HRV boys look for return to playoffs

Season preview

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Senior midfielder Alex Ponce hopes to use his two years' varsity experience to propel the HRV boys to the playoffs for the third straight year.

Much of the firepower from last year is gone, but the Hood River Valley boys soccer team still has a little left in the tank after its second consecutive state quarterfinal run.

Following the graduations of first-team all-conference players Matt Dallman and Dereck Ponce, as well as playmakers Corey VanDlac and Jon Munk, the Eagles’ offense has been effectively turned over to Ponce’s younger brother and two-year starter, Alex.

“In many ways, this is Alex’s team,” said third-year coach Doug Beveridge, who views this season as an enigma. “He will be the star of the show, and with his quickness and touch, he is almost unstoppable.”

Beveridge will be looking to junior forward Jorge Hernandez and seniors Todd Price and Jake Pruitt to complement Ponce up front, but hasn’t settled on a firm starting lineup.

Part of the uncertainty comes from the fact that two key offensive players from last year’s team, Tony Diaz and Obed Garduño, did not come out for the team in 2003.

“We have a lot of young kids in the starting lineup, and that could be our biggest question mark,” Beveridge said. “Only a handful of the guys have varsity experience, and it may take us a few games to get on the same page.”

But, lucky for Beveridge, he does have some stability up the middle. Former sweeper Alvaro Lara will move into a center midfield role, while former outside defender Sean Rawson will take over as the sweeper.

“The juniors have played together forever, which gives our team a good character,” Beveridge said. “Alvaro, Sean and Jorge know what each other can do, and that familiarity should help us out a lot.”

Beveridge says that Lara has the potential to be “one of the best center midfielders this program has ever seen,” and praises his ability to win balls in the air and recover quickly on defense.

“Alvaro likes to take risks, but he doesn’t get hurt by them because he’s so fast,” he said. “He is also very strong physically, and has good passing instincts. He could be really exciting to watch this year.”

Beveridge is also excited to see what Rawson can do in his new role.

“Sean is the coach out there on the field,” he said. “We played him at sweeper over the summer, and he really excelled. He has matured into a fine player, and gives us great stability on the back line.”

The outsides are a different story, however. Sophomore Jesus Lara and junior Miguel Najera are slated as the starters, and neither has a single game of varsity experience.

Neither does midfielder Ricardo Muñoz, who will be joined in the starting lineup by returning varsity players Jose Avila and Stephen Hanners.

“Stephen has really come on strong this year, and he has earned a starting spot. Jose is also showing his maturity out there, and gives us options in the midfield.”

Starting in goal for the second straight year will be senior Julio Loza, and the key substitutions will be Sean Ritter, Angel Rojas, David Chance, J.J. Rivera and Pruitt, who is coming back from a broken ankle.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Beveridge said. “But we will find out when we play Redmond next week.”

HRV opened Friday at home versus Crook County, but results were not yet available.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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