Prep Football: For Yoncalla, no time like now to face No. 1 Triad again
YONCALLA — Being beaten by 30 points never feels good, but Yoncalla is taking that experience in week two of this season and turning it to a positive heading into Friday’s Class 1A football playoff game at top-ranked Triad in Klamath Falls.
“It’s a weird situation for sure,” YHS coach Matt Bragg said. “It helps on scouting.”
Game time for Friday’s contest is 5 p.m. and the game can be watched online with a subscription to Rivalscast.com.
Triad (8-1) hit Bragg’s Eagles like a pack of hungry Timberwolves on Sept. 8, returning the opening kickoff for a score and sprinting to a 40-6 lead with 38 minutes left to play. From that point forward, though, the game was far more even.
“Yoncalla looked really good against Triad in the second half,” North Douglas coach JJ Mast said. “Maybe they found something they can exploit.”
“We were really young in that game,” said Bragg, who was missing senior lineman Nic Johnston that night as well. “The kids are pretty confident this week. We know we’re playing the No. 1 team in the state, but we’re not looking at it so much as being the big underdogs, but that we have a shot at it, at competing with them at the least.”
YHS (5-4) outscored the Timberwolves the rest of that game 36-32; the big early lead was too much to overcome, but the confidence gained over the final three quarters could be the difference going up against a team that lost for the first time last Friday, 34-16 at Camas Valley, and appeared to be beat up entering that district title fight.
“One of their star players had a cast on his arm, so I don’t know how healthy they are,” said Bragg, who streamed Triad’s game at Camas Valley last week in a class room while the Eagles prepared for their Special District 3 playoff contest with Siletz Valley.
That was Eli Builta, a running back/linebacker. Another, Blake Bay, had moved from running back to center between the Yoncalla game and last week’s contest with C.V.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are 5-2 in their last seven games and beat Siletz Valley 34-18 without first-team all league receiver Bryan Allen. The freshman will be on the field Friday night.
Senior Ted Wickman was named the Special District 3 East first-team quarterback after putting up more than 2,100 yards in total offense and accounting for 36 TDs.
Wickman has thrown just two interceptions this season — both against Triad — while completing 52.7 percent of his passes for 1,448 yards and 21 TDs. He rushed for another 775 yards and 15 scores.
Complementing Wickman and Allen is two-time all-league first-team running back Dominic Aguilar. The 5-foot-6, 135-pound junior rushed for 1,089 yards and 18 TDs and had another 408 receiving yards with eight more scores. After being held out of the end zone in the first two games, Aguilar scored in the final seven contests.
Aguilar and Wickman also led the Eagles on defense. Aguilar finished with 126 tackles, including eight tackles for loss, while Wickman made 107 tackles with 19 for loss.
“As long as we’ve got Ted and Dom, we feel like we can compete with anybody,” said Bragg. “So long as we have those two going on full cylinders.
“We have the two big stars, but we’re a good group of kids. We don’t have anyone who stands out beyond Dom and Ted. But we know it takes everyone. If we don’t all come together, then it doesn’t matter about the two stars. It takes all eight that are out there.”