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Beaverton fixes on top-three spot in Metro

It’s a realistic goal and a reachable one too, if Beaverton can play solid football from week-to-week and not get caught looking ahead.

What the Beavers crave this season has turned into a rallying cry of sorts during preseason practice for both coaches and players.

“I want to be in the top-three of the Metro this year,” said head coach Bob Boyer. “That’s what our kids are talking about, it’s what they’re motivated for. Week-in and week-out we have to focus on that specific game and go get the job done.”

Beaverton opens Metro play with Jesuit and concludes league with Southridge, so those middle four games against Aloha, Sunset, and Westview are crucial to the Beavers’ postseason ambition.

“I think we have the potential to be as good as we were last year if not a little bit better,” said Boyer. “And, that’s what we want. We want improvement every year and keep moving forward. Anything can happen out there. We just have to keep our minds focused and keep working on us.”

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton senior linebacker Grant Johnson anchors a solid Beaver defense that likes to force turnovers and fly to the football.

Defense

Boyer said junior free safety Bryce Barker is the Beavers’ best overall player who can play just about any position on the field. As a sophomore, the 6’3”, 190-pounder was third-team all-league.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete, a big-time playmaker,” said Boyer. “He’s rangy, the kid can jump and he has amazing hands. He’s going to be a huge impact player for us on both sides of the ball.”

Senior linebacker Grant Johnson is “a good-sized kid who runs well and isn’t afraid of contact or physicality” according to Boyer. Senior linebackers Anthony Battaro and Kiuna Talalemotu started as juniors. Battaro injured his knee during spring practice but Boyer said he should be ready to go when Beaverton opens the season against Century. Talalemotu is a 6’4” outside ‘backer who could see time on the edge as a defensive end. Senior cornerback Drew Kimmer, junior cornerback Connor Brands, sophomore Eric Hurd and Marcille will surround Barker in the secondary. Boyer said Chidubem Nnoli is starting to play well at cornerback. Beaverton’s defensive line is young, but coming along in the preseason. If the Beavers’ D is going to be successful, it’ll take contributions from everybody.

“Our defense, aside from Bryce, doesn’t have any real established studs but they play well together,” said Boyer. “If they gel and learn how to trust each other I think they can be good. Our linebackers are a group that still needs to gel too but they’ve really made some big strides.”

Offense

Barker will play primarily wide receiver on offense where he can utilize his 4.6 40-yard dash and basketball athleticism to his advantage. Initially, Boyer put Barker at quarterback so that his most gifted competitor could have a hand in every Beaver offensive play. However, those plans changed when sophomore Sam Noyer stepped up in fall camp and proved he’s capable of distributing the pigskin to Beaverton’s heap of talented pass catchers.

“We’re going to have some growing pains with him there but having both of those guys gives us a great opportunity,” said Boyer. “Sam has a pretty live arm...Now we have two really good athletes out on the offense instead of one. Bryce can run and stretch the defense and at 6’3” he’s going to cause problems for shorter corners out there. He’s a tough, smart kid out there with a motor that never stops.”

Nnoli (5’9”, 180 pounds) is a player Boyer expects a lot of big things from. Junior wide receiver Stephen Marcille is a mismatch at slot receiver with good quicks and wheels.

“We’re trying to put as many weapons out on the field as we can,” said Boyer. “I think we have the ability to throw when we want to because we have some really good receivers and a quarterback with a good arm. But we also have Nnoli who’s one of the better sprinters in the league. He has some amazing balance and if our offensive line can gel and give him a little bit of a hole, he can cut it.”

Boyer said as many as 10 offensive linemen could see playing time this season. Four of the five starters are returning from last year but the competition for the starting jobs during daily doubles has been ferocious.

Pencil in seniors such as Zachery Sigler and Michael Aguilar amongst others to block for Nnoli.

“If this group makes those improvements each week, I don’t think we’ll have to give a huge hole to Nnoli,” said Boyer. “We just have to give him a crack to get through. There’s nobody that’s our standout guy but we have 10 incredibly hard-working kids that I’m excited about. They have a ways to go but I think they’ll get there.”




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Beaverton

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  • 20 Dec 2014

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  • 21 Dec 2014

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