Impact line | Local

At the start of his senior season, Hermiston’s John-Henry Line was a third-year college linebacker with a busy career quarterback.

However, a change in position at the defensive end of a game in the 2016 campaign revealed his hidden potential, and by the time he played his final as Bulldog, All-EO Football Player of the Year would turn in the most dominant season into a Hermiston pass racer, perhaps ever.

The stats don’t go far enough to say for sure, but his 15.5 sacks from last season are certainly the most important for a modern-day Bulldog.

Line, who at 6 feet, 195 pounds played in the right end of a two-point position, also showed his dominance on the pitch by leading the state’s No.7 defense with 22 tackles for the loss, 76 solo tackles (99 total), seven rushed quarterbacks and a forced fumble for good measure.

Special District 1 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team honors in all leagues followed, followed by a first-team selection in all states. His future as a football player also looks bright, as the Division III and NAIA statewide programs took notice during his breakout season.

Hermiston head coach David Faaeteete said the initial reason he moved Line into defensive lineup was an experience vacuum created when the previous season’s defensive line graduated seven seniors.

“We had to replace our senior defensive line with guys who had played a lot of downs, said Faaeteete. “I think he was hesitant at first, but he knew he had to take the step for his team and it ended up working to his advantage.

“When we switched to D-line I knew he was going to step up, I didn’t know he would adopt it.”

Defensive coordinator Scott Hammond gave Line a crash course in her new assignments, but didn’t put much on her plate at first.

“They (the coaches) didn’t tell me too much, they just wanted me to play,” Line said. “Just keep it simple and let me do what I do. “

Line’s ability to use his hands and speed to knock out blockers didn’t pay off right away, and he left without a bag or a rush in a Week 2 loss to Lewiston.

“I didn’t have a great feeling in the first game, but then in the second game I started to understand and had a pretty decent game. I was like, ‘Dang that’s pretty fun,’ ”Line said of his 11 tackles (nine solo) and one tackle for loss in a 35-21 win over Mountain View.

Line didn’t get his first sack until Week 4, which was also the first of six multi-sack games as he twice coached Summit’s John Bledsoe behind the line of scrimmage.

“I knew it was a good thing and I knew the audience loved him, everyone loved him, so I just wanted more,” he said.

He made 10 tackles, including two for loss, in a win over Hood River the following week, but was shut out in the sack category. It would be the last time of the season.

Over the next two weeks, he totaled 3.5 sacks and five tackles for losses to Ridgeview and Bend, as the defense allowed up a combined seven runs and Hermiston took control of his own playoff destiny.

By this point in the season, Line had started to shoot doubles teams and the infractions started to leak from her side of the field. It only made him want to try even harder, he said.

“All I wanted was to play and help our team win.”

His season-high 14 tackles and three sacks against Redmond ended in a loss, but Hermiston would end his regular season next week with a thrilling 13-12 victory over rival Pendleton, largely thanks to a Line monster exit.

He terrorized Buckaroos quarterback Nick Bower for five sacks and four quarterbacks in a hurry in front of a crowd of people standing at Kennison Stadium. Pendleton was third and last of the entire game thanks to Line and his cronies, and finished the game with just 114 yards.

“It was by far my favorite game, the senior night, crowded stands, it was just great, a great atmosphere,” said Line.

Despite another solid game from Line, Hermiston’s season ended the following week with a 12-7 loss to St. Helens in the first round of the playoffs. The Lions used a large offensive line formation designed to expand the pocket, but Line still managed to rack up 12 tackles (10 solo), two sacks, two loss tackles and a rushed quarterback.

“At the start of the season I tried finesse moves but towards the end I was just rushing the bull,” he said. “Both have worked pretty well.

“I played a lot of good linemen, some of them were pretty big. But after every game, they pretty much told me I was the best defensive lineman they’ve ever played. Just hearing this from another player, I thought it was a pretty good feeling.

While it’s his defensive skills that are catching the interest of schools like George Fox, Western Oregon, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon, it wasn’t all defense for Line this season.

He carried the ball in short-range situations five times for 11 yards and scored touchdowns against Hood River and Bend.

“I really like playing defense but I like carrying the ball,” he said. “Scoring touchdowns is fun. I wish I could have done more racing, but that’s how it is.

Line said he has a feeling teams will want him to play either a linebacker or a hybrid linebacker in college, and Faaeteete said they will not only earn a great athlete, but a great teammate. .

“He’s a great boy, able to train, always ready to listen and learn,” he said. “You get a kid with a great work ethic who puts everything in the field for his team. John-Henry is not very vocal, he talks more with his pads and his playing. He has this mentality of a silent warrior.

