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- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Published on September 23, 2006
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In the Sky-Em & Capital Conferences, league play rolls on. No one else plays a counting game until October, but they will play some interesting games this week.
1 game better this week, 19-6 on 4A games picked last week, 69-22 so far. Didn’t do well on Coastal Collisions missing 3. And Baker proved (again) that they are one of the hardest teams to figure. The lesson for many is that Vale isn’t.
There are 2 interesting games in Autzen stadium, Astoria Fishermen (4-0) vs. Yreka Miners (3-1), and Central Panthers (2-1) vs. Sutter Huskies (3-1).
The Yreka & Astoria staffs put this together after contact in previous years at the Gold Beach camp. Both Oregon teams are outside shots to return to Autzen in December.
The Fish get a rare chance to showcase themselves downstate, and build on their surprisingly good start on the big stage. The Panthers have lost double digit leads 3 weeks in a row, but then scored the late. The first 2 times, it was to win in OT. But in Scappoose, the Indians responded to a 17-0 Panther run out with 42 straight. That time, 1 TD wasn’t enough of an answer. But Central does get themselves in interesting games.
The Fish are up against a tough team in Yreka, a Cal. Div II Northern league team. The Miners, who have already beaten 5A Mazama big, have an enrollment of 759. Astoria, with a last ADM of 777, is comparable in size, but the Fish aren’t used to major travel and the kind of environments the Miners get into. Yreka won their first 3 games, 1 a shutout, & 2 handily, before losing 22-20 Saturday in Sparks, Nevada, the #9 team in Nevada, all classes. Except for the 1 pt. win vs. Molalla, the Fish have won against very suspect opponents. Its an excellent growth experience for the program and the players. But I think it will be too big a task; Fish lose their first.
Central’s opponent is from the Cal. Div II Butte View league, and has an enrollment of 766, virtually the same as Central; 788 in the last ADM figures. Last year’s Central team would have been a good pick to win this; this year’s Panthers are more problematic, letting teams back in games when they should close them out. The Huskies’ wins have come against teams with 1 win each so far. Central has an excellent coaching staff, and I sense this could be the key to the improvement that produces a Panther win.
No matter how it goes, the Astoria & Central staffs are to be commended for creative risk taking that will give their players experience in a tremendous facility, and a unique exposure.
A Cowapa-Valco matchup is Scappoose Indians (3-1) @ Philomath Warriors (1-3). The Warriors have struggled terribly since opening night. The Indians have already battle tested their spears, arrows, & tomahawks. This won’t be as tough a test for ‘Poose as their JV is in practice.
Coastal collision of the week is hard to identify, as there are several games, and also a lot of question marks.
Siuslaw Vikings (3-0) @ Tillamook Cheesemakers (1-3). The Vikings are for real, having dispatched Dayton. The ‘Mooks are taking their lumps, and they aren’t curds. Viking ship sails thru the Cheese Factory.
3A Bandon Tigers (2-2) @ Brookings-Harbor Bruins (2-1). This has been a league matchup at times over the years in both the Sunset & Far West. This renewal is a non-conference game between teams that have had good and disappointing days already, including last week’s loss for both teams. Bandon is a level lower than the Bruins right now. Bruins rebound.
Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (4-0) @ Newport Cubs (1-2). Newport finally found some offense in Seaside, and the Cubs defense has been respectable, but haven’t seen anything like what is coming, even from Siuslaw. QB Zach Anderson and the rest of the Tiger offense have been absolutely torrid so far. Check out the Oregonian's article on Zach Anderson for some additional insight on the resurgence at YC. Cubs get their fur singed in this one.
Sweet Home Huskies (2-2) @ Seaside Seagulls (3-1). The Huskies play well at home, and not so well on the road. The Gulls were cruising until the Cubs derailed them. I think this is the pick for best Coastal Collision because it looks to be the most competitive matchup. Seaside is steady, and experienced, but not spectacular. Sweet Home is breaking in a lot of new starters this year, and I think they may have made more progress from where they started. Huskies in a mild upset.
Banks Braves (0-4) @ Taft Tigers (0-3). This week’s edition of someone doesn’t go 0-fer. Banks is brave, but not much else, other than small. I’m not sure what Taft is, if anything. Banks has been bashed, but by teams that are a combined 11-5. Taft’s opponents are 10-2, so neither team scheduled soft. Which might have made more sense in a reload-with-blanks year. The Braves have generated more offense, and that should make for a nice vacation at the beach before the fall rains set in.
There are a bunch of “Southern Struggles”. The “Valley” boys are right in the middle of the action.
North Bend Bulldogs (2-2) @ Hidden Valley Mustangs (3-1). The Bulldogs are starting a tough run with 3 straight, and 4 of 5, on the road. HV saw their ranking take a hit from out of state, but rebounded. The key for the Bulldogs is whether their defense shows up. It did vs. Phoenix, and the result was a big rebound win in NB. I think this is close enough that the home crowd is the difference. HV in one of the best games of the week.
Douglas Trojans (2-1) @ North Valley Knights (2-1). The Knights defense is back in usual form. The Trojans are finding out how tough “Valley” football is. NV in a typical Knight slugfest, which is not what the Trojans want to get into. (No one does, but with NV, that’s usually what happens anyway.)
