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Senior fullback, linebacker powers talented group of Rangers runners through adversity

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Senior fullback Waylon Riedel is the centerpiece to Estacada footballs running attack.Estacada football's senior fullback thrives on adversity.

Waylon Riedel doesn't shy away from mauling, physical runs and tackles on the field, nor does he wither after difficult losses. It is a mindset shared by his teammates, and the reason the Rangers are poised for back-to-back deep postseason runs.

"The season has been going pretty good, we all want to prove something," Riedel said.

Estacada suffered two difficult losses, separated by a long offseason, that would have derailed lesser teams. First came a one-sided 42-8 defeat by Marist in the semifinals of playoffs last year, then a season-opening 26-14 loss to No. 1 Mazama that marred a celebratory opening of a remodeled Rangers stadium.

"The loss to Marist was tough, they are a good team," Riedel said. "But every day I am trying to get better with what I am able to do on the field."

Following that Marist loss, which ended an undefeated historic run, the team huddled on the field.

"We looked around and knew we had a special group coming back," said Coach Andy Mott.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Waylon Riedel is the first choice in Estacadas triple option. Now Riedel and the Rangers are chasing after an unspoken goal. There has been no need for a "rah-rah" moment, or a discussion that directly spells it all out. They all just know. This team wants the championship trophy.

"We had some chats afterward, not too focused on the loss, but more on what we wanted in the future," Riedel said. "We have the weapons, the tools this season to win it all."

For No. 4 Estacada, who sits atop the Tri-Valley Conference, much of that relies on its vaunted group of runners, with Riedel the force in the middle.

As a fullback Riedel is all about power. He lines up in a three-point stance and is the first choice in the Ranger's whirling triple-option offense. When Estacada lines up in "Diesel" — a jumbo wildcat formation —Riedel takes the snap. That is their go-to formation when they need something to happen, as well as any two-point conversions, because they know Riedel is going to gain yards.

"I don't have specific numbers, but we convert about 95% of our two-point conversions when Riedel runs the ball," Mott said. "Almost automatic."

Riedel got into football at the prompting of his father. He first took the field at 5 years old, and fell in love with that feeling of brotherhood and camaraderie that has persisted through his seasons as a Ranger.

"You learn a lot about yourself when you get hit on the field," Riedel said.

His nickname is "Tank," a nom de plume he more than lives up to with this rampaging runs.

"Our offense is about the threat of that downhill runner, and Waylon is that old-school fullback who gets physical and leads the blocks," Mott said. "He has a lot of heart and desire."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Waylon Riedel also stars on defense as a hard-hitting linebacker.  For most of his playing career he has been a runner, though a few years as a lineman helped him understand how to navigate the holes and work with his blockers.

"Being on the line made me a smarter player," he said. "Your offense starts with the line, and I wouldn't be the player I am today without those guys."

Riedel admitted he isn't the flashiest player, but in a game of inches being hard to drag down is the best skill a runner can have. And his stats are backing that style of play. This year he has rushed for 503 yards and 10 touchdowns, and defensively as a linebacker has 43 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, and 1.5 sacks. He has also converted 28 two-point conversions.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Estacada senior Waylon Riedel wants to win it all. Even before he donned the uniform, Riedel learned what it meant to be a Ranger while watching his older brother Wyatt in the stands during Estacada's 2017 semifinals run.

"Watching him I learned what it means to be a Ranger," Riedel said. "My brother inspired me."

And though the senior can't help but shake his head that his high school football career is quickly coming to an end, Riedel likes to build up his younger teammates. Share his love of Estacada football.

"This program and community is just different," he said. "It feels like home."

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