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- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Last Updated on June 27, 2012
- Published on October 1, 2006
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The second half of the regular season sees the start of league games In the Skyline, FarWest, Valco, & Cowapa leagues.
Week 5 was a weird week, with a lot of upsets, and ample evidence of why this column amounts to the “Weekly Wild Guesses”.
First, a penalty flag on the Coug for overlooking the Reedsport Braves vs. South Umpqua Lancers game in last week’s review. Counting that as a miss, I was 14-12 last week, 83-34 so far. Even in correctly predicting the ex-GOL to get another upset against the current GOL, I got the wrong one. But truthfully, how many times recently has both Vale & Nyssa lost, and Burns won? Suggesting Henley as a possibility for an upset of Mazama was a good call; not actually picking them wasn’t.
And how about them Cubbies? Newport is now doing what they didn’t come close to doing their first 2 games, despite their fans faith, which may have been more well-founded than it originally appeared. I think its another example of how valuable a real game instead of a jamboree is in the first week. The sooner that first game is played, the sooner the bugs get shaken out, instead of maybe hiding for an extra week. Especially when you have to reload with inexperienced players.
Cowapa game of the week is a candidate for not only “Coastal Collision” of the week, but also 4A game of the week. Seaside Seagulls (4-1) @ Astoria Fishermen (5-0). Gulls rebounded from the Newport loss that doesn’t look so bad now with a solid shutout of Sweet Home. The Fish stayed perfect, grabbing a close one from Yreka in Autzen stadium, and now swim back down stream, with only 1 more trip inland until possibly in the post season. This is a neighborhood rivalry and very possibly a playoff game. It doesn’t get any better than that. Seaside has the top scoring defense in the league, but Astoria has shown more offense, and the ability to win close games against good teams. Fish also have the home field advantage, and, despite losing line anchor Alex Whitaker to a broken ankle in the Yreka game, should take a big step toward the playoffs with a tough win.
Tillamook Cheesemakers (1-4) @ Scappoose Indians (4-1). ‘Poose defense pitched a shutout to go with good offense in Philomath. Cheesemakers are making fewer points each week. All indicators point toward the Indians winning big at home. This one could be over in the time it took to read this paragraph.
Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (4-1) @ Banks Braves (0-5). As noted, Banks is brave, but the defense couldn’t beat Taft’s Tigers with 35 pts. to work with. These Tigers are going to be snarling after getting shut down by the Cubs in what was supposed to be a day at the beach for YC. Another set of Tigers take out some frustration on the Braves.
Game of the week is Sweet Home Huskies (2-3) @ Newport Cubs (2-2) because its probably for playoff positioning. And there is a HUGE difference in the degree of difficulty involved with the different Valco playoff bracket seeds. The Huskies didn’t show well in Seaside, stopped 7 times when they had scoring opportunities. However, their pattern has been to answer a poor outing with a good one, and that would make this another Husky bounce back week. However, Newport is really on the rise. The Cubs have played a very tough schedule, beat the same Gulls handily that just throttled the Huskies, and have found a game and ball control offense to go with a rather stout defense. Cubs take the early driver’s seat in the Valco race.
Philomath Warriors (1-4) @ Taft Tigers (1-3). Warriors lost another Indian war to the invaders, this time against the ‘Poose Indians. Philo. hasn’t scored in 3 weeks, and hasn’t scored a meaningful point since opening night. Tigers actually have some momentum after winning a close one, never mind if is was Banks. Warriors are in the same boat as Banks, and Taft, playing at home, should actually fashion a winning streak.
The Central Panthers finish their non-conference schedule against the Molalla Indians. Check the Capital Conference Weekly review for more on this one.
Game of the week and the other candidate for “Coastal Collision” of the week is Brookings-Harbor Bruins (3-1) @ Siuslaw Vikings (4-0). The Bruins beat Bandon in a good game, and the Vikings filled their ship’s hold with cheese for the return voyage from Tilly, which put up very little resistance. The Bruins are playing good ball, and are headed for a good year because they are playing good D. But the Vikings appear to be the real deal, with good offense and shutdown defense. So it will probably be 54-49. Not! More likely 20-13. And more than likely, the Vikings into first place to stay in their first game back in a coastal/southern league.
North Bend Bulldogs (2-3) @ South Umpqua Lancers (1-4). The Bulldogs came close against HV, and the Lancers came close against 3A Reedsport. Statistically, these teams are similar. But the Bulldogs have done a little better against a stronger schedule, and that trend should continue. Bulldogs avoid the Lance, and bite SU.
