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- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Last Updated on June 27, 2012
- Published on October 21, 2006
- Hits: 10199
We’re down to the last 2 weeks. Its one of the biggest weekends of the season across the 6 classes, and 4A has its share of the best games, spread from Astoria to Klamath Falls to Ontario.
I was 18-3 last week, 139-42 so far. But missed 3 big ones with playoff implications, including the week’s biggest one.
Sportlight was in the dark about just how strong the Fish are, and I was too, but their two score win in ‘Poose further enlightened lots of folks. Jordan Poyer proved plenty productive in putting ‘Poose away, but the Fish defense proved a factor too. Full story.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulldogs learned in their first and only real road trip why there is no place like home. Their dream schedule may be a liability in the long run. The battle for survival is on in the Valco, while the Newport Cubs are the first team to lock up a #1 berth. The battle is especially pitched along the Skyline, where 5 teams can still find themselves anywhere from first to fifth.
Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (7-1, 3-0) @ Astoria Fishermen (8-0, 3-0). Coastal Collision of the week, Cowapa game of the week, 4A game of the week. This has to be the first time the Fish have been in the state-wide game of the week at their class level 2 weeks in a row.
The Tigers latest Zach Anderson led scoring spree drowned the last hopes of the Gulls; even the Ozzi system, which could probably award a Cowapa playoff berth to Molalla if it is allowed to see the light of day, can’t save the Gulls. The Fish have a cheese log in hand, so they can grab the Cowapa title, while ‘Poose is pulling for the Tigers (and an Ozzi scenario that will make sense only to Ozzi[e] Osborne). The Fish, Tigers, and Indians have locked up playoff tickets, but who gets which one is still to be decided.
The defenses are dead even in points allowed so far. The Tigers’ offense is second only to Sisters in scoring, while the Fish are more than a TD behind that pace. However, all 5 of the rating systems tracked on Oregonprepsports.net rate the Fish significantly higher. The complex Colley rating has historically been a very good indicator when the difference is more than a place or two. The relative strength of schedule is a factor in a number of the ways where the Fish place higher.
Best bet for the Tigers to win is a shoot-out. Keeping the Tigers to < 4TD is probably necessary for the Fish to win.
Location is a factor in this one too, and the above indications, and better balance, suggest rather strongly the Fish swim off with the Cowapa championship, and don’t swim inland again unless it’s a trip to the I84 corridor after Thanksgiving.
Banks Braves (0-8, 0-3) @ Scappoose Indians (6-2, 2-1). Banks was beaten badly at home by ‘Mook. ‘Poose was beaten soundly, if not badly, at home by the Fish. The key difference is the Braves are used to it by now, whereas the Indians are NOT used to losing, especially at home, or in the league. The #4 scoring offense in the state against the weakest defense in the league. And ‘Poose is MAD. Could very well be ‘Poose’s last home game. Indians won’t lose 2 straight at home. Last year, this rivalry was a mud bath. This year, the Indian war will be a bath of another kind. And not a good enough game to be a Sporty, or any other, kind of game of the week.
Tillamook Cheesemakers (2-6, 1-2) @ Seaside Seagulls (4-4, 0-3). The “we finished ahead of someone besides Banks” game of the week. The Seagulls have run into as tough a 3 game stretch as anyone. But they can still manage a winning season. The Cheesers have just plain been run into a lot. Gulls are a good team in a tough league. ‘Mook is, well, better than Banks.
Philomath Warriors (2-6, 1-1) @ Central Panthers (3-4, 1-1). The Panthers got their best offensive outing of the year by far in snapping a 4 game losing streak in Sweet Home, as a whole host of Panthers got their name in the paper. The Warriors were trampled by the Cubs.
The Valco game of the week by default, as the only game that has any impact on anything. A Panther win clinches the #2 berth, but a Warrior win doesn’t clinch anything. Central is finding their way at just the right time. Philomath isn’t finding anything but frustration with an offense that is next to last in 4A. Panthers win, and put off playing another meaningful down until after mid-November.
