The Hornets opened their season with a big win over Echo and then kept the momentum going on the way to a 7-1 mark and a playoff game against Powers. (Submitted photo).
HARPER – Harper football coach David Marker said he wasn’t too sure how the season was going to go.
He said he wasn’t worried about how his young team would perform. He knew, he said, that the Hornets carried a lot of potential.
“I thought we’d be tough but to be as tough as we were and as dominant in the playoff game . . . well, we are pretty excited,” said Marker.
The Hornets capped a 7-1 season with a commanding 71-8 victory over Powers last weekend, a win that put the exclamation mark on the school’s first season as a six-man football team.
Marker said the season was full of highlights but the one element that sticks out is how his team adapted to the format.
“They just seemed to take charge,” said Marker.
His players showed that attitude in their first game of the season.
“I didn’t know if we’d get past Echo,” said Marker.
The Hornets recorded a 38-13 victory and used the momentum to go on a five-game winning streak.
“I think it was a major win for our program,” said Marker.
Harper lost only one game – 31-6 to Joseph – before defeating Powers in a cross-over playoff game.
Last weekend Madras hosted a one-game six-man playoff where Harper defeated Powers.
Powers was the No. 2 six-man team – with a 4-1 league mark – from the west side of the state. Joseph, the No. 1 team from eastern Oregon defeated McKenzie, the No. 1 team from the west side, 64-31.
Marker said making the change from eight-man football to the six-man variation of the game was interesting and a lot of fun.
Six-man football is usually played on a field 80 yards by 40 yards wide field and is fast moving.
All six players are eligible to be receivers and on offense three lineman are set up before the ball is snapped.
“Everyone who played it loved it,” said Marker.
“Once the ball is snapped everyone is live to carry or receive the football. It is fun to coach,” said Marker. “It is a wide-open game where speed kills.”
Harper will play six-man football for at least one more year. After that the Oregon School Activities Association will decide whether to continue the format.
Marker said he thinks OSAA will keep the program.
Prospects for next season are bright, said Marker.
“We will return five out of six players on defense, four out of six on offense,” said Marker.
This year’s squad included Dalton Bixby, Ryan Talbot, Nano DeSantiago, Corbin Palmer, Dawson Lunt, Nick Joyce, Chris Williams, Jesus Morales, Carl Edmondson, Rudy Gonzales, Jeremiah Wright and Trevor Fugate.
Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.