Saturday, May 25, 2013
By Bill Stewart email@example.com
WALES -- Oak Hill junior Luke Washburn is relatively easy to spot on a football field.
EASY TO SPOT: At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Oak Hill High School’s Luke Wahburn is a presence at tight end and defensive end, as well as a handful of other positions for the Raiders. High School in Wales.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Positions: tight end, defensive tackle
At 6-foot-3 inches, he's the tallest player on the Oak Hill roster. At 230 pounds, he's one of the biggest, too.
But if his size alone doesn't attract attention, then his play will.
Washburn, a converted tight end and defensive tackle, is a big reason why the Raiders (6-1) are in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the Campbell Conference Class C playoffs.
Oak Hill plays at Dirigo (6-1) on Friday night in a game that will likely determine who enters the playoffs as the top seed.
"We put him in big situations," Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. "He's big, strong and versatile."
Washburn plays as many as five positions for the Raiders, including tight end, tackle, defensive end, linebacker and nose guard.
It's a big change from last year, when Washburn primarily played tackle and defensive end.
He switched position under Doucette, who is in his first year as the Raiders head coach.
"I noticed when watching film on him that he could play tight end," Doucette said. "He had all the attributes to play tight end. Plus, we already had a lot of size on the line so we could move him around."
Washburn remembers the conversation when Doucette first talked about a change of positions.
"It's always been a dream of mine to go and play tight end," Washburn said. "Coach Doucette saw what I could do and I'm extremely thankful for that. I remember when he came to me and told me about the change. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was pumped."
His impact was immediate.
Washburn leads the Raiders, a run-first team, with 10 completions for 198 yards and six touchdowns.
He's become a favorite target for quarterback Parker Asselin.
"He worked out twice a day all year," Asselin said of Washburn. "He's just quick and strong. He goes out there and makes plays. All I have to do is get him the ball."
And that isn't too difficult considering Washburn typically has a sizable height advantage over many defensive backs.
In a 28-7 win over Poland two weeks ago, Washburn enjoyed one of his finest performances of the season.
He caught five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. His touchdown receptions came on plays when he outjumped smaller defensive backs in tight double coverage.
"It's helpful," Washburn says of his size. "It's a big deal when guys can't match up. I can't control it, but it helps. It's good to have big guys on the team."
Washburn adds that it's tough to contain his emotions when he's matched up against under-sized corners or linebackers.
"It's exciting," he says. "My eyes get huge. It's just easy to see the field. Parker can get it high enough for me so it's great. All he has to do is throw it up and I can go up and get it. I'm pretty good at that."
Defensively, Washburn is a disrupting force on the line.
Coupled with Mike Saunders, Brian Daniels and Richard Fillion, the physical Raiders feature plenty of size up front, which is one of the team's many strengths.
"We do some good things on defense," Doucette said. "(Washburn) is part of a strong unit."
Oak Hill is one of four 6-1 teams in the conference. The Raiders are second to Dirigo in Crabtree points, which determine playoff positioning. Winslow (6-1) is third and is also in the hunt for the top seed.
Oak Hill has already clinched a top-four berth and the right to host at least one home playoff game.
"We're pretty hungry," Washburn said. "We want to go far."
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640