Taft Tigers (1-6, 0-2) @ Newport Cubs (5-2, 3-0). Taft tumbled to 3A Creswell, suffering from the usual effects of no offense or defense. The Cubs have a modest offense, even by Valco standards, but they also have the #2 defense in the state. And 2 practice games and a month to get ready for a home game against a third place team. Cubs toy with the toy Tigers.
North Bend Brown Bulldogs (5-3, 3-0) @ Sutherlin Blue Bulldogs (4-3, 1-2). Dogfight of the week, and Far West game of the week. The Brown dogs were looking like puppies a month ago, but 3 straight wins, including a blowout of Douglas on Hall of Fame night, their second shutout in a row, have them right in the middle of everything when it matters. The Bluedogs lost to the Bruins in the last seconds in one of the two best games of the week.
A Brown Bulldog win clinches a playoff berth. A Bluedog win could well mean a 3-way tie for 2 spots in the postseason. The Bluedogs have the more explosive offense, due to proven game-breakers in Dane Gilman and Lee Becker. They also have a defense that is nearly as good as the better known Browndog D, but the 5 ratings all rate the Browndogs considerably higher, again a product of the strength of the opposition.
The friendly surroundings of home will suit Sutherlin, but I expect they will find themselves in another pressure cooker game at the end. I also expect the urgency that the looming Vikings put on this game will drive the Browndogs to make enough key plays to control the outcome, and their destiny. But I also expect this to be one of the best games of the week first, and the best candidate for pick-buster of the week.
Siuslaw Vikings (7-0, 3-0) @ Douglas Trojans (2-5, 0-3). The Vikings shutout South Umpqua for their third shutout of the season by the #1 defense in 4A. Having the #5 offense as well, led by David Mesa, makes it easy to see the Vikings as a good bet to get to Autzen, regardless of the brackets. After a promising start, the wheels of the Trojan offense have come off. The third weakest offense against the top defense means a shutout, or close to it. The Vikings will breeze, headed for their showdown in North Bend next week.
Brookings-Harbor Bruins (4-3, 1-2) @ South Umpqua Lancers (2-6, 1-2). Elimination game, pure and simple. However, the Bruins have been in quite a few big games in recent years, and just won another, while the Lancers have only heard about big games from alumni. The offenses are somewhat similar, but the Bruin defense is markedly better, and will make short work of SU.
Phoenix Pirates (4-3, 3-0) @ Henley Hornets (5-3, 2-1). Skyline game of the week. A Pirate win locks them into the post season after they got a good win in North Valley. The Hornets having just stung the Cougars, still have RR ahead, so while a win doesn’t clinch anything, really it does. The Pirates have won 4 straight, and are playing as well as anyone. The Hornet defense has been overlooked, but is the reason they are hunting the playoffs.
The Hornets have the Klamath Basin advantage of elevation, and some would say officiating. And it Homecoming at the Hive, though last week against IV, after 4 straight on the road, was much more of a Homecoming. However, the Pirates have done well in a number of hostile environments already, including the big win over the Knights in Merlin, largely on the strength of a good ground game.
This is another pick-buster, where either one could well win. Henley has the edge in all 5 of the rating formulas, but the edge is really small. The best differentiating element I can fine is the Pelicans. The Hornets haven’t handled them, despite multiple trys, while the Pirates were able to. The Hive will be buzzing, but my hunch is the Pirates steal another, and set up the showdown with HV. The good news for the Hornets is that an HV win vs. NV means those Hornet wins over IV & NV means they still go to the playoffs when (not if) they beat RR.
North Valley Knights (4-3, 1-2) @ Hidden Valley Mustangs (6-2, 2-1). Last home game of the regular season for the Mustangs. Knights will be eliminated with a loss. Due to Henley’s game in hand vs. RR, the Mustangs don’t lock up a playoff trip with the win for themselves, but in effect do for the Hornets. The Mustangs took their turn clobbering the Chieftans last week. Knight QB Nate Ellis’ absence with meniscus surgery on his knee has corresponded with the rare back to back home losses NV has suffered. Ellis is questionable for the battle of the Valley boys, and while the NV defense, #4 in the state against scoring, will as always keep the Knights in the hunt, the shaky offense will not keep up with the Mustangs, as the Mustang defense isn’t bad either.