Sutherlin Blue Bulldogs (3-1) @ Douglas Trojans (2-2). Bluedogs made a bit of a statement against previously unbeaten IV. Trojans experienced another in the long line of defensive statements that NV has made. The Bluedogs make their first trip out of town, and its just a short jaunt. The defenses appear similar, but the Suthelin offense at QB and RB is distinctly the better of the 2. Bluedogs have the meat of their schedule, Siuslaw, a trip to Brookings, and NB, in the next 3 weeks, and really need this one going into that stretch. And they will get it.
Game of the week is the Henley Hornets (3-2) @ Hidden Valley Mustangs (4-1). Henley got a big win at Mazama, as did HV against NB, both by a TD. The Hornets are going to make the Skyline a 5 way race for 3 playoff spots. The Mustangs have recovered from their Del Norte misadventure, and are headed for one of those playoff spots with a steady offense, and a big win in this one.
Phoenix Pirates (1-3) @ Illinois Valley Cougars (3-1). Cougar turnovers in the redzone against the Bluedogs were very costly. The Pirates got their first win in a 1 pointer over the 5A Klamath Pelicans. The Pelicans’ goal line stand prevented a winning Pirate TD, but the ensuing safety on a punt snap after the Pirate D held was still enough to make the difference in a classic southern football battle. Expect more of the same here, and mistakes, forced or otherwise, probably make the difference again. This is one that IV just about has to have. Despite the records, I can’t help but think the tougher competition the Pirates have faced distorts the records and the picture. The Cougars lack of passing offense is also a concern. It all points to the Pirates in a mild upset.
North Valley Knights (3-1) @ Rogue River Chieftans (0-4). Home opener for the Chieftans. Knights beat Douglas in typical NV fashion, with a strong defensive effort. Chieftans absorbed a terrible beating by 2A Cascade Christian. NV probably won’t pile up as many points, but don’t be surprised if they do. RR gets run out of town in their own town.
The GOL took on the smaller ex-GOL the last 3 weeks, and took a hit each week. Having had enough, three of them take off out of state, and the Baker Bulldogs (3-2) just take the week off, after dropping 2 in a row on Highway 20.
LaGrande Tigers (4-0) @ Moscow (ID) Bears (3-4). The Bears have lost their last 2, and 4 of 5, after a good start. The Tigers are on their “improving every week” plan, intended to hit stride in late October, and peak in November. The Bears will be another step up the stairs for LG.
Ontario Tigers (4-1) @ Fruitland (ID) Grizzlies (4-1). The Griz lost by 2 against LG, and have been pretty solid all season. The Tigers would like a do over against Vale, after a 1 TD loss, and have won comfortably every other time out, including last week against Nyssa. That sets this up as an excellent game, maybe game of the week in the state, and it isn’t even in the state. I don’t see how this doesn’t go down to the end, and a big play or a big mistake is probably the difference. I sense the Tigers are going to the playoffs, and with all those X’s GOL #2 could benefit from, maybe quite a ways in them. I can’t point to a key that gives either team a big advantage. But I can’t shake the feeling the Griz will find a way to claw this one out. And probably make the Tigers even tougher in the long run.
McLoughlin Pioneers (2-3) @ Wahluke (WA) Warriors (3-2). This game was a relatively late addition to the Pioneer schedule after redistricting left them scrambling to fill their schedule. It’s a good addition for both. Could be a pretty fair game, given that the records suggest this is a matchup of similarly successful teams. The record also suggests the Warriors at home are the better of the two.
Game of the week is the only one where both teams have at least 2 wins. Cottage Grove Lions (2-3, 1-1) @ Pleasant Hill Billies (2-2, 1-0). Lions are emerging from the toughest start to the season in the state in pretty good shape, having just beat JC solidly. Billies are beating weaker teams, but not the better ones. That trend continues, and the Lions stay in the playoff hunt.
Sisters Outlaws (5-0, 1-0) @ LaPine Hawks (1-4, 1-1). One of the best teams in the state against one of the weakest. This probably actually hurts Cory McCaffrey’s stats because the JVs will be in sooner than usual. The Outlaws destroyed Stayton while the Hawks were destroyed by Marist. About all the Hawks will be able to do is compare the top 2 teams and top 2 RBs in the state after this.
Junction City Tigers (0-4, 0-2) @ Marist Spartans (4-1, 2-0). How things have changed. Check the records and you won’t find many years where the Tigers are 0 for September, or 0 for the year past mid-season. This year they are the former, and will be the latter. JC is being beaten by good teams, but is still being beaten. Marist mauled the Hawks, and are in their last tune up before the game of the year in Sisters. Spartans keep control of first place in the league.