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Welcome to the Rock
Pilot Rock High
School hires three
new coaches to helm
By BRETT KANE
PILOT ROCK — Three Pilot Rock
coaches are about to take on their ﬁ rst-ever
high school head coaching gigs.
Starting this fall, Danielle Baleztena will
take over the varsity volleyball program,
while Tyler Zyph and AmyLee Perrine are set
to helm the boys and girls basketball teams in
the winter, respectively. Zyph will also head
the Rockets’ cross-country team.
Baleztena replaces Elainna Howland, who
held the position for seven seasons. Zyph is
taking over for former boys basketball coach
Eric Smidt, and Perrine is stepping in for Dan
Deist. Both Smidt and Perrine guided the
Rockets on the court for two seasons.
The new coaching trio was ofﬁ cially hired
in the spring after the most recent basketball
season came to a close.
“Right after the season ended, we had
some changes that were being made,” Rock-
ets Athletic Director TJ Presley said. “We did
a big search.”
Zyph had previously coached at Clara
Brownell Middle School in Umatilla. He also
has experience teaching physical education
“Tyler is coming to us with experience
as a teacher,” Presley said. “He’s a very
Staﬀ photo by Kathy Aney
AmyLee Perrine and Danielle Baleztena start this year as head girls basketball and volleyball
coaches at Pilot Rock High School. Tyler Zyph, not pictured, will helm the boys basketball
Born and raised in Pendleton, Zyph
attended college at Blue Mountain, Lane, and
Eastern Oregon University. As a Mountain-
eer, he earned his Masters in Teaching before
taking his ﬁ rst job at Clara Brownell. He held
the job for three years before making the
move to Pilot Rock.
“(Pilot Rock) is a lot closer to my fam-
ily,” he said, “so, I just thought it’d be a bet-
ter move to come back home. The coaching
opportunity is deﬁ nitely the cherry on top.”
The Rockets are coming off a season
where they went 3-19 overall and 2-10 in the
Blue Mountain Conference.
“As soon as I got hired, my main thing
was that I wanted to meet the kids,” Zyph
said. “Being local, I’ve seen Pilot Rock play.
I knew what kind of kids I was going to
receive. I wanted to get their pros and cons of
the last season.”
Zyph got the ball rolling right away. He
formed a summer basketball league, opening
the gym for potential varsity Rockets to come
“A bunch of guys stepped up,” Zyph said.
“I wanted us to get to know each other, and to
get familiar with the offensive things we plan
on doing. Hopefully, we’ll start something
more structured. We hit the ground running.”
For help, Zyph didn’t have to look far.
This winter, he’s enlisting his father Bill as
an assistant coach. Bill, Zyph said, has a few
years of college experience under his belt.
“It’s a dream come true to coach with
him,” Zyph said. “The kids bought into
what’s going on. They’re excited. I’m getting
messages every day about going over stuff
and getting extra shots. I’m very conﬁ dent
in them and in myself. I want to provide new
blood, new opportunities, and a new face.”
Baleztena is following a season in which
the Rockets’ volleyball team ﬁ nished ﬁ fth of
seven in the BMC standings.
“We’re going to improve the morale of vol-
leyball in Pilot Rock,” she said. “We’ve been
in a slump for a long time. We’re just going to
have to start winning and get lots of people
involved. When I came to these high school
games, I’d only see about 10 people in the
stands. I want to ﬁ ll those stands again.”
A BMCC graduate, Baleztena’s history is
rooted in Pilot Rock. She played on the vol-
leyball team for her freshman and senior
years. Her husband Mike coaches the football
team. Her daughter Bre plays basketball, and
her son Bryson runs track. She’s also coached
volleyball and girls basketball for the Rockets
at the junior high level for a decade.
“When I applied for the (high school
See Coaches, Page B2
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Ducks WR Juwan Johnson will line
up at slot in certain receiver packages
By JAMES CREPEA
EUGENE — Juwan Johnson
gives Oregon something it was
sorely lacking last season at wide
The 6-foot-4, 231-pound John-
son is the prototypical X receiver.
His size, speed and catch radius are
the things offensive coordinators
and wide receiver coaches fantasize
about for the outside position.
While Johnson has been with the
starters at the X position, where he
had 25 catches for 352 yards and a
touchdown while at Penn State last
season and 54 receptions for 701
yards and a score the year before,
Oregon is also experimenting with
the graduate transfer at slot, a role
he has never played before.
“I’ve always been outside so
going inside is a bit of a change,”
Johnson said. “Deﬁ nitely different.
