Photo by Lukas Eggen
Jesse Sickles and Jeremy Labrado talk with coach Laric Cook on Friday.
As of Wednesday, October 18, 2017
FALLS CITY — Fresh off an 84-32 victory over Yoncalla on Friday, Falls City’s football coach Laric Cook had one message for his team: We can do better.
“I think for the most part we played well, but we gave up a couple of touchdowns I don’t think we should have given up,” Cook said. “When we play disciplined, we flat out don’t let people move the football. We had some moments where we were real good and some moments where we weren’t so good. We have to be more consistent.”
Cook’s insistence on improvement may be surprising at first glance — but Cook is driven by the potential he sees in Falls City to have a truly special season.
Since a season-opening loss to Dufur, the Mountaineers have won five games in a row. The offense has scored 58 or more points in four of them.
“I’m very proud of this team,” senior Jesse Sickles said. “We’re going to go a long way this year. The guys, they’re great football players. They have heart and love the game. I love playing with them.”
Sickles missed the first three weeks of the season, but the senior is thankful to be back on the field.
“I got myself into a little bit of trouble, so I couldn’t play,” he said. “I fixed everything. It helped me be a better leader. I’ve been through a lot. When people get down, I’ve been in a rough spot before so I can help pick people up and keep them focused.”
Sickles makes the Mountaineers a more dangerous team.
“Jesse has allowed us to open things up on offense more,” Cook said. “He does a good job of running the show and making his reads. It allows us to put Jeremy (Labrado) in the backfield. Austin (Burgess) is a real good blocker and receiver. Noah (Sickles) is a heck of a runner. Jesse makes us more dangerous.”
That was on display on Friday, as Burgess, Labrado, Noah Sickles and Jesse Sickles all scored touchdowns.
With Jesse Sickles at quarterback, he gives the Mountaineers a dual threat capable of making plays with his arm and his feet.
Now, it’s a matter of fine tuning and eliminating mistakes on offense and defense.
“Yoncalla couldn’t stop us,” Cook said. “We stopped ourselves with a few fumbles and stupid penalties.”
The Mountaineers close the regular season at Mapleton Friday at 7 p.m., and both Cook and his players believe that a home playoff game — and a deep run in the postseason — are possible.
“I’m probably too hard on the kids at times because I’ve had good groups in the past,” Cook said. “I’ve had teams that haven’t given up 100 points in 13, 14 games. I believe these kids can do the same thing because of how hard they play and their football intelligence. We just can’t take plays off. This is a special group.”