Oregon's best high school football teams, preseason players of the year and games to watch.
Oregon Preseason Top 10
1. Sheldon Irish (Eugene)
The Irish lost some key personnel from the 2012 Class 6A state championship team, but Sheldon has proven it can reload and remain among the state’s elite. Seniors Mitch Herbert, Tanner Davies, Liam Talty and Yadie Dunmore will form the core of Lane Johnson’s squad.
2. Central Catholic Rams (Portland)
Central Catholic made it to the 6A quarterfinals in 2012 with a very young team. The Rams bring most of their talent back, led by two-way lineman and U.S. Army All-American Connor Humphreys.
3. Jesuit Crusaders (Portland)
Jesuit lost its entire offensive line — and all five signed with Division I schools — but most of the Crusaders’ skill players are back. Linebacker Joey Alfieri leads the defense.
4. Southridge Skyhawks (Beaverton)
Southridge made a surprising run to the 6A quarterfinals last season. Now a year older, the Skyhawks are poised for a deeper run.
5. Tigard Tigers
The Tigers rely on aggressive defense and a ball-control offense. A.J. Hotchkins is a two-way threat at fullback and linebacker.
6. Roosevelt Roughriders (Seattle)
What used to be one of the state’s worst programs is now loaded. Five players had Division I offers going into the summer.
7. Lake Oswego Lakers
The 2012 6A runners-up lost a ton of talent, but one of the state’s best coaching staffs always finds a way to make the playoffs.
8. West Albany Bulldogs (Albany)
Senior running back Jake LaCoste hopes to break the state rushing record held by current Oregon freshman Thomas Tyner.
9. Lakeridge Pacers (Lake Oswego)
The Pacers struggled in 2012 while playing a very difficult schedule. The ’13 club brings back almost every key player.
10. Sherwood Bowmen
The 5A powerhouse program lost a ton of talent, but the Bowmen bring back some key pieces on both lines.
Three Can't Miss Matchups
9.6 – Central Catholic at Sheldon
This could be a preview of a playoff rematch. Sheldon won last year in the regular season, 33-26.
9.6 – West Albany at Sherwood
Two 5A powers clash in a game that will feature two of the state’s top rushing teams.
9.20 – Central Catholic at Jesuit
College coaches always flock to the Holy War to scout some of the best players in the state.
2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Jake LaCoste, RB, West Albany
Senior, 5-11, 185
Thomas Tyner stole the headlines in recent years, but LaCoste is closing in on 6,000 yards rushing and 60 touchdowns in what has been a brilliant career at West Albany. Last year, he averaged 11.1 yards per carry en route to a 3,000-yard season.
2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Joey Alfieri, LB, Jesuit (Portland)
Senior, 6-3, 220
Alfieri enters his third year starting at Jesuit and has developed into the state’s No. 2 prospect. He recorded over 120 tackles as a junior and is also the starting fullback. Alfieri has offers from Oregon State, Stanford, California and Washington, among others.
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