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Brown excited for Portland State, move back to tight end


by: TIMES PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - North team defensive end Josh Brown from Sunset High School works against Souths P.J. Schubert of Pendleton as he rushes towards quarterback Danial White of Ashland.

There is nothing glamorous about playing offensive line or nose tackle.

The slogging behemoths blocking and protecting for others or trying to exert themselves to the opponent’s quarterbacks and skill guys, rarely get the recognition they rightfully deserve. Notoriety, pictures in the paper and post-game interviews normally go to the signal callers, the touchdown scorers, you know, the so-called “stars”.

Josh Brown — for much of his Sunset football career — was a famed, route-running, touchdown-catching tight end who dabbled as a sleek, speedy pass rusher off the edge that racked up double-digit sack seasons.

At 6-foot-6, Brown’s was a quarterback’s best friend, blessed with a soft set of hands and enough speed to run any pass pattern in the route tree. Division One Universities up and down the West Coast brooded for his commitment, until Brown inked with Portland State.

Yet, Brown’s never been about hype or headlines. When the Apollos were ravaged by injuries and inconsistencies in the trenches, Brown didn’t bicker with the Sunset coaching staff about possibly sliding positions from tight end to offensive tackle and defensive end to the nose in the preseason. In a week’s time, Brown became the blindside protecter of quarterback Willy Pflug and a double-team absorbing nose guard entrusted with keeping offensive linemen off Sunset’s linebackers.

It was a thankless duty, but one Brown took on with a dedicated devotion. And, with Brown’s move acting as de facto engine, Sunset roared to three straight wins to finish third in Metro and clinch a spot in the 6A playoffs.

“I just love playing the game,” said Brown. “Football is my favorite sport. I just love it and I’ll do anything to play it. It was more for the benefit of the team. I’m just happy to be out there on the field.”

Simply put, Brown wanted to do whatever it took to win and if that sacrificing his personal stats for the good of the team, then so be it. It was a selfless move, putting the prospects of his teammates ahead of own individual ambitions, but one Brown relished.

At first, the transition was stringent, being that Brown’s instincts told him to release off the line of scrimmage and quickly move downfield. But, the plays weren’t difficult to grasp at offensive tackle being it was only one spot over from his tight end home. And, playing nose tackle, Brown said, “was just being physical and hitting people”.

“Personally, my season was all over the place,” said Brown. “But, it gave a me a better understanding of how much work everybody put in on the field.”

Brown would’ve preferred to go out with a Metro championship, but noted he’ll always reminisce about Sunset’s runaway rout of Westview — the Apollos’ chief rival. Trailing 19-7 with 4:37 to go in the second quarter, Sunset scored two touchdowns in a rapid fire one-minute span to recover a 21-19 lead going into halftime. With the game’s energy slanting their way, the Apollos came out in the third quarter and scored 21 more points to open a 42-19 advantage, and eventually churn out a 42-27 win.

“It’s the game our team kind of clicked more, became more of a family and trusted each other,” said Brown. “With rivalries comes a lot of smack talk and head butting. It’s fun because it brings out the best in everybody during the game and everything they can do.”

Brown returned to his roots on Saturday, participating in the Les Schwab Bowl for the North squad — at tight end — and helped the North capture a 31-21 triumph. Brown said he liked PSU’s proximity to home, the Viking coaching staff and how he seemed to fit in with incumbent players.

The jump from Sunset to PSU is one Brown compared to going from the freshman to varsity level in high school, except “with much more difficulty”. Still, it’s a leap that Brown hopes is eased by suiting up solely at tight end, where Nigel Burton and the Vikings recruited the now graduated Apollo.

“It’s going to be a breath of fresh air,” said Brown. “But, defense is still fun. And, tackle is still pretty fun. I’d like to my sheer size will help me play, but I think my work ethic can put me past my competition.”