Loggers swelter under heat, league leading opponent

Wayne Spinney

For The New Era

On a sweltering afternoon in Salem, the East Linn Loggers found some relief in the post game handshakes. They had just been crushed 52 ? 0 by last year?s champion Capitol Enforcers and were surprised by the props shown to them after the game. The most experienced unit the Loggers will face this year had nothing but good things to say about the newest entry in the NNFL this year.

?The Loggers are a classy outfit. They played us as tough as any team has in the four years I?ve been coaching in the NNFL,? said Enforcers? Head Coach David Heuberger. ?They remind me a lot of our team before we matured and brought on some more experienced players. They?re well-coached and I think they?ll be a factor in this league before too long.?

The Enforcers have a line-up comprised of no less than eight former collegiate stars and a former professional indoor starter. Twenty-eight year old wide receiver Andre? Harris, formerly of the NIFL Southern Oregon Heat, helped lead the Enforcers to the NNFL championship last year and looks to be poised to return to the top again this year after scoring twice on Saturday.

?Their team speed and strength was a problem for us and staying hydrated became an issue from the get go on Saturday,? said Coach Bob Teter, assistant coach. ?We didn?t anticipate them to be as physical as they were, but we felt that we rallied after the intermission to play a better second half.?

Quarterback Frank Whitton showed more poise in the pocket and the Loggers? running game utilized ball carrier Rod Jaques and crisper blocking, but could not get untracked long enough to mount any offensive consistency. Whitton was sacked five times by a surging Enforcers? defense which was lead by former Tulane player Patrick Charles, and former Willamette University standouts Kevin Emerson and two-sport star Matt Benjamin. Jesse Garcia, Jr. was a standout on defense for the Loggers from his free safety position and intercepted an Enforcers? aerial for an apparent touchdown that was called back due to a penalty.

?It was obvious that they were fast, disciplined and experienced,? said an exhausted Kenny Gaskey after the game. ?They beat us up pretty good but then had lots of encouragement for us after the game. We felt like we made progress this week against some pretty good talent in spite of the score.?

The Loggers return to the gridiron next Saturday in search of their first win of the season with a 7 p.m game at Jefferson High School against the North Valley Hunters. Unlike the highly experienced Enforcers, the Hunters are a new entry in the NNFL.