The Adrian varsity football team is looking to leverage as core group of experienced players into success this season. (The Enterprise/AUSTIN JOHNSON).

ADRIAN – Antelope Coach Bill Wortman is excited about the coming fall football season.

He should be.

The 2021 edition of the Adrian varsity football team will showcase eight returning starters, including impact player quarterback Conley Martin, and Wortman said that experienced core of players will be critical.

“We’ve got a good team with some good depth,” said Wortman.

A perennial 8-man football powerhouse the Antelopes clinched the 2019 state championship crown to cap an undefeated season. Adrian relies on a high-octane running and passing game that pays big dividends.

“We want to get better through the season but I think our players have the expectation of playing for a championship,” said Wortman.

Senior returning starters Toby Clow, Trevor Bertalotto, Sam Kiely, Riley Griffin, Misael Munoz, Gaven Bayes, Martin and Adan Bautista will be the core of the Adrian team.

“Conley (Martin) is good. He was a state player of the year as a sophomore. This year will probably be one of his best years, but I am excited for all of our seniors,” said Wortman.

Martin spearheaded the state championship victory over St. Paul in 2019. Martin amassed 201 yards rushing, scored four touchdowns and was 13 of 22 for 237 yards in that game.

The Antelopes began this season as road warriors.

Adrian defeated Camus Valley in Prineville Saturday, 46-8, but now face Crane at Crane Thursday at 3 p.m., then travel to Wallowa to take on the Cougars at 8 p.m. September 17.

Adrian’s first home game is Sept. 24 against Imbler at 7 p.m.

Wortman said no contest in the Antelope’s seven-game season will be easy.

“Crane and North Powder will be really tough. North Powder has a lot of good athletes and Crane is always good. Wallowa will be tough and Cove is older and a lot better,” said Wortman.

Wortman said success will “be a week-to-week thing.”

“We want to win every game for sure but you can’t overlook anybody,” said Wortman.

Another plus this year, said Wortman, is the number of athletes participating in football.

“We have 21 out total, which is a pretty good year. That’s a good number for 8-man football,” said Wortman.

One change this year will be the absence of the cooperative agreement with Jordan Valley for football. In the past Mustang players participated as part of the Adrian team but Wortman said another year of the co-op would have pushed Adrian into the Class 2A ranks because of numbers.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

In Adrian, a town, a team and football dreams

Adrian/Jordan Valley hammers Crane

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