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John L. Braese
It has been a few years for 3A Special District 4 football fans, but once again two Viking teams will meet. Umatilla returns to the 3A ranks after advancing to the playoffs in the 2A last season, taking the spot of Ontario who returned to the 4A ranks.
League Finish: 3rd
2022-23 Final State Ranking: 29th
Seniors Lost To Graduation: 4
Returnees: Scheduled to return are 9 sophomores, 8 juniors and 11 seniors
Season Opener: Friday, September 25 at Ontario jamboree
Comments: A young team last season returns as a seasoned squad this season for Matt Bruck. Burns opens the year versus three non-league teams the Hilanders fell to last season. One interesting note on the schedule to the movement of the Vale game to late September from it’s usual final game of the regular season in late October (Hilanders open league play versus Vale this year).
League Finish: 5th
2022-23 Final State Ranking: 37th
Seniors Lost To Graduation: 3
Returnees: Scheduled to return are 6 sophomores, 6 juniors and 5 seniors
Season Opener: Friday, September 1 at College Place, Washington
Comments: Last year was a tough one for the Pioneers that included a forfeit late in the season due to lack of players available to take the field. In a school where soccer rules supreme, McLoughlin again opens the football year with a game versus College Place, Washington. New coach Daniel Porter inherits a team that only scored 40 points during the entirety of last season. An increase in player numbers could spell a new year.
League Finish: 4th
2022-23 Final State Ranking: 28th
Seniors Lost To Graduation: 6
Returnees: Scheduled to return are 12 sophomores, 14 juniors and 11 seniors
Season Opener: Friday, September 1 at New Plymouth, Idaho
Comments: New head coach JoJo Sanchez returns to his alma mater to a squad that won only one league game last year. The Dawg defense allowed 246 points last season so defense will be a must fix this year. Nyssa opens the year just across the Idaho border versus New Plymouth, a game the Bulldogs dropped in the season opener last season by three points. Nyssa drops Melba, Idaho from this year’s schedule, replacing the Idaho team with Grant Union.
2022-23 Record: 8-3 Overall, 5-1 League
League Finish: 2nd in 2A Special District 4
2022-23 Final State Ranking: 8th
Seniors Lost To Graduation: 10
Returnees: Scheduled to return are 6 sophomores, 4 juniors and 7 seniors
Season Opener: Friday, September 1 at Tri Cities Prep, Washington
Comments: The Vikings return to the 3A ranks after playing to a 5-1 record in the 2A last season, winning in the first round of the playoffs before falling in the quarterfinals to Oakland. Umatilla last played in the 3A during the 2019-20 season. Coach Kyle Sipe leads the Vikings on the field without the services of 10 players lost to graduation from last season’s successful squad. Umatilla will welcome Vale and MacHi at home while playing Burns and Nyssa on the road.
2022-23 Record: 7-3 overall, 4-0 league
League Finish: 1st
2022-23 Final State Ranking: 11th
Seniors Lost To Graduation: 9
Returnees: Scheduled to return are 9 sophomores, 21 juniors and 12 seniors
Season Opener: Saturday, Sept. 2 versus Santiam Christian in Umatilla
Comments: The push towards a state title ended last year for the Vikings after a two-point loss to Kennedy in the 3A quarterfinals. Vale is back this year with a team heavy on experience and with a tenured coaching staff. The Vikings open the season versus Santiam Christian on a neutral field (Umatilla), meeting an Eagles team that finished 9-2 last year with a season ending ranking of fifth. Like Vale, Santiam Christian also ended the season with a loss in the quarterfinals, falling to Banks.
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