Illinois Valley Cougars (3-0) @ Sutherlin Blue Bulldogs (2-1). Bluedogs have yet to leave town, and only will twice all season, in a schedule that at least saves the faithful a lot of gas. Cougars are enjoying their run as the best in the south. Bluedogs were throttled, as I expected, by NV, and is about to find out it was no fluke. Probably for the first time in history, I’m picking both the Cougars at this level to win for the third week in a row. Cougars claw the Bluedogs.
5A Klamath Union Pelicans (3-1) @ Phoenix Pirates (0-3). The Pelicans are doing well these days, at the expense of their smaller Skyline Conference neighbors. The Pirates had to reload, and have been competitive, but against a very tough schedule. It doesn’t get any easier here. Pelicans fly back to Klamath 4-0 in the Skyline Conference.
Henley Hornets (2-2) @ 5A Mazama Vikings (2-2). Another Klamath Basin bragging rights battle. This should be Henley’s best chance for a big win, but Mazama has numbers, though maybe not as tough of opponents so far. Second of 4 straight away from the hive for the Hornets. Trap game for the Vikings, but I suspect they get the job done in this one. If you are passing thru K-Falls Friday night, its worth it to check this one out; it’s a huge upset possibility.
Rogue River Chieftans (0-3) @ 2A Cascade Christian Challengers (2-1). Cascade Christian is a good 2A team that has done well while playing up. They have NCAA D-1 coaching, and are a solid program. Rogue River is not a very good 2A team, much less a 4A team. Probably just as well that they still haven’t played a home game; what is there to market? CC rolls, and has to look like a favorite to run the table in the 2A Southern Cascade after this last tuneup.
Again this week, it’s the current GOL against the 3A ex-GOL. Last week, it was a 2-2 split. The Treasure Valley is FAR FAR from most of the state, but it hosts 2 good bets for game of the week in 4A & 3A. I pick the game in Vale as the 3A game of the week, and the game in Ontario as the 4A game of the week.
LaGrande Tigers (3-0) @ 3A Vale Vikings (2-1). Tiges exploded, though the ability of Grant Union to resist is limited. Vale is 2-0 in the GOL, with impressive wins over Ontario & Baker, and is at home. The Vikings would dearly love to sweep I-84, and don’t think it isn’t a possibility. The Tigers have to be very nervous about this one. Which should have them focused. I think the Tigers have in mind that they should win the combined GOL-Eastern Oregon crown, not Vale. And I think they get this one.
3A Nyssa Bulldogs (3-1) @ Ontario Tigers (3-1). Ontario took out some frustration on Burns, and Nyssa flat took out McLoughlin. Bulldogs are in deep, but don’t think they don’t have a shot too. Experience says the ex-GOL probably gets one, and this is the best bet. Nyssa may not be quite what they were last year, but this would be a huge one. Upset pick #2 of the week.
Baker Bulldogs (3-1) @ 3A Burns Hilanders (1-3). Vale quieted Baker down for now. Its Burns that will pay for that, just as they did against Ontario after Vale handled them. Message for Athletic Directors making schedules: check Vale’s schedule, and do NOT play their opponents next. They are never going to be in a good mood. Baker won’t be home for a month, though that is only a few hours longer than the average GOL trip. Last week & this in Burns is the farthest west appearance that Ontario & Baker, respectively, will make unless it’s a playoff trip. What it all means is Burns will be an expert on the mysterious visitors from the east, having lost to both.
3A Riverside Pirates (0-3) @ McLoughlin Pioneers (1-3). The northern tier of these teams are not on the level of the southern/eastern tier. Its Homecoming in Milton-Freewater, and the Pios have scheduled wisely. Pios enjoy this one.
Sisters (4-0, 1-0) blasted JC, and drops in on old Capital Conference foe Stayton this week. See the Capital Conference weekly roundup for the pick on this one. Or, just know the Outlaws will enjoy the ride over the pass.
Cottage Grove Lions (1-3, 0-1) @ Junction City Tigers (0-3, 0-1). The big cats can start by comparing notes (and bruises) from being run over by the state’s top 2, Marist & Sisters. Then they can get down to the business of seeing which one is going to make a run at that third playoff berth. I’ve said CG could be a top 10 team with the toughest first half schedule out there. JC just hasn’t come together. Lions get the nod. And could be a force in the playoffs (the Sky-Em #3 isn’t a bad draw at all), if they can just get there.
LaPine Hawks (1-3, 1-0) @ Marist Spartans (3-1,1-0). The winner takes over sole possession of first place. It would take a bus wreck to stop the Spartans in this one, and it’s the Hawks that are making the trip, so their 1 chance doesn’t apply. Marist is a mauling.
Pleasant Hill Billies (1-2, 0-0) @ Elmira Falcons (0-4, 0-1). Pleasant Hill got sliced up by a 21-23 passing night from the Cascade Cougars, and couldn’t run the ball. The perfect antidote is a visit to Elmira. Their disaster in the high desert at LaPine represents the biggest dropoff from where they were at this time last year of any team in the state. Falcons are now living for a visit to Waldport next week.