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Warnock led Joseph to 1A state playoffs
By Casey Kellas
JOSEPH — B.J. Warnock was the foundation of a Joseph team that finished 5-5 overall before losing to Camas Valley in the 1A state football playoffs. Warnock was explosive under center.
Not only did he earn team MVP honors, he was also a first-team all-Old Oregon League quarterback and a second team all-league defensive back. This was the third consecutive season that Warnock has garnered post-season awards.
In 2010 he was first-team defensive back and an honorable mention quarterback, while in 2009 he was an honorable mention at wide receiver.
Following this past season, Warnock took part in the East-West Class 1A All-Star game at Community Stadium in La Grande June 23. Warnock had a long reception that led to the East’s go-ahead touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in regulation.
McDaniel sparked Wallowa
By Casey Kellas
WALLOWA — Wallowa’s Dusty McDaniel was one of the most dynamic players in the Old Oregon League over the first half of the season. The senior quarterback kicked off the season with a 562-yard performance against Powers.
McDaniel completed 14 of 23 passes for 241 yards. But he did the most damage with his feet, jetting for 321 yards on the ground. McDaniel finished the game with eight total touchdowns in a 76-46 victory.
But he didn’t stop there.
McDaniel followed that performance with a 406-yard outburst in a 76-16 win over Union. McDaniel ran for 257 yards on 18 attempts and completed seven passes for 149 yards. He added another eight touchdowns to bump his season total to 16 in just two games.
McDaniel went on to miss a string of games for the Cougars over the course of the season, however, as Wallowa lost five of its final six games. But what McDaniel accomplished in just a handful of performances was nonetheless impressive.
Following the season, McDaniel was honored for his role on defense, being named a first-team all-league linebacker. He was tabbed as a second-team all-OOL running back and earned team MVP honors. McDaniel also took part in the East-West eight-man all-star game June 23 at Community stadium in La Grande.
Tigers’ Lister was a force on both sides of La Grande line
By Casey Kellas
LA GRANDE — Jon Lister was one of the senior leaders for the La Grande football team in 2011. Lister was a mainstay on an offensive line that opened up holes for a potent rushing attack.
With a cavalry of shifty and speedy running backs lining up behind him, Lister seemed to always come up with the key block that would spring one of his teammates for a long gain.
Lister was also a force on the defensive side of the ball for LHS, and was always in on the action.
La Grande went 3-6 overall in 2011 under new head coach Dave Collinsworth. The Tigers finished 1-2 in the Greater Oregon League and fell to Stayton 47-11 in the first round of the state playoffs.
Versatile Jacobs tops La Grande
By Casey Kellas
LA GRANDE — La Grande’s Erik Jacobs was one of the factor backs in the Tigers’ backfield in 2011. Jacobs was used in a variety of ways and made a lot of key plays to help LHS to victory.
In the season opener against Vale, Jacobs had 29 yards rushing on 11 carries and scored one touchdown in a 25-19 victory for La Grande. But one of his best performances of the season came against Greater Oregon League rival McLoughlin.
Jacobs rushed for 155 yards on 17 carries and scored two key touchdowns in the third quarter to blow the game open, leading to a 42-21 win for the Tigers. La Grande finished last season 3-6 overall and 1-2 in the GOL.
LHS had its season come to an end against Stayton in the state playoffs, 47-11.
Jacobs was also a standout on the baseball diamond for the Tigers and played in a state all-star series earlier this summer.
Fullerton had stellar senior season
By Casey Kellas
IMBLER — Imbler’s versatile Andrew Fullerton had a stellar senior campaign this past season. Fullerton completed 38 of 67 passes for 683 yards. He also tossed eight touchdowns to just four interceptions.
But where Fullerton really made an impact was with his legs.
The shifty back ran for 1,488 yards on 144 attempts. He found the end zone 20 times while averaging 148.8 yards per game for the 8-2 Panthers.
Fullerton’s best game of the season came against Pine-Eagle in the eighth game of the year. Fullerton carried the ball just 16 times, but averaged 22.3 yards per carry to finish with 358 yards on the ground.
He found the end zone six times in all in the 74-30 victory.
Fullerton followed that performance with a 22-carry, 254-yard effort against Triangle Lake the next week. He found paydirt three times in a 50-6 romp.
The 5-foot, 10-inch senior also made an impact on defense, finishing the year with three interceptions.
Fullerton was a first-team all-Old Oregon League selection as a running back, defensive back and returner. He was also an honorable mention all-state running back and defensive back.
The East-West Shrine game will be the second football game of the summer for Fullerton. He also played in the East-West eight-man all-star game June 23 at Community Stadium in La Grande.
The East won the game 24-20 after Fullerton scored the game-winning touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. For his efforts, Fullerton was named the MVP of the game.
He scored two touchdowns and had an interception on defense.
