and linebacker, it’s Hudson,” Tigers coach Jeremy Johnson said. “He’s a dynamic athlete. The upper-body strength he has for a kid his size is next-level.”

Hudson Davis (Newberg) photo by Taylor Balkom

Hunter Frohnert, 6-0, 190, Jr., Forest Grove

Frohnert is a returning two-way starter. In the spring, he led the team in tackles from his linebacker spot. “He was a key contributor last year,” Vikings coach Dominic Ferraro said. “I think he’ll be a key contributor this year. He’s a tough kid. He gives great, consistent effort all the time.”

Isaiah Hill, 5-9, 155, Sr., Eagle Point

A three-year starter, Hill is the leader of the defense and has been tremendous at inside linebacker throughout his career. “He does a great job anticipating where the ball is,” Eagles coach Erik Johnson said. “He’s a vocal leader and brings the energy to that defense. He does a very good job.”

Jack Clemans, 5-11, 200, Sr., Summit

Clemans was the team’s second-leading tackler in the spring. Storm coach Corban Hyatt said Clemans added about 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason. “He’s a kid who makes plays all over the field,” Hyatt said. “He’s super smart, a 4.2 GPA kid.” 

Jackson Brown, 6-2, 205, Sr., Putnam

Brown was Putnam’s leading tackler last season and was voted second-team all-NWOC East at linebacker, where he is a third-year starter. “We expect him to be the heart and soul of our defense,” Kingsmen coach Tim Jacobs said. 

Jackson Schaffeld, 5-10, 200, Sr., Vale

Schaffeld shined as a two-way starter in the spring for the Vikings, and coach Jeff Aldred believes he’ll be on the short list of contenders for league defensive player of the year this season.

Jason Sieveking, 6-0, 180, Sr., Redmond

Sieveking has been a staple on the varsity squad since his freshman year. He was a second-team all-NWOC East linebacker in the spring and had 13 tackles (3.5 for loss) in the Panthers’ first two games this season. “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he can do as a senior,” Redmond coach Brent Wasche said.

Jayden Moses, 6-0, 210, Jr., Grant

Moses slimmed down a little in preparation for his third season as a starter. He is one of many Grant juniors making appearances high in the 2023 Oregon recruiting rankings. “He’s a very good tackler, has very good technique,” Generals coach John Beck said. “He has great football intelligence.”

Jayden Moses (Grant) photo by Taylor Balkom

Jeremiah Matthews, 5-11, 230, Sr., Jefferson

Jefferson’s leading returning tackler, Matthews is someone who doesn’t cut corners. He logged 11.5 total tackles in a Week 1 shutout of Lincoln during the spring season and was in on 13 more the next week against Barlow. “He shows up every day, has that lunch-pail attitude,” Democrats coach Anthony Stoudamire said. “He comes to work. I have been so pleased with him.”

Joe Brauckmiller, 6-4, 225, Sr., Canby

Brauckmiller is a third-year starter at outside linebacker and the team’s top returning tackler with 53 as a junior. This season, he had 20 tackles and two sacks in the Cougars’ first two games. 

Johnny Miller, 5-10, 190, Sr., Jesuit

Miller is a three-year starter in the linebacking corps. Crusaders coach Ken Potter called him a team leader who should play in college.  

Josiah Garibay, 6-1, 225, Sr., McKay

Garibay started every game in the spring and is the team’s top returning tackler. Scots coach Brandis Piper called him the “ultimate team guy,” citing Garibay’s acceptance last season of a move from running back to the offensive line when injuries left the front thin. On offense and defense, Piper said, Garibay leaves an impression on opponents. “When he comes downhill, he hits with authority,” Piper said. 

Kaden Ludwick, 6-5, 245, Sr., Clackamas

Ludwick has committed to Colorado as a linebacker. Last season, he led Clackamas in tackles for loss and tied for the team lead in sacks, despite missing the season finale. “When we didn’t have him in the Tigard game at the end of the season, we weren’t the same team,” Cavaliers coach James Holan said. “He’s the guy who elevates everybody else’s play because he’s so disruptive, he requires so much attention, so other guys are able to make a lot of plays.”

Kellen Hale, 6-5, 205, Sr., Tualatin

Hale was a first-team all-Three Rivers selection as an inside linebacker during the spring season. He had nine tackles and two interceptions in the Timberwolves’ Week 5 victory over West Linn — the highlight of what so far has been an impressive senior season. “He does it all for us,” Tualatin coach Dan Lever said. “Just an unreal kid and player. Very consistent and selfless at all times.” 

