Football season opened for two of the county's teams with both Wallowa and Enterprise playing in Wallowa High School's annual jamboree. Two other teams participated - the Ione-Arlington Cardinals and the Cove Leopards. Teams rotated, playing both offense and defense with the ball spotted near midfield and the offense allowed 12 plays. While penalties were called, no one kept track of downs or scoring except the coaches.
The evening moved quickly as coaches experimented with different lineups and plays on both offense and defense. No rancor was displayed on the field and many players of opposing teams helped each other up off the ground or congratulated each other for successful plays or tackles.
Through the rotation sequences, each team's offense and defense eventually faced that of the other participating teams. While all the teams had their moments, Wallowa and Enterprise both looked sharp. Cougars' coach, Matt Brockamp liked what he saw on the field.
"I think it was a good time by all the teams that showed up," he said. "I appreciated the teams that showed up. It was a lot of fun." He said that the team discarded the six-team jamboree from last year and settled on four teams, which worked out well. He laughingly described six teams as, "a little busy."
The WHS coach also enjoyed his team's performance.
"I think our kids were more physical than any team that was there," he said. "We'll be a physical football team and fun to watch." Brockamp also noted that he saw some holes that needed patching on both sides of the ball and planned to make some adjustments.
Brockamp complimented the way Cove played, particularly in light of the fact that they had a very young team. Speaking of young, for the Cougars, freshman Lute Ramsden, sporting the number 15, as did his graduated quarterback brother Gus, played a fair amount of time at the QB position, shining brightly there as well as on defense.
"Lute did a really great job," Brockamp said.
The coach also enjoyed getting to play Enterprise, which dropped to eight-man level last year, due to a player shortage. Enterprise is a 2A school and therefore in a separate league with other 2A schools fielding eight-man squads. Joseph dropped to six-man football, which also put them out of the running for the jamboree.
"It was fun getting to play an in-county team again," Brockamp said. "The opportunity to play someone from Wallowa County was something we looked forward to."
The Outlaws played well on both sides of the ball. Junior Trace Evans showed plenty of mettle on both sides of the ball, making crunching tackles on defense while breaking numerous tackles on offense as a running back.
Brockamp noted that while the jamboree was a pleasant experience, the Cougars will have their hands full on Friday, Sept 6 as nemesis, second-ranked St. Paul, will visit the Cougars' lair.
They'll be loaded," Brockamp said. "We'll play hard and get after them."
The coach said he was sure all the teams had a good time and that he appreciated everyone's efforts, particularly those of his own team.
"I think everyone enjoyed the experience," Brockamp said. "It was good food and good fun and good football. I liked the way our kids played and represented Wallowa football."