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Fall sports preview 2013: North Marion football


The Huskies are vying for their first playoff apperance since 2009, when they competed in the Capital Conference.

by: PHIL HAWKINS / PAMPLIN MEDIA - Under second-year coach Doug Bilodeau (center), the North Marion football team is seeking its first playoff apperance since 2009 and its first playoff win since 1982.Gladstone and La Salle Prep have claimed the top two spots in the Tri-Valley Conference in each of the past three years. The third spot has been up for grabs every year.

If coach Doug Bilodeau has his way, that’s where North Marion comes in.

“The top three teams are obviously La Salle, Gladstone, and hopefully North Marion this year, but we don’t know week-to-week,” Bilodeau said. “We’re not going to call that yet.”

In his second year with North Marion, Bilodeau is trying to snap the program’s streak of three years without a playoff appearance. It has not reached the postseason since 2009, when the team was part of the Capital Conference. Since that season, North Marion has gone 1-14 in conference play, including 0-5 in 2012 after three nonleague wins in a row.

“We had a tough fight against Molalla, a tough fight against Madras, but those other games I felt we did good,” Bilodeau said. “I felt that what we did against those good teams with what we had, we did OK. The win wasn’t there, but the competitive attitude was.”

As much as Bilodeau wants his team to be competitive within the Tri-Valley Conference in 2013, he doesn’t look ahead to the end of the season. His expectations for the team come as he judges his players based on how they perform at practice day-to-day.

“We worry about what the now is,” he said. “When we leave the field, did we get better or worse? And if we got better, we raise the bar for tomorrow. If we got worse, what do we need to do to improve?”

This year, the Huskies return many quality athletes to run Bilodeau’s wing-T offense. Senior tight end Tristan Wampole will take on a larger role on offense after spending last season as a tackle. He’ll be joined by Emry Patterson and Hunter Beachy to give North Marion a trio of returning players on the offensive line.

The Huskies will be blocking for quarterback Ben Crumley, who moves into the starting role for his senior season. Tyler Saucedo will move from tailback to fullback this year, and Kyle Williamson returns for his senior season as a wide receiver and defensive back a year after earning second-team all-conference honors.

“Kyle’s a shifty little guy,” Bilodeau said. “He’s very quick. He’s one of the fastest guys on the team.”

The offense will be predicated on controlling the ball on the ground and using the team’s speed on the offensive line to attack opposing defenses and confuse them with play-action and misdirection.

“We have smaller people and quicker people, and the wing-T is designed for that with a lot of pulling guards,” Bilodeau said. “We’re not the shotgun. We’re not what you see on TV at all. It’s more of an old-school kind of offense, but it fits our personnel.”

While Bilodeau would like to see his team improve on the win total from 2012 and challenge for a play-in game this year, the team’s final record at the end of the season is secondary to how the Huskies mature as young men, he said.

“I don’t want to talk wins and losses — I want to talk improvement, attitude and those positive things, and make the winning a by-product of what we do,” he said.




Coach: Doug Bilodeau (second year)

Last year: 3-5 (0-5 in the Tri-Valley Conference); no playoffs

Key players: Tristan Wampole, Emry Patterson, Hunter Beachy, Ben Crumley, Kyle Williamson

Key losses: Kelln Pippert, Wyatt Moore, Matt McLaren, Lucas Randall, Zac Sisson

Outlook: With a year of experience under coach Doug Bilodeau, North Marion is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

First league game: 7 p.m. Sept. 27 against Madras (at Culver)


9/13 Yamhill-Carlton 7 p.m.

9/20 JUNCTION CITY 7 p.m.

9/27 Madras * # 7 p.m.

10/4 LA SALLE PREP * 7 p.m.

10/10 Estacada * 7 p.m.

10/18 MOLALLA * 7 p.m.

10/25 Gladstone * 7 p.m.

* Tri-Valley Conference game

# at Culver High School