WALDPORT — Double-threat lineman Anthony Locke was named to the first squad, defense, Special District 1 all-conference 1A football team in a dream roster sprinkled with Irish talent.
In all, the 2019 Waldport gridiron (2-5 overall, 0-5 in league) captured nine spots on the all-star roll, according to school officials, with Locke a 6’1”, 240-pound junior, also earning assignment to the second team, offense.
“He gained the respect of all the coaches in the league,” remarked head coach Jeff Skirvin, whose fresh-faced team often found itself locked in overtime contests but never quit. “Tony battled some injuries throughout the season, but even nicked-up he was pretty dominant.”
Locke wasn’t the only standout to be recognized with two taps. Senior tight end Austyn Hallock and sophomore quarterback Zak Holsey also earned double honors.
Hallock, named as end to both sides of the No. 2 team, was the 6’1”, 210-pound “inspiration and leader” for the team. Coach Skirvin described him as an excellent athlete and all-around player.
“In my opinion, he should have been on the first team, but it’s stiff competition,” said Skirvin, noting the league leaders typically get first bite at all-star slots. “He could block, and he could receive. In the game against Falls City, he got 22 tackles.”
Holsey, at 5’8” and 150 pounds, led the league in rushing with 690 yards. Skirvin called him “a tremendous athlete on both sides of the ball.” Holsey was tapped for third-team quarterback and third-team defensive back.
Named to the second team were a pair of Levis — sophomores Levi Schrock at defensive back, and Levi Fruechte, punter.
Schrock, at 130 pounds, is still growing into his role as a future Waldport superstar but made an impression on league coaches as a two-way starter who was always in the right spot to make the play.
“He’s super smart and super reliable,” commented Skirvin. “What he lacks in athletic ability he makes up tenfold in effort and reliability.”
Fruechte polished his kicking skills on the soccer field before joining the Irish as a punter this year, earning second-team status as a league all-star by pulling the Irish out of the hole on many fourth downs with his arching boots. He also played tailback and linebacker and is gifted with “natural ability,” according to his coach.
Newcomer Logan Spradley joined the Irish this season as a 5’10”, 170-pound sophomore running back. But it was his strong presence as at linebacker that earned him a spot on the third-team defense. Skirvin called him “instrumental” in the Irish defensive scheme.
Coaches concluded that the 2019 season was a success in key ways and bodes well for the future of eight-man football at Waldport.
“We were 10 points away from three or more wins,” Skirvin reflected, mulling the close shaves his young team delivered to rattled opponents. “We were one overtime and one double-overtime from being in the state playoffs.”
Noting the team has swelled from nine players to 25 in just one season, Skirvin noted 20 of this season’s recruits were first-time players, and most will return in 2020 as seasoned veterans.
“The weight room is full after school, because these kids recognize it’s the off-season work that will benefit us next year,” he asserted. “We’re building a great football culture at Waldport High School. It’s the ship that drives other athletics, and you’ll see the positive results trickle down to all the other sports.”