15 Class 5A defensive player of the year candidates in Oregon high school football

By René Ferrán

SBLive will be coordinating the balloting for the official Class 6A, 5A and 4A all-state teams that will be published on SBLive Oregon and OregonLive next month. Coaches will be voting for the all-state teams in football, volleyball, and boys and girls soccer in the next couple of weeks, with the announcements coming in mid-December.

In anticipation of the all-state football awards, we wanted to offer our thoughts on who the coaches would consider their favorites for the big honors — classification offensive and defensive players of the year.

We made our predictions in the preseason, and while many find themselves on this list, many contenders have emerged over the course of the past 12 weeks.

Here’s a look at 15 of the likely top candidates for Class 5A defensive player of the year.

Jimmy Jordahl (Crater) photo by Leon Neuschwander

DL Chase Barnes, Sr., West Albany

Barnes was one of the defensive leaders for the Bulldogs this season, leading the team with 11 tackles for loss (including a Mid-Willamette Conference-best 8.5 during the regular season) among his 61 total.

LB Joe Brauckmiller, Sr., Canby

The NWOC West co-defensive player of the year ranked among the team leaders in tackles all season, finishing with 79 (seven for loss) to go with four sacks, three fumble recoveries, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

LB Nick Cooper, Sr., Wilsonville

Cooper led a Wildcats defense that allowed 15.4 points per game through two playoff rounds with 74 tackles (6.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, five hurries, two fumble recoveries and two pass breakups.

LB Josiah Garibay, Sr., McKay

Garibay led the NWOC West with 89 tackles, including 12 for loss. He added three forced fumbles in helping the Royal Scots qualify for the state playoffs.

LB Vaun Halstead, Jr., Thurston

Halstead missed three games and didn’t pile up big tackle numbers, but through two playoff games he still led the Colts with 40 tackles (11.5 for loss) and three sacks for 5A’s top scoring defense.

S Jack Johnson, Sr., Wilsonville

Johnson’s impact goes beyond the numbers (59 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions) as the NWOC West coaches acknowledged in naming him a league co-defensive player of the year.

DL Jimmy Jordahl, Sr., Crater

Jordahl led 5A in tackles for loss with 18.5, including 6.5 sacks, among 47.5 overall tackles during the regular season.

LB Kyle Liscom, Sr., Pendleton

Our preseason pick for the award had another banner season for the Buckaroos, winning NWOC East defensive player of the year honors after leading 5A in tackles with 100, including 17 for loss and four sacks.

DL Joe Martin, Sr., Ridgeview

Martin earned NWOC East lineman of the year honors for his work on both sides of the ball. He made 68 tackles (team-high nine for loss) and six sacks for the Ravens.

DE Jacob Newell, Sr., Thurston

Newell bookends with Josh Buller to provide twin terrors for opposing offensive tackles. Newell led the Colts with 5.5 sacks among his 24 tackles (nine for loss).

DL Braden Rohde, Sr., Churchill

The Midwestern League defensive player of the year led 5A with 16 sacks and made 13 other tackles for loss among his 45 total tackles.

LB Gabe Robles, Sr. Redmond

Robles finished second in 5A with 99 tackles during the regular season, including nine for loss and 3.5 sacks.

LB Tyler Seiber, Sr., South Albany

The Mid-Willamette co-defensive player of the year helped spearhead the Redhawks’ climb from an 0-6 spring season (and four combined wins the previous three seasons) to a 5A playoff berth.

DL Jacob Strand, Sr., Canby

Strand, the NWOC West lineman of the year, heads to Corvallis next year as an offensive lineman, but he was a dominant force on the defensive line for the Cougars, finishing with 15 tackles for loss and six sacks among his 47 total tackles.

LB Keegan Walter, Sr., Silverton

Walter shared Mid-Willamette co-defensive player of the year honors with South Albany’s Tyler Seiber as the Foxes won the conference title outright and reached the state final.

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