The kickoff of the 2019 prep football season is just 16 days away.
The Lebanon Warriors will open their schedule at home on Sept. 6 against Mid-Willamette Conference rival Corvallis.
In many ways, the process of getting ready for the season began immediately after last season ended with a 47-41 loss at Crater in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.
The work continued during the annual team camp at North Bend in late July and picked up again during the on campus camp week Aug. 12-16.
Players and coaches were on the field daily going through basic drills without any pads or helmets.
"It's a chance to kind of knock the rust off," said head coach Ty Tomlin, adding that it is also an opportunity to see who will be on the field this fall. "What do we have in the toolbox?"
The Warriors have known for a few years that this would be a transitional season. Last year's outstanding senior class played a role in a very successful run for the program. There were 20 seniors on the roster, including such contributors as quarterback Colton Shepard, running backs /linebackers Chase Miller and Chaz Daniels, receivers/defensive backs Dillan Weber, Eddy Kennedy and Raymond Knuth, and linemen Corbin Anderson and Dylan Studer.
"You miss them, not just as players on the field, but as individuals," Tomlin said. "But that's the way it works."
There will be competition for roles and playing time all over the field, with quarterback being one of the unsettled positions.
Juniors Cole Weber and Dane Sipos are competing for that spot.
"If the season started today, it would be Cole," Tomlin said.
Sipos will play a key role on the squad no matter how the quarterback competition is settled.
"He's a talented kid we can put in other spots," Tomlin said.
The Warriors are blessed with good size and speed. Tomlin said this is the biggest overall group of linemen that he and his staff have coached. While roles are still being determined, Gatlyn Anderson, Rafael Ramos, Malachi Lee, Troy Davis and Job Parker are expected to contribute.
The Warriors' highly effective running attack will once again be built around players who have top-notch speed, led by Sipos, Keith Brown, Brock Barrett and Austin Roles.
Sipos and Brown have both been invited to attend the national combine in January and Brown has already received multiple scholarship offers. The most recent offer came from Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference.
The Warriors pick up the pace this week. They have daily doubles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with single practices on Tuesday and Thursday. The Oregon School Activities Association does not allow daily doubles on consecutive days.
The team will be in full gear for Thursday's practice and those that follow. Lebanon will travel to Sprague to take part in a jamboree on Friday, Aug. 30.
The home opener the following week will kick off a nine-game schedule of conference games. The Warriors have just four regular season home games, hosting the Spartans, as well as Silverton (Sept. 20), West Albany (Oct. 4) and South Albany (Oct. 18).
Because the schedule includes no non-conference games, there is no opportunity for the Warriors to seek out an additional home game.
"The schedule's the schedule," Tomlin said.