Koosha Mirarabshahi, 6-0, 175, Jr., Lincoln

As a sophomore, Mirarabshahi tied for second in Class 6A in sacks (six) and tackles for loss (nine). “Quiet kid, loud playmaking ability,” Cardinals coach Matt Caruso said. 

Kyle Liscom, 5-10, 180, Sr., Pendleton

The NWOC East defensive player of the year and an SBLive Oregon first-team all-state selection led Class 5A with 85 tackles in the spring to help Pendleton finish 4-2. He’s been a fixture in the Buckaroos’ defense for three years, and he packs a wallop that belies his size. “He’s definitely a top-end player statewide,” coach Erik Davis said, adding that Liscom is considering playing at the Coast Guard Academy. “He’s the guy we’ll hang our hats on.” 

Lawson Talamantez, 5-10, 205, Sr., Seaside

The two-time all-league linebacker is well on his way to earning a third award this fall, with 22 tackles in the Seagulls’ first three games. “He makes the calls. He gets everybody lined up. He’s our leader on defense,” coach Aaron Tanabe said.

Lucas Tuski, Sr., 6-0, 195, Marist Catholic

Tuski isn’t just one of the top players for Marist Catholic; he is one of the top players in the state — at any level. His impact at linebacker was just as significant as what he posted in the offensive backfield, and Spartans coach Frank Geske believes there is plenty more to come. “He’s kind of transformed himself,” Geske said. “He’s a heck of a lot faster and he’s dropped about another 10 pounds. He’s running a legit 4.5, 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. He’s going to have a great year.” 

Lucas Tuski (Marist Catholic) photo by Taylor Balkom

Luke Fahner, 6-1, 190, So., Gresham

Fahner is among the team’s leading returning tacklers. Gophers coach James Allen thinks what Fahner accomplished as a freshman is merely a tease to what he can do. “He’s going to be bringing some wood this year,” Allen said. “This is a stud athlete, a hardworking kid who loves to be coached. He is going to make some noise this year.” 

Mataio Payne, 5-10, 210, Jr., Aloha

Payne was a breakthrough star for the Warriors in the spring, finishing second on the team with 42 tackles and putting himself on college radars. “He’s a disciplined player who always finds his way to the football,” Aloha coach James Mitcham said. “He will make his presence known again.” 

Matt Lesowski, 6-0, 195, Sr., Westview

Lesowski has become a cornerstone of the Wildcats defense at outside linebacker after making 18 tackles (two for loss) in the spring. He matched that total through four games this season.  

Max von Arx, 6-4, 210, Sr., Grant

Generals coach John Beck calls von Arx one of the top playmakers in the city. The senior is a third-year starter — an accomplishment he is on track to one-up in the winter sports season. “He’ll be one of the few (Grant) kids ever to be a four-year basketball varsity starter,” Beck said. “And at Grant, that just doesn’t happen.” Beck said von Arx has great hands and speed. Last season, he scored on a blocked punt and on an interception.

Michael Harris, 5-10, 175, Sr., Tualatin

An impact player on the outside, Harris was a first-team all-Three Rivers selection as a junior. “A savvy player who can play bigger than he is,” Timberwolves coach Dan Lever said.

Michael Warren, 5-7, 180, Sr., North Eugene

Warren partnered with Zion Puha to form one of the most formidable linebacker duos in 4A last season. He was a second-team all-league selection as a junior, racking up 37 tackles and six tackles for loss. “Mike is a little quicker and a really good blitzer,” Highlanders coach Rick Raish said. “They’re really good together and play off each other. They’re really good friends.” 

Miguel Velazquez, 5-10, 195, Sr., Marshfield

Velazquez transferred from Reedsport before his junior year and had no problem making the leap to the 4A level. He was a first-team all-league selection at linebacker, finishing with 42 tackles (4.5 for loss). “Very, very nice kid,” Pirates coach John Lemmons said. “Hard worker and very tough. I think he could be a really standout player this year.”

Nate Smith, 6-2, 215, Jr., Liberty

As a sophomore, Smith established himself as a presence at middle linebacker with 13 tackles in the Falcons’ season opener, and by season’s end, he’d made his way onto the all-Pacific second team, finishing with 29 tackles and two interceptions. “He’s a smart, hard-working, determined player,” Falcons coach Eric Mahlum said. “He will do what it takes to get the job done.” 

Riley Davis, 5-7, 165, Jr., Sprague

Davis is a bit undersized for the position, but he was arguably Sprague’s top defender as a sophomore. “He’s very explosive,” Olympians coach Jay Minyard said, reflecting Davis’ abilities on the wrestling mat, where he won a Class 6A state championship at 160 pounds in June.   