Rogue River Chieftans (0-7, 0-3) @ Illinois Valley Cougars (4-3, 1-2). Cougar Homecoming. IV is banged up, and got banged around the basin. The Chieftans’ 4A weakest offense was non-existent against the Mustangs, and is tailor made for the Cougars return home in an absolutely must win at all costs game. It won’t be that costly, and I get to pick both Cougars to win this week. It sets up a big trip to North Valley next week.
LaGrande Tigers (6-1, 1-0) @ Ontario Tigers (5-2, 1-0). BIG Cat fight of the week. LG edged the Bulldogs by 1 in the game of the night, and also set off the greatest amount of forum fuming of the season by the Bulldog faithful. O celebrated Homecoming by mauling the Pioneers. LG clinches a playoff trip with a win. O needs next week more, but its in Baker. The GOL game of the week could again be the best game in the state, though most of us will never know. LG has been better in close games, and better defensively. And better against Vale, not a bad barometer. That leads me to think LG defends their GOL title, and O-Tigers vs. Bulldogs next week will be a playoff game.
McLoughlin Pioneers (2-5, 0-1) @ Baker Bulldogs (4-3, 0-1). Elimination game in the GOL playoffs, er, season. The Pioneers appear to be playing out the string. The Bulldogs are playing for their season, and are smarting. And at home. No guesswork involved here; this one will be over early, all Bulldogs.
Cottage Grove Lions (4-4, 3-1) @ Sisters Outlaws (8-0, 4-0). Sky-Em game of the week, and its in Sisters again. Its going to be tougher next year when Marist gets the home field advantage, but right now, the big games are all in Sisters. Outlaws set the record books on fire in Elmira, and the Lions had a good tuneup against the visitors from Gladstone. Sisters wins the league with a win. The Lions can cause a 3 way tie with a win. Either way, both of them and Marist are going to the playoffs. But who goes where is at issue.
CG may be a more intriguing challenge than the Spartans were. Their point production against a tough schedule is better. But there have been no gaps in the Outlaw preparation this year. Sisters continues their run to the title game. Where they may just meet either one of their league rivals again.
Pleasant Hill Billies (2-5, 1-3) @ LaPine Hawks (1-7, 1-3). One of the bottom of the heap battles to build next season on. Last home game for the looong suffering Hawks. The Billies had one of their better outings against Marist, while the Hawks were shut out and blown out of JC by the Tigers. Hawks have elevation on their side, but unfortunately their defense has been shredded worse than any other in 4A. The Billie defense has only given up about half as many points, and that will make the difference in this one, as the Hawks won’t be able to muster many points, while giving up a lot of them.
Elmira Falcons (1-7, 0-4) @ Marist Spartans (6-2, 4-1). Last league game for the Spartans. The Falcons are fast closing in on the Hawks for weakest defense after Sisters came calling. Marist has nothing much to gain right now from big wins, so they are focusing on preparing for the playoffs, and correcting their weaknesses. Still, this will be a Spartan scrimmage, and the Falcons will glide back across the reservoir minus some more feathers.
The Sky-Em and the Valco hook up for non-conference games this week and next. This week its Junction City Tigers (2-5, 2-3) @ Sweet Home Huskies (3-5, 1-2). Last home game for the Huskies. A couple years ago, this would be the game of the week, but it’s a neighborly get together now. The Tigers are salvaging a disastrous season against teams not planning deep playoff runs, including LaPine last week. The Huskies had a chance to grab a playoff berth get away in the second half against Central, but in the Valco, they can still get there with a win over the Warriors in Philomath next week.
The Tigers are playing for pride, and the Huskies aren’t playing very well. Tigers out-quick the Huskies.
See the Capital Weekly review for details on the neighborhood brawl, the only 4A game against 3A this week, and how the championship will be decided.