From the first day of practice to the last day of the fall season for Roseburg High, there were triumphs and near misses aplenty for Douglas County’s largest athletic program.
The football team missed the postseason for the fourth straight fall; so did the boys and girls soccer teams and there was one individual qualifier for the state cross country meet. The volleyball team extended its postseason streak, but exited in the first round.
Here’s a look at how each of the fall sports fared, with winter sports practice beginning in one week.
All season third-year football coach Dave Heuberger preached “closing the gap.”
Consider the gap almost closed.
Roseburg didn’t make the postseason — it finished 3-6 overall, 1-3 in the Southwest Conference and No. 33 in the final OSAA power rankings — but aside from Sheldon it is the only SWC team to defeat a team still in the Class 6A postseason; it also played eight teams that made the playoffs.
“The RPI and all that different stuff, you can control that by winning all your games,” Heuberger said. “It does sting a bit seeing a team get in that you just demolished two weeks earlier.
“It’s an interesting time in the state to be building a football program.”
Roseburg put up a season-high 503 total yards in a Week 3 win over Reynolds. RHS had less than 300 yards just once the rest of the season — against Sheldon — and it averaged 68.5 more yards per game than it did in 2017.
Against the Southwest Conference — the four rivals still in the SWC from 2017 — Roseburg increased its scoring average by 16.5 points per game. Overall, it raised its scoring average my almost a full touchdown, while playing a much tougher schedule than the ‘17 squad faced. It wasn’t shut out all season — something that happened twice in ‘17.
“I thought that from there about Week 4, from where our offense was week one and Week 2, with how we moved the ball in comparison to the last couple of years, they gave us everything they had,” Heuberger said. “This year, our big goal is to get better January through Aug. 14. Some of that is some of those younger kids seeing that it took four weeks for our offense to get rolling. They enjoyed the season and that is a big thing.”
Seniors Zack Mandera and Collin Warmouth were both SWC first-team defenders and Mandera was the defensive player of the year. Those aren’t the only seniors that will be missed come next fall when Roseburg will try to end a four-year playoff hiatus.
“They helped with their maturity and being around the program for three years,” Heuberger said. “That veteran leadership goes a long way to showing those younger players — sitting down and watching Hudl on their phones during lunch, they were a good example.”
Still, Roseburg started the season slowly. It mustered 13 points in the first two games — both on the road due to construction delays in replacing the artificial turf at Finlay Field — and it wasn’t able to win on the road. RHS did go 3-1 at home and the loss was in a single possession game.
“What our challenge is going to be this next year is we want to close that gap and how do we improve and close that gap week one and week two rather than hit our stride in week four and five,” Heuberger said. “I think that’s a challenge. That’s where we have the next month or two to figure that out.”
Doug Magee’s first season at the helm of Roseburg’s volleyball program came to an end in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs with a loss at Tualatin in four sets.
“I’m excited to see how things will look for us next year,” Magee said after the playoff loss. “I thought we did a good job of holding everything together and hopefully we’ll come back in year two and see what we can do. Karey (Lomica) and Hannah (Bartlett) both had a great year, Chay (Swenson) had a great year and our freshman setter (Mallory Malysz) did a tremendous job, too.”
Bartlett, Lomica, Breez Hansen, Faith Jordan, Katelyn Crawford and Morgan Johnson will graduate at the end of the school year. Lomica was selected to the all-Southwest Conference first team and Bartlett made the second team.
Junior Alyssa Fox was a first-team all-conference selection and junior Chay Swenson was a second-team pick.
Freshman Eliza Eckman, the only Roseburg cross country runner to qualify for the state meet, finished 45th at Lane Community College in Eugene last Saturday.
Coach Nathan Eckman said, “It was a fun season and will give Eliza and our entire team something to build on.”
Cross country is a no-cut sport and as such has one of the largest teams. The Indians will lose 10 seniors girls to graduation and nine senior boys.
On the boys team, Hunter Agsten and Elijah Hansen, who have been top three runners for the past two years, will graduate. John Sajo and Finn Flugel were two other senior varsity runner who will not be back next year.
Zachary Traul, who finished 12th at district, will return for his senior year.
Several of the freshman boys also saw strong performances this year with Nicholas Looper running a 18:05.30 in the varsity district meet and Preston Smith and Brian Powell tying at 18:48.90 in the JV race.
RHS’s varsity girls team will see Isabell Webber, Bethany Kalebaugh, Eden Childers and Nine Willhoft use up their eligibility.
Samantha Eichman and Miriam Childers are expected to be back for the girls.
Roseburg’s girls cross country team was also recognized for their academic standings. The team had the fifth highest GPA among their 6A peers in Oregon.
Many of the cross country runners will also compete in winter and spring sports and coach Eckman said they “are looking forward to their winter and spring sports.”
Nathan Eckman is also the long distance running coach for the Roseburg track and field team in the spring.
The Tribe fell just outside of playoff consideration in boys soccer. Roseburg finished 36th in the OSAA power rankings and the top 32 teams advanced to the state playoffs.
Patrick Giraudo, JT Dauterman and Josh Nutter will graduate at the end of the school year and exchange student Fernando Bitelli will return to Brazil.
Roseburg finished 6-7-1 overall and was fourth in the SWC at 5-5.
Patrick Giraudo, who was a co-captain along with JT Dauterman and goalkeeper Gage Baylis-Hines, was a first-team all-conference selection. Bitelli was selected to the second team along with sophomore Jonathan Colunga and junior Jayden Bangs. Dauterman received honorable mention.
The team started the season off playing at Fir Grove Field due to a delay in the turf-project at Finlay Field.
Roseburg’s girls soccer team started the season off strong under new head coach Kristin Parks, but were unable to get a Southwest Conference win this season.
The Tribe started off 3-0-1 after its first four games, but lost all 10 of its conference games. Last season, Roseburg was winless and managed to score just one goal. They scored goals this season, including three against league opponents.
“We wanted the girls to have fun this season, because we knew we weren’t going to win the state championship,” Parks said after their season finale. “I’m pleased with the progress they made. We’re going to keep moving forward.”
Roseburg seniors Emily Wheeler, Ashley McCraw, Clarah Shaffer, Abreet Rai, Hannah Jacobsen, Callie Price, Gabrielle Dukes, Sajannah Alvarado and Samie Bergmann are all expected to graduate at the end of the season, which will leave a big hole in the Tribe’s defense for next year.
Wheeler was selected as the SWC goalkeeper of the year and Price was a first-team selection. Roseburg junior Katie Knudson received honorable mention.
The girls also started the season on the grass at Fir Grove Field and moved to the new turf at Finlay Field in October once construction was completed.