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Smoke clears for second day of SOU football fall camp

After a smoke-filled day to start the Southern Oregon University football preseason, the air cleared up for what felt like the first "real" day of fall camp.

Posted: Aug 6, 2021 7:05 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2021 7:28 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — A day two years in the making finally came for Southern Oregon University's football program as they took the field as a team Friday to get the 2021 season underway. 

While the fall season technically started on Thursday, smoke-filled skies resulted in poor air quality, forcing the football team to only do walkthroughs outside for a short period of time. Friday felt like the first "real" day of fall camp for the Raiders with air quality improving and the entire team running through drills.

"It's been such a long time and just to finally be here is so surreal," quarterback Trent Banner said on Friday. "It's something that we knew was there but to actually see it happen in today's world, it's awesome."

After the uncertainty that filled the fall and spring of this past year, having the routine of football practice has been comforting to the players. It's been nearly 22 months since SOU last took the field in a game. Many of the student-athletes weren't starters for the 2019 squad so overall it's a pretty green team.

But there is some experience returning. Trent Banner enters fall camp as QB1 for the Raiders. In 2019, he split time between back up quarterback and back up running back. The transition back to full-time QB, and now the top of the depth chart, has been a welcome one for the Redding, California native.

"Let me say this, my body likes playing quarterback a lot more and my availability is a lot greater when I'm playing quarterback," Banner said. "It's a nice weight off the shoulders just knowing I can be in my groove set the protections and get the receivers the ball to make great plays because we've got great athletes out there."

Southern Oregon's fall camp continues for the next two weeks before their first game against Rocky Mountain College preparation begins. The Raiders travel to take on the Battlin' Bears on August 28th.

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Air stagnation ends for the Basin today, big changes coming next week
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