Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, June 03, 2015, Image 13

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photo by Matt Hollander
Bill Thompson, co-President of the South Lane Youth Football Association, welcomes 90 kids to Saturday's clinic.
photo by James Cloutier
Steve Prefontaine at the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials
Continued from 1B
a biography all tell his story.
Local artist James Cloutier is
not a sports photographer, but
thanks to a friend in the Uni-
versity of Oregon Athletic De-
partment, he got the chance of
a lifetime to shoot the 1972 U.S.
Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Some of the sport's greatest
talents came to Eugene for that
meet, including Jim Ryan, Frank
Shorter, and, of course, Pre.
But Cloutier, an unseasoned
track fan, was none the wiser.
“There was a certain naiveté
on my part, which maybe was
helpful. I wasn’t focusing on the
superstars,” he said.
However, even at the time
Pre transcended the sport, and
Cloutier knew to train his cam-
era on the hometown favorite.
“He was so independent. He
wasn’t going to be anyone’s lap-
dog, and he fl aunted that on the
track,” Cloutier recalled.
Cloutier later turned one of
those photographs into a draw-
Youth Football clinic draws large numbers
Seven UO players on hand
to lead drills
ing and gave it to Pre. He re-
membered that Pre was very
approachable and humble but
couldn’t recall their conversa-
“If you only knew what he was
going to become, you wouldn’t
have wasted that time,” he said.
Cloutier shot sports just a few
more times after the 1972 Trials,
but never again from the infi eld.
And never again of Pre.
“I don’t know why I never
went back to shooting track. My
life probably just took another
turn,” he said.
As did Pre’s, fatefully.
Many years later, Cloutier
continues to be inspired by Pre,
not only for his athletic gifts but
as a fellow artist.
"Some people create with
words, or with music, or with a
brush and paints. I like to make
something beautiful when I
run," Pre was famously quoted.
"It's an incredible quote, and
he truly was an artist," said
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
photo by Matt Hollander
Keenan Dvorak catches a pass.
arcus Mariota had prior commit-
ments in Tennessee, but his ab-
sence from this year’s South Lane Youth
Football Association (SLYFA) clinic and
registration day did not deter players and
families from showing up in droves.
About 90 kids participated in the skill-
building activities held Saturday afternoon
at Cottage Grove High School, and 75 of
those young athletes registered to play
tackle or fl ag football next fall.
Mariota, the star quarterback and fu-
ture Heisman winner for the University of
Oregon, was naturally a top draw to last
year’s clinic, but seven current and former
Oregon Ducks were on hand to lead the
participants through offensive and defen-
sive positional drills, including Isaac Ava,
Kenny Bassett, Austin Daich, Mike Gar-
rity, Blake and Grant Thompson and Joe
“It gets families to start thinking about
the fall,” said co-president Bill Thompson
of the free clinic. “We’ve already done a
bit of outreach between advertisements
and postcards, but we try to get the word
out however we can.”
Continued from 1B
“We’re coming back knowing
more about the game. We know
the plays better and we’re ready
to lead,” said rising senior Pay-
ton Presley. “It’ll also be nice
having more of a rotation so we
can learn and go up against a
better scout team.”
Whether or not Cottage
Grove’s improved depth and ex-
perience will translate to more
success, however, will depend
on how well they can navigate
what appears to be another
daunting schedule. In addition
to their Sky-Em slate, the Lions
will play at Marshfi eld, Henley
at home and Del Norte (Califor-
nia) in Autzen Stadium on Sept.
photo by Matt Hollander
Garren Taylor (right) practices his breakdown in front of Oscar Rauda at Wednesday's
practice. Rauda ('13) is planning to coach on Cottage Grove's JV team this fall.
Thompson said that there will be a sec-
ond registration day at the high school on
July 26, which will be held in conjunction
with a coaches clinic. Families may also
register online at southlaneyouthfootball.
com. SLYFA teams begin practicing on
Aug. 17.
Saturday’s clinic and registration day
was also the organization's fi rst event
since changing its name from “Cottage
Grove Pop Warner.” In addition to Cottage
Grove, the new SLYFA now encompass-
es neighboring communities Creswell,
Drain, Lowell, Oakridge, Pleasant Hill
and Yoncalla.
“It’s been all positive,” Thompson said
of the feedback to the change. "The most
diffi cult thing is communicating what we
represent. We support football in all com-
munities, not just Cottage Grove. It’s go-
ing to be new for all of these communities
to think of themselves as a part of some-
thing bigger.”
Thompson said that the goal of the re-
organization is less about building more
competitive football teams and more
about getting more kids and families in-
terested in football.
“People are catching on to what we’re
trying to do,” he said. “All the coaches
from the SLFYA communities met on
Saturday, and we’re on the same page as
far as building momentum for the sport by
encouraging more participation.”
“I always tell the kids, ‘The
scoreboard will take care of it-
self. We just have to focus on
getting better and improving,’”
Roberts said.
Two recent alumni, quarter-
back Scotty Hitner and receiver
Oscar Rauda, were also on hand
to help with last week’s practic-
es. Hitner is hoping to walk-on
at Oregon State University this
fall, and Rauda will coach on
the Lions JV team.
“It’s nice when you get guys
who had such a good experience
in your program that they want
to come back and be a part of it,”
said Roberts. “Those guys know
that they’re always welcome to
come back, and they will always
be a part of what we do because
they helped build the foundation
of something that goes beyond
wins and losses.”
Up Next: Cottage Grove will
host McNary, Pleasant Hill, Siu-
slaw and Willamette for a 7-on-
7 event on Saturday, June 13.
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