Rochne Beecham, 5-10, 190, Sr., Wilsonville

Beecham is one of two returning starters on defense for the Wildcats. He was the second-leading tackler (29) and forced three fumbles (recovering two of them) in the spring. “He plays hard and plays fast and tracks down anybody and everybody,” Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther said. “Hopefully, he can pick up where he left off last year.”

Rochne Beecham (Wilsonville) photo by Leon Neuschwander

Royce Fasel, 6-0, 235, Sr., Glencoe

Fasel has been “the man” in the Crimson Tide program since arriving on campus as a freshman, making the Class 6A all-state team at linebacker as a sophomore. The superlatives flow from coach Ian Reynoso’s lips when he discusses Fasel, who entered his senior season with 255 career tackles, was a first-team all-Pacific selection on both sides of the ball as a junior and made the SBLive Oregon all-state second team at linebacker. “We don’t blitz with him much, but he reads plays phenomenally,” Reynoso said. “His highlights are all of him making the correct read, working downhill and making the tackle. He’s a tank now, and he makes my job easier as a D-coordinator.” 

Seth Glenn, 5-9, 160, Sr., Sherwood

Glenn brings the grittiness and technique he puts to good use on the wrestling mat — he placed third at 160 pounds at the 6A state championships in June — to the gridiron for the Bowmen. As a junior, he was a second-team all-Pacific selection at linebacker. “He’s tough as nails and a hard-nosed kid,” Sherwood coach Kevin Hastin said. “He’s a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who also runs well.”

Trent Bateman, 6-1, 170, Sr., Monroe

Bateman has been a key member of the Dragons defense for the past two years. This season, he had 30 tackles in their first two games, both victories. 

Tulson Higgins, 5-10, 180, Sr., Henley

Higgins ranked among 4A leaders in tackles most of last season, finishing with a team-high 45 (six for loss) and three sacks in earning second-team all-Skyline honors as an inside linebacker. “He’s been working hard this offseason, and we expect for him to have a really strong senior year and be the leader of our defense,” Hornets coach Alex Stork said in August.

Tyree Blake, 6-3, 215, Sr., Jesuit

Blake entered the starting lineup on defense last season and flashed the skills that should take him to the next level. “He has a good sense of the game and makes plays,” Crusaders coach Ken Potter said.

Vann Halstead, 6-0, 215, Jr., Thurston

Halstead earned first-team all-league recognition at linebacker as a sophomore, which isn’t an easy thing to do in the Midwestern League. He had 35 tackles (eight for loss), two sacks and three forced fumbles. Colts coach Justin Starck expects Halstead will continue to improve this season and team with Bryce Indell to form a terrifying two-headed monster at middle linebacker. 

Wolfgang Betts, 6-0, 190, Sr., Marist Catholic

Even with the massive talent the Spartans had across the board last season, Betts was their second-leading tackler as a junior with 29. He also tallied 3.5 sacks — good for fourth in 4A. He will be the lynchpin of Marist Catholic’s defense as he looks to build on his stellar junior campaign. 

Zac Waible, 6-2, 220, Sr., Lakeridge

As a junior, Waible was a second-team all-TRL selection at inside linebacker after making 76 tackles (six for loss) and forcing two fumbles. He was named a captain this season, in part because of what Pacers coach Spencer Phillips called his rare ability to make sure everyone on the defense feels included. “I have been most impressed with how Zac interacts with our underclassmen,” Phillips said. “His tenacity in the weight room translates to the field. It would take all the coaches and players to drag Zac off the field before he comes out of a game.” 

Zane Garvey, 5-11, 195, Sr., Milwaukie

Garvey, also a starter at running back for the Mustangs, is known more for his defense. He led the team in tackles (53), tackles for loss (eight) and sacks (two) last season. He was one of the incoming seniors who played in the Les Schwab Bowl this summer. “He’s one of our best athletes,” first-year coach Tim Price said. “We’re looking for him to do some great things for us his senior year.”

Zeke Viuhkola, 6-3, 188, Sr., West Linn

His best sport might not be football — Viuhkola’s father, Eric, is the Lions boys basketball coach, and Zeke was a first-team all-TRL combo guard last season — but he makes an impact on the gridiron, too. He had 20 tackles and three sacks through four games this season. “He was the most improved varsity player last year,” West Linn coach Chris Miller said. “He’s turned into a fantastic athlete, extremely quick, tough and hard to block.”

Find our team-by-team breakdowns for every 6A, 5A and 4A team in Oregon at this link

%d bloggers like this: