Toledo gives Taylor the grid


TOLEDO — Veteran coach Jeff Taylor has been named to lead the Boomer gridiron squad next fall following the dismissal of a popular football coach last April that sparked school strikes and threatened the program’s future.

On Wednesday, however, Taylor had reason to smile as 2A Toledo hosted an exhilarating scrimmage with 3A Taft, where Boomer star quarterback Jaxon Rozewski announced his return with arcing downfield passes.

The incoming senior had been on the front line of protests over the dismissal of ex-coach Steve Cragun in a dustup over disclosing athlete grades, and Rozewski had recently filed waivers to transfer to Newport High School. But any lingering hard feelings were relegated to past history as the Boomers clashed with Taft in cleats and tees.                                  

“Maybe at the beginning kids were hesitant, but by the end of the day they’d get back and hear me out,” said Taylor, 32, who brings seven years of head coaching history from Marshfield High School (Coos Bay) and Central High School (Independence) to his new role. “What happened before is water under the bridge. We’re building a program and moving forward.”

The Boomers went 5-5 overall in 2018, settling for third place in the 2A-SD4 league behind Bandon (6-4) and first-place Coquille (7-3). Taylor’s game plan is to build a balanced team that can win a state championship.

“If that isn’t our goal, then we’re not in it for the right reason,” he asserted, pledging a run-and-shoot offense designed to keep confounding the opposition. “If we can keep them off balance and turn them into a one-dimensional team, then we can take what they’re giving us defensively.”

When he’s not coaching, Taylor will be a physical education and weight training teacher.

“It’s a real honor and privilege to be given this program,” he concluded. “Our expectations are to shoot for the stars, and maybe we’ll land on the moon.”

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