Viking footballers sign with Southern Oregon

In a ceremony at Siuslaw High School on May 24, seniors Avery Hart (seated, left) and Henry Rankin signed letters of intent to play football for Southern Oregon University. As pictured, the signing was well attended by both athletes’ families who came to show their support and admiration for Hart and Rankin’s achievement. (Photo by Becky Holbrook/www.beckdawgphotog.com/)

Hart, Rankin to remain teammates in Ashland

May 28, 2022 — The Siuslaw football team had a successful season in the fall of 2021, going undefeated and winning the OSAA 3A Football State Championship. Ask almost any Viking on the 2021 team what their secret to success was, and “brotherhood” is the response you will most likely get.

That brotherhood will continue for two of those athletes as seniors Henry Rankin and Avery Hart have both signed to continue their academic and football careers at Southern Oregon University.

Hart and Rankin made it official at a ceremony at Siuslaw High on May 24. Teammates, coaches, friends and family watched as both athletes signed on the dotted line, indicating their commitment to play for the Raiders in Ashland.

Hart and Rankin played on both the offensive and defensive line for the Vikings.

Rankin, known for being the team’s leader in pancake blocks, was named KCST/Siuslaw News Athlete of the Week on Oct. 12 when, in a game against La Pine, he had 2 sacks, 3 tackles and allowed no sacks while on the offensive line.

Rankin was known as not only a good football player but also a good teammate.

“When I showed up to my first day of football in January, I wasn’t sure how I would perform or learn, as this was not the typical season for high school football,” said Colt Waggoner, one of Rankin’s teammates on the 2021 Vikings. “I was welcomed by everyone with open arms, but most of all by Henry. He really helped me understand what it meant to wear the golden helmet and just how to be a better football player. Not only is he, himself, a talented football player, but he is also a great leader and someone I look up to.”

Hart also won an Athlete of the Week. His honor came on Nov. 16. He received additional accolades after the season when he was named first team all-state for the defensive line and second team all-state on the offensive line. Hart’s defensive play in Siuslaw’s 14-9 victory over South Umpqua to claim to the state championship is something Viking fans will not soon forget. He terrorized Lancer quarterback Jace Johnson all game, including a clutch sack in the fourth quarter.

“Always knew he was something special,” said Viking Assistant Football Coach John Rose. “Avery really is a great person. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to coach this young man over the years.”

Their future team, the Southern Oregon University Raiders, were 3-7 in the 2021 season. They open the 2022 season on Aug. 27 with a home game against Rocky Mountain College of Montana.

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