Exploding Whale Sports
April 8, 2021, 4:20pm
Eleven freshmen were on the final Siuslaw Vikings varsity football roster in 2017.
Three have stayed the course and will be honored Friday before the Vikings' Senior Night battle with Sutherlin at Hans Petersen Field.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
It will be the final game in a Vikings' uniform for Nos. 4, 23 and 65 — quarterback-defensive back Elijah Blankenship, running back-linebacker Skyler Loomis and offensive lineman-linebacker Christian Newlan.
The trio has shared the highs and lows of Vikings football for four seasons, one each under coaches Jamin Pool (1-7 in 2017) and Chad Smith (0-8 in 2018) and the past two under Sam Johnson (8-7 in two seasons).
It's to their credit that they still will be in uniform on Friday, given how tough the freshman and sophomore seasons were, when the Vikings were outscored 326-81 in 2017 and 415-82 in 2018. Siuslaw suffered the indignity of a forfeit loss to North Bend in 2018 when the Vikings did not have enough healthy bodies to compete.
The 2019 season, the first under Siuslaw graduate and standout Sam Johnson, was a bit of a payback tour, the Vikings avenging a number of prior-season losses while going 6-4 and earning a trip to the state 3A playoffs.
Blankenship threw for a single-season school record of 2,195 yards and established the top three marks for yards in a game of 339, 337 and 318.
The rewards this season have not nearly matched the sacrifice, but Blankenship, Loomis and Newlan are still there, bigger and taller and stronger than as freshmen.
Well, mostly taller.
Newlan was listed as 6-foot-1, 225 pounds as a freshman, shrank to 5-10, 190 as a sophomore, grew to 5-11, 200 as a junior and is now listed as 6-foot even, 230.
Loomis also had a strange growth pattern, based on final rosters. He was 5-11, 175 as a freshman, 5-9, 160 as a sophomore, 5-10, 170 as a junior and now is listed at 6-foot, 200.
Blankenship has seen the most growth, but also in a strange pattern. He was listed as 5-9, 155 as an understudy to Jared Brandt as a freshman, finished his sophomore season listed at 5-5, 130, grew to 5-8, 170 a year later and is now listed as 5-10, 170.
All three also have filled out their school years with activity.
Newlan also competes in track and field and wrestling, Loomis in track and field and basketball and Blankenship in baseball and basketball.
Newlan and Loomis also have been members of the Vikings band, while Blankenship has assumed leadership roles in school government, serving the past two school years as student body president.
Friday's game will offer one last game, and one last opportunity at football redemption.
Sutherlin has been a Vikings nemesis the past two seasons. The Bulldogs won 60-16 in 2018 on the Vikings' Senior Night, and 56-18 in 2019 on Sutherlin's Senior Night.
Coast Radio (FM106.9) will be on the air at 6:45 p.m. for the trio's finale. Tickets are on sale online through the school's website.
A fourth senior, Mike Shick, also will be honored Friday night. Schick reportedly is injured in his first season with the Vikings, and his name does not appear on the current roster on the OSAA website.