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2017 Football: Experienced Cardinals Ready to Compete

Winlock players listen to instruction during a preseason practice.

2017 Football: Experienced Cardinals Ready to Compete

When Ernie Samples showed up for the first day of preseason football practice this year, he was greeted by a barrage of familiar faces. Here at the beginning of his second season as head honcho for Winlock football, that dedicated turnout has imbued Samples with hope that his charges will be ready to make some noise in the 2B River Division this year.

The Cardinals return eight defensive starters and seven offensive starters from last year’s squadron, including a host of battle tested seniors and juniors. With a rash of nonleague games versus South Bend, Santian (Oregon), Ocosta and Chief Leschi at the front end of their schedule, the hope in Egg Town is that the Cardinals will be able to get a good start out of the gate and then see how far they can ride the ensuing momentum.

“The winning will come, eventually,”  said Samples. “Hopefully it will be this year because I’ve got a great group of seniors.”

Samples is particularly excited to see what kind of mayhem his two-headed backfield comprised of seniors Seth Lindsey and Dawson Hall can inflict upon their fores this season. A pair of 6-foot-2, 210-pound running backs, Hall and Lindsey offer two divergent running styles. The fleet footed Hall is prone to cut an edge and run away from his pursuers in giddyup fashion while Lindsey is just as likely to drop a shoulder and go right through the chest of would-be tacklers.

“It looks pretty good. It’s pretty talented back there,” said Samples of his backfield. “If we can just get a block or two we might be alright.”

The Cardinals’ base flexbone offense will likely be orchestrated by junior quarterback Anthony Clevenger. Clevenger handled most of the signal calling duties for Winlock last season but Samples noted that the Cardinals have been holding a quarterback competition this summer to see who rises to the top. The other two Cardinals getting reps under center are sophomore Bryce Cline and senior Nicholas Patching.

“All three of them will be on the field, it’s just a matter of where and who will be the point man,” said Samples.

The Cardinals 5-2 defense will rely on a  contingent of playmakers mixed in around the field. Seth Lindsey will play multiple positions, including nose guard, linebacker and defensive end, in an effort to wreak havoc on confused offenses while Michael Wilson will be holding down the middle of the linebacking corps. The Patching brothers will be hanging out on their cornerback islands, and Nathan Suhrbier will be working to keep things contained from his defensive end position.

Samples said he also expects to get production out of newcomers Alijha Sanders and Aiden Freitas. Sanders is a freshman transfer from Oregon who will slot in at center and Freitas is a freshman tight end and defensive end. With only about 24 players in camp, Samples has been excited to see what other players may find ways to contribute to the team, whether it’s on the field or off.

“The biggest thing this season I’ve been stressing is brotherhood,” said Samples. “The team of extraordinary gentlemen is what I’m calling it.”


Winlock Cardinals

SWW 2B River Division

Coach: Ernie Samples (2nd)

2016: 0-9 (missed playoffs)

Returning Starters: Defense — Nathan Porter (DL), Seth Lindsey, (DL/LB), Nathan Suhrbier (DL), Michael Wilson (LB), Garrett Legg (LB), Noah Patching (CB), Nicholas Patching (CB), Anthony Clevenger (SS); Offense — Anthony Clevenger (QB), Seth Lindsey (RB), Dawson Hall (RB), Mason Brown (WR), Nathan Porter (G), Nicholas Patching (SB), Noah Patching (WR)

9/1 South Bend

9/8 at Santian (Mill City, Ore.)

9/15 at Ocosta

9/22 Chief Leschi

9/29 at Kalama

10/6 Toutle Lake

10/13 at Mossyrock

10/20 Wahkiakum

10/27 at Toledo

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