Lynn anchored Enterprise offense
ENTERPRISE — Enterprise’s Marcus Lynn was an offensive force for the 5-4 Outlaws in 2011. Lynn carried the majority of the load, receiving 164 of the team’s 347 carries on the ground.
He rushed for 1,401 yards and found the end zone 16 times while averaging 155.7 yards per game.
Lynn eclipsed 200 yards rushing three times last season. Against Knappa he ran for 241 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Then against Elgin, Lynn rushed 19 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns. But his biggest output of the season came against Stanfield Oct. 28.
Lynn went off for 288 yards on 25 carries, finding the end zone three times.
He wasn’t just limited to rushing the ball last season, though. Lynn completed two of his four passes on the year, including one touchdown. He also caught eight passes for 74 yards.
Lynn’s presence was also felt on the defensive side of the football. He had 15 tackles and assisted on 20 more. The defensive back also came up with six interceptions and recorded one sack.
Lynn was named a first-team all-Blue Mountain Conference running back and defensive back.
Baty was Enterprise defensive stalwart
ENTERPRISE — Michael Baty was a defensive stalwart for Enterprise in 2011. Baty had a team-high 117 tackles for the season.
He finished with 47 individual tackles and assisted on 70 more. He was the only Outlaw to have more than 100 tackles last year.
Baty also had four sacks and one fumble recovery. He had double-digit total tackles in seven games.
Baty had a season-high 20 tackles in a loss to Weston-McEwen, but his most disruptive game of the season may have been against Irrigon when he had three sacks.
He was named a first-team all-Blue Mountain Conference linebacker, as well as a first-team all-conference offensive lineman. He was an honorable mention all-state selection at linebacker.
Parker was all-around force for Leopards
COVE — Cove’s Boss Parker was an all-around force for the Leopards in 2011. Parker’s main contribution was on the defensive side of the ball, where he had a team-high 96 total tackles.
He had 23 individual tackles and assisted on 73 more. His seven sacks were a team-best and resulted in a loss of 42 yards.
Parker also forced four fumbles and recovered two more.
But he wasn’t only limited to defense.
Parker had 18 carries on offense for 139 yards and one touchdown. His lone catch on the season resulted in a 22-yard touchdown.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Parker was named a first-team all-Old Oregon League linebacker and offensive lineman after last season.
He also participated in the East-West eight-man all-star game.
Baker standout ready to play one more game on home field
By Gerry Steele
Colten Richards, a three-sport athlete at Baker High School, is looking forward to playing one last football game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, his home turf for four seasons.
Richards, the son of Dave and Beth Richards of Baker City, will get that chance Saturday as a member of the East squad at the 60th annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game.
“I’m pretty excited about getting to play in front of the home fans one more time,” Richards said.
“But it also will be a little bittersweet, being my final game.”
Richards, who starred in football, baseball and basketball at BHS, got the word he had been selected for the game back in January.
“I got a letter in the mail,” he said.
“I got a call from my mom. She said something from the Shriners had come in the mail. She opened it and said I had been selected.
“I was pretty excited. It was something I’d wanted to get for a long time,” Richards said.
Richards, who will attend Brigham Young Idaho at Rexburg, Idaho, this fall, says football is his favorite of the three sports he plays.
Richards, who is undecided on a college major, said he has had numerous highlights during his high school career.
He cited the Bulldogs’ state championship his junior year as the No. 1 memory.
“That whole year was fun,” he said.
Playoff games with Sweet Home and Ontario also stand out.
“This past year was fun as well,” he said. “But it was different being a senior. I had to be more of a team leader.”
Richards said he has always looked up to Baker head football coach Dave Johnson, and former teammate Dekker Smith.
“One of the guys I tried to play like was Dekker Smith,” he said. “Doing everything as hard as you can.”
Richards played both linebacker and running back for the Bulldogs.
“I used to like defense more, but this past year I preferred offense more,” he said.
As for visiting the Portland Shriner’s hospital, Richards knows it will be different.
“It will be a life-changing experience,” he said.
“I’ve been told it changes your whole perspective of things.”
Richards plans to soak up the entire Shrine experience.
“Gere Richardson told me I’d make some of my best friends the rest of my life there.”
Richardson and her husband, Joel, a Baker assistant football coach and head basketball coach, got to see their son, Trace, play in the game a couple of years ago. And, Richardson’s nephew, Dalton Richardson of Phoenix, will be a teammate of Richards’ this year.
Richards was named Greater Oregon League offensive and defensive player of the year as a senior, and was second team in both at the state level.
Richards will have a busy early August. A few days after the Shrine game he will have surgery on a shoulder that he injured last basketball season.
“I could have had it done already, but the type of injury I had I can play through it,” Richards said.
Richards said he would like to be remembered as someone who “worked hard; put it out there on the line for my team.
“As someone who didn’t leave anything on the field.”