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High School Football: Siuslaw Vikings Seeking Identity, Entering League Play

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Ask Siuslaw Vikings High football coach Tim Dodson what the strength of his team two games into the 2013 season, and he just can’t offer one. At least, not yet. But in its first league game of the year Friday against South Umpqua, Dodson should gain clarity about his team. At least, that’s what he’s banking on.

Siuslaw's defense tightens up against Scio in the 2013 season opener. (Courtesy of Siuslaw Vikings)
Siuslaw’s defense (blue and yellow) tightens up against Scio in the 2013 season opener. (Courtesy of Siuslaw Vikings)

“We’re still trying to figure out what we are doing,” Dodson said. “This game will begin to tell us about ourselves. They have a good running back, and their offensive and defensive fronts are very physical…For me, there is still a lot to be seen until we get a few more games under our belts…Like other teams, we expect to be as good as we possibly can be. And whether we win or lose doesn’t define that. I’ve had bad teams that have won a lot of games, and I’ve had good teams that have lost a lot.”

The Vikings (2-0) have wins over Scio, 37-16 in week one, and Illinois Valley, 28-13 last week. Siuslaw finished 8-2 last year, one of those losses was in the first round of the 4A playoffs. In his 18th season as the Vikings head coach, Dodson returns just six starters from last year: wide receiver and defensive back Sam Johnson (senior); tight end and linebacker J.B. Dodson (sr.); running back and linebacker Christian Jakobsen (junior); wide receiver and defensive back Brad Snow (jr.); and offensive and defensive linemen Nick McKenzie (sr.) and Mitchell Stonelake (sr.).

“Right now we’re struggling with the question of how physical of a team are we,” Dodson said. “…Offensively, we are still trying to figure out if we’re a power team or a finesse team.”

In its most recent win, Siuslaw’s offense ran for more than 200 yards and passed for more than 200 yards. At quarterback, the Vikings are led by junior Joseph Dotson, who passed for 249 yards and ran for two touchdowns against Illinois Valley.

South Umpqua comes into the 4A-3 Far West League game with a 1-1 record and off a 40-20 loss to North Valley. Last year, the Vikings went on the road to beat the Lancers, 48-18. The Lancers feature the speedy wide receiver Dakota Senger, the league champion in the 100-meter run last season. “South Umpqua causes us problems,” Dodson said. “I think they are very difficult up front, and then (Senger’s) speed, I lose sleep over that.”

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David has been a sports reporter for five of his 10 years as a professional journalist. Before moving to Eugene in 2010, he worked as a reporter with daily newspapers in Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, Minnesota and Florida. He is a journalism instructor at the University of Oregon and believes that strong reporting and compelling story telling will keep them reading.

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