Line’s experience last season may also influence her approach to other sports. In addition to joining the lacrosse team as a goaltender, he decided he wanted to get into snowboarding this winter and took to the powder headfirst.

“I learn pretty fast and I like it. My friends and I are just coming down the hill, ”he said. “I think it’s also a better way to learn. “

Player of the Year: DE John-Henry Line, sr., Hermiston

DL – John-Henry Line, Sr., Hermiston

DL – José Garcia, father, Stanfield

DL – Noe Sanchez, father, Stanfield

DL – Alec Williams, father, Umatilla

LB – Dylan Grogan, Father, Stanfield

LB – Trent Durfey, soph., Umatilla

LB – Kevin Murray, Sr., Heppner

DB – Shaw Jerome, jr., Pendleton

DB – Thyler Monkus, father, Stanfield

DB – Joey Gutierrez Jr., jr., Hermiston

DB – Vaemu Ena, father, Hermiston

P – Kirk Scott, soph., Weston-McEwen

QB – Andrew James, soph., Hermiston

RB – Logan Grieb, sr., Heppner

RB – Thyler Monkus, father, Stanfield

WR – Dayshawn Neal, jr., Hermiston

WR – Shaw Jerome, jr., Pendleton

ATH – Dylan Grogan, father, Stanfield

OL – Noe Sanchez, father, Stanfield

OL – AJ Fernandez, jr., Hermiston

OL – Kevin Murray, Sr., Heppner

OL – Kaden Caldwell, Sr., Hermiston

OL – José Garcia, father, Stanfield

K – Sebaztian Corona, father, Pendleton

DL – Wyatt Steagall, jr., Heppner

DL – Damian McLeod, Sr., Hermiston

DL – Tim Jaca, father, Heppner

DL – Greg Lee, jr., Pendleton

LB – Morgan Holcomb, Sr., Pendleton

LB – Bradlee Guitsee, sr., Hermiston

LB – Johnathan Hinkle, jr., Hermiston

DB – Justin Keeney, jr., Stanfield

DB – Logan Grieb, father, Heppner

DB – Tyler Rohrman, jr., Hermiston

DB – Kaden Webb, jr., Umatilla

P – Damian McLeod, father, Hermiston

QB – Nick Bower, jr., Pendleton

RB – Trent Durfey, soph., Umatilla

RB – Deven Page, father, Pendleton

WR – Brody Woods, jr., Stanfield

WR – Tucker Salinas, Sr., Hermiston

ATH – Jerry Ramirez, Sr., Hermiston

OL – Alec Williams, father, Umatilla

OL – Braydon Postma, sr., Pilot Rock

OL – Beau Blake, father, Hermiston

OL – Spencer Wells, Father, Mac-Salut

OL – Hunter Sater, Father, Weston-McEwen

K – Kirk Scott, soph., Weston-McEwen

DL – Donnie Clark, sr., Mac-Hi

DL – Elijah Pine, sr., Umatilla

DL – Beau Blake, Father, Hermiston

DL – Trevin Horne, father, Heppner

LB – Kolby Currin, Sr., Heppner

LB – Grant Kennedy, Sr., Pendleton

LB – Cade Anderson, Sr., Pendleton

LB – Sam Carlson, sr., Mac-Hi

DB – Chris Weinke, jr., Pilot Rock

DB – Jacob Speed, jr., Weston-McEwen

DB – Riley Chester, sr., Mac-Hi

DB – Nick Lani, Sr., Pendleton

DB – Jake Lindsay, father, Heppner

P – Brody Woods, jr., Stanfield

QB – Kaden Webb, jr., Umatilla

OB – Brett Speed, jr., Weston-McEwen

RB – Johnathan Hinkle, jr., Hermiston

RB – Carlos Zacarias, father, Irrigon

RB – Adrian Renner, jr., Stanfield

RB – Coby Dougherty, jr., Heppner

WR – Nick Lani, Sr., Pendleton

WR – Justin Maret, sr., Umatilla

WR – Chris Weinke, jr., Pilot Rock

WR – Cam Sandford, soph., Pendleton

ATH – Devan Craig, soph., Echo

ATH – Cord Flynn, sr., Ione

OL – Elijah Pine, father, Umatilla

OL – Tristan Cole, jr. Umatilla

OL – Hunter Barnes, Sr., Stanfield

OL – Wyatt Steagall, jr., Heppner

OL – Tim Jaca, father, Heppner

K – Enoel Angel, father, Stanfield

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