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PHS football: Caleb Jensen

Quarterback Caleb Jensen is one of the Philomath players that saw significant time with both the JV and varsity.

Hey Warriors fans, today is Thursday, Nov. 7.

Philomath High’s football program heads into the offseason after again being left out of the postseason party. With one of the smaller student populations around, it can be slim pickings when it comes to players. Philomath also has other fall programs that draws pretty good among the male students — boys soccer and cross-country.

Coach Tony Matta hopes to just have a chance to develop players. Heading into this season, he was shooting for 50 players to build his roster.

“We started the year at 37, which is what we had the year before, and then we had a couple of season-ending injuries for some kids,” Matta said. “It’s tough when your numbers are that low.”

Matta hopes to see an influx of players from next year’s freshman class.

“I think it’s a little bit bigger group. If we could get 15 freshmen every year, even if they haven’t played before at that JV level for us, they can learn and develop,” Matta said. “Yeah, we can’t throw those guys out on a Friday night but that just helps.”

Last spring, Matta thought he might have a chance at getting close to that 50 on the roster.

“In the spring, we had about 10 more kids on the list that expressed an interest but for whatever reason decided not to come out,” Matta said. ‘So we’ve got coaches and kids who have to recruit more kids.”

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Matta believes they’re out there.

“I know there are kids walking our halls that could contribute,” he said. “We have to get those guys to give us a shot to show them what it’s about. I’ve talked to kids lots of times about just being a part of something and helping turn something around and really making the school year better when you do that.”

One of the issues when there are not enough players is some have to play in both the JV and varsity games. As a result, Monday’s varsity practice doesn’t involve those cross-over players.

“Monday should be looking at Friday’s opponent and we have to put that off until Tuesday so everybody’s there,” Matta said.

Like many sports, it can be a numbers game but more noticeable in something like football with 22 positions on the field. Even though many of those players go both ways, football teams need good depth so there is not a dramatic drop-off when it’s time for next man up.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the next game.

— Brad Fuqua, Philomath Express

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