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St. Helens has plenty to be excited about entering 2022: ‘I expect them to be competitive in every football game’

Here’s our look at the St. Helens Lions of the Class 4A Cowapa League.

By Paul Valencia | Photo by Taylor Balkom 

SBLive Oregon will break down every 6A, 5A and 4A team in the state leading up to the 2022 football season. Here’s our look at the St. Helens Lions of the Class 4A Cowapa League. 



Cory Young, eighth season (23-37)


2021 (fall): 1-7 overall, 0-7 in 5A NWOC West

2021 (spring): 1-3 overall, 1-2 in 5A NWOC West

2019: 2-7 overall, 1-5 in 5A NWOC West

2018: 4-5 overall, 3-3 in 5A NWOC West


Kameron Shuttlesworth, RB

Dylan Shafer, WR

Tyler Jennings, OL


Tyler Tolles, quarterback/defensive back, senior

One of the hardest workers on the team, he hit the weight room and built himself into an even stronger athlete. 

Tolles took over as the starting quarterback during the abbreviated spring season of 2021. That means this is his third season in that vital role.

“He loves to compete. He’s very level-headed,” Young said. “Not a lot rattles him. He has a great understanding of the offense, and I really like his composure.”

Tolles also is a basketball player and he plays golf. Young loves that Tolles is always active, always competing.

Korbyn Lee, tight end/linebacker, senior

Lee will become a three-year starter on both sides of the ball. Still, watch for him to make a leap this season. It is one thing to be a starter. But now, he is ready to dominate. He made the all-camp team at Linfield during the summer.

“At camp, we saw him make some great catches, and he’s getting better and better at linebacker, running in space, making plays,” Young said.

Mason Erickson, offensive line/defensive line, junior; Mitchell Barroso, offensive line/defensive line, junior

It’s difficult to talk about one without talking about the other. Both had a great offseason, Young said. Maybe they took a few weeks off to rejuvenate after the last football season, but then they put in the work almost every day starting with the winter months, becoming among the strongest athletes in the school.

“They can run, they can move as well as anyone on the team, and they’re very smart,” Young said. “They will see a lot of minutes on both sides of the ball.”

Trevor Hjort, offensive line/defensive line, senior

One of those do-anything linemen who makes a difference wherever he plays. Young said Hjort is willing to do the tough things as a defensive lineman, playing nose guard. But don’t be surprised to see Hjort elsewhere on the defensive line. On offense, he has played some center, but he also does a great job at tackle.

“He really likes to finish off blocks,” Young said.

Jayce Graham, tight end/linebacker, junior

Speaking of guys who excel at a number of positions, Graham had to bring two jerseys to each game a year ago. Seriously. A lineman on some plays, a tight end on others, he had to wear the eligible number for the position.

“He really worked himself into a pretty explosive athlete,” Young said. 

The best guess is Graham will be used more as a tight end this season.

“The way he’s running and moving now, he can be a real weapon,” Young said.

On defense, Graham is moving again, this time from the defensive line to linebacker.

“He’s one of the guys who would do anything you needed,” the coach said.

Austin Stockwell, punter/kicker/running back/defensive back, junior

This special teams guy is, well, special. (He is more than special teams, though. He can play running back and defensive back.) A year ago, he got some all-league recognition as a punter.

“He’s probably a better kicker than he is a punter,” Young said.


The record from last season sticks out, and not in a good way. Can’t hide from 1-7.

The numbers do not lie, but they do not tell the whole story. St. Helens had to forfeit three games, dealing with pandemic protocols. 

“Last year was so frustrating,” Young said. “I’m excited to get out there with a normal season again, being competitive and getting better every week.”

It was not just the forfeiture of games that held the Lions back, but the lack of practice time for so many players during shutdowns. The JV team played only four games.

An argument can be made that St. Helens might have been hit as hard as any program. The numbers don’t lie, after all.

Other numbers have led to some major changes — as in enrollment numbers. The Lions will transition from Class 5A to 4A.

“It’s a better fit for us,” Young said of playing similar size schools.

That does not necessarily mean instant success for 2022. St. Helens will have to work for everything it gets.

“There is a lot of good football in the Cowapa,” Young said. “A lot of success in that league. You better be ready, show up ready to go.”

The strength of the team entering the season has to be the solid group of offensive and defensive linemen.

“Our kids have had a great offseason,” Young said. “I expect them to be competitive in every football game.”

Fingers crossed, there should be no problem getting to play every game that is scheduled, too. That is a big deal for the Lions.

“I’m excited to get back to a normal school year and a normal season and get to compete every week,” Young said. 


“I call it a big little town. It’s a lot bigger than I knew growing up but still has the small-town feel. People know everybody. We have tough, blue-collar kids who work really hard, with great parent support.” — Cory Young, now in his eighth year as head coach at St. Helens