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Senior-heavy Mountain View football team, with lofty goals, dealing with smoky preseason

'Central Oregon football is as strong as it's ever been, and as deep as it's ever been'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The smoke and poor air quality are forcing practices for high school sports indoors.

But the change is not intimidating one local football team.

The Mountain View Cougars are on a mission this year, and they’re not letting some pre-season smoke ruin their plans.

Since about 2017, indoor football practices and other atypical circumstances are commonplace for Mountain View head football Coach Brian Crum.

“When you add things like heat and smoke and Covid, I think as coaches, it's really made us incredibly flexible,” Crum said. “And the kids don’t know any better, or any different.”

While indoor practices have unfortunately become the new norm, the Cougars hope to be the new top dawgs in the IMC. 

Senior quarterback Connor Crum is one of 25 seniors on this year's team, a big jump from last year’s five person class.

“All our expectations are higher,” Connor Crum said. “We've already seen it with our practice habits, how much those have improved.”

Brian Crum touched on the experience difference, with this year's team "deep as it's ever been.”

“And we had some dudes, and some guys that weren’t quite ready to be dudes,” Crum said. “We really feel like we’ve come back this year, on both sides of the ball, with some kids with some experience.”

With a tested offensive line, a deep wide receiver group, talented running backs and a much improved defense, both Crums have high hopes for this year.

“You know, our goal this year is to average around 40 points,” Connor said. 

Brian added, “I think we see ourselves at the top. We're going to set high goals, and we're going to work our tail off to reach them.”

But with the reigning state champs in Summit and four other reloaded squads in Bend High, Caldera, Ridgeview and Redmond in the IMC, they know nothing is a given.

“Central Oregon football is as strong as it's ever been, and as deep as it's ever been,” Crum said.

Connor noted how strong the conference is.

“We know there's not going to be any weeks off,” Connor said. “Every week, you’re going to have to have the best preparation, go out with everything you’ve got.”

Aside from high AQI levels and higher expectations, this is Connor's last year playing for his dad, and he wants to end it with a bang.

“You know, it's super fun,” Connor said. “I’ve been on the sideline since I was 7, watching him. Been a part of everything. It's crazy to think this is my last year of ever doing it, but it's great, and it's a great experience. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Coach Crum said he’s excited to show off the team’s “game-breakers,” like junior wide receiver Jack Foley and sophomore running back Angel Valenzuela.

The Cougars start their season on Friday, Sept. 1, on the road against Canby.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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