I’ve never even thought of playing
inside. It’s a new world in there. You
can go inside or outside (running a
route). I know outside you can go
both ways, but inside it’s a whole
different world, you got to face
safeties and corners and read line-
backers. It’s such a different world.
I commend guys like Mycah (Pitt-
man) and (Jaylon) Redd, you got to
play smart to play that position. It’s
deﬁ nitely raising my IQ of playing
football and letting me go out there
and do some things I’ve never done
The personnel package with
See Ducks, Page B2
AP Photo/Doug McSchooler, File
Wide receiver Juwan Johnson warms up before an October 2018 game
in Bloomington, Indiana. Johnson played at Penn State before trans-
ferring to Oregon.
Stoudamire bets on himself
By NICK DASCHEL
Stoudamire is one of 29 true fresh-
men on Oregon State’s football ros-
ter, a walk-on at that.
But his last name is as familiar to
Oregonians as anyone on the team.
Cam is the brother of former
Portland Trail Blazer great Damon
Stoudamire was 26 and well into
a 14-year NBA playing career when
his father, Willie, told him he was
going to have a half brother. Wil-
lie and his family lived near Atlanta
when Cam was born.
Fast-forward 18 years later, and
the brothers are as connected as ever,
but vastly different.
Damon is 5 feet 10 and nick-
named Mighty Mouse, a basket-
ball star at Portland’s Wilson High
School and the University of Ari-
zona before hitting the NBA. Cam is
taller at 6-1, and although he played
basketball at Roosevelt High, also in
Portland, his sport is football. Col-
leges were only moderately inter-
ested in Cam, who took a walk-on
offer from the Beavers.
The guy with scholarship offers
aplenty tells Brother Walk-on he can
become anything he wants to be.
“He has great size. He’s a pretty
good athlete. He’s got genes. That’s
what I tell him. There’s no deny-
ing that,” Damon Stoudamire said.
“My only advice to him was bet on
yourself. When you’re an athlete and
you’re trying to make it, you have to
have so much conﬁ dence in yourself.
It can’t waver.”
Stoudamire encouraged Cam to take
a long look at Oregon State after it
offered a walk-on spot. It did not
escape Damon’s notice that Bea-
vers coach Jonathan Smith once was
Cam, a former walk-on at OSU who
became one of the school’s most suc-
cessful and popular quarterbacks.
“My whole thing with him
was, you’re playing for a dude who
believes in guys like you,” Damon
said. “Your head coach wasn’t sup-
posed to make it. Not only did he
make it, he’s was all-conference. He
bet on himself. You have to feel the
Cam Stoudamire lived in Geor-
gia most of his life, moving to Port-
land midway through high school
to attend Central Catholic, and then
Roosevelt for his senior year. Damon
has been on the move for much of
Cam’s life, ﬁ rst ﬁ nishing his NBA
playing career, followed by several
stops as a coach.
Damon, now coach at Univer-
sity of the Paciﬁ c in Stockton, Cal-
ifornia, says he would not describe
his relationship with Cam as “close,”
but the two began increasing their
communication after Cam moved to
“I think we’re ﬁ ne,” Damon said.
“Cam, he’s just trying to ﬁ gure it all
out right now. When we do talk, I
just try to tell him, you got to work
your ass off. Nothing is given in life.”
Cam Stoudamire was not able to
comment for this story, as Oregon
State does not allow ﬁ rst-year fresh-
men to speak to the media during
Roosevelt coach Tim Price
says Cam Stoudamire probably
fell through the recruiting cracks
See Beavers, Page B2
Wagner returns to practice for Seahawks
By TIM BOOTH
RENTON, Wash. — Bobby
Wagner was back in pads and
on the practice field for the
Seattle Seahawks on Friday
although it remains unclear
when, or if, the All-Pro line-
backer will see any action
during the preseason.
Wagner missed most of the
past two weeks following a
minor procedure on his knee.
He took part in Seattle’s mock
game on Aug. 3 then became a
The question now is whether
Wagner will see the ﬁ eld in one
of Seattle’s ﬁ nal three presea-
son games. It’s unlikely he will
play Sunday night when the Sea-
hawks face the Vikings in Min-
nesota, but there’s a chance he
could play in the third game
against the Los Angeles Char-
gers. Seattle has traditionally not
played many — if any — start-
ers in the ﬁ nal preseason game.
“I’m ready. I’m good,” Wag-
ner said. “I deﬁ nitely want to get
out there because we don’t get a
chance to tackle at practice. I’ve
been trying to get as many men-
tal reps as I can but it would be
good to hit somebody.”
Seattle Seahawks line-
backer Bobby Wagner
heads to the locker room
after giving autographs
following NFL football
training camp on Aug. 5
in Renton, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File