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Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
Published on September 1, 2008
First Full Weekend Features 12 Games Against 5A and 3A Opponents
On opening week, 4A teams did better against 5A opposition, splitting six games, than they did against 3A teams, who took two of three contests. The trend could continue, as the 3A teams that step up are some of the tougher ones. I was 18-6, missing on a pair of two point games.
Coastal Collisions from Border to Border. Even with Siuslaw inland, when you add the game in Seaside (see the Capital Rundown), it is possibly the most competitive weekend of the year in 4A the length of the coast.
North Valley Knights (1-0) at 3A Gold Beach Panthers (1-0). North Valley came from behind, overcoming giving up a second half opening kickoff return for a touchdown, for a 9-7 win over Klamath. It appears the old standard Knight defense is once again in force in Merlin. Defending 3A state champion Gold Beach outscored the 5A Crook County Cowboys 36-22.
In addition to kicking a field goal, a skill that many teams lack, the Knights also demonstrated poise under pressure, as quarterback Ryan Anderson led a game winning drive over the final 1:20, connecting with James Hogg for a touchdown as time expired. Tony Norman added 121 rushing yards for NV as well.
Gold Beach pulled away with a 12-0 fourth quarter, as Travis Moore racked up 148 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while quarterback Jeff Knox added 85 more yards, and another touchdown, on 12 carries. Running back Garrett Wolford added another three touchdowns. But the Cowboys stayed in the game with an interception return for a touchdown, and a 64 yard Doug Hall to Zach Lea scoring completion.
So we have the Gold Beach offense against the North Valley Defense. And the best Coastal Collision of the bunch. Don’t expect the Panthers to pile up as many yards or points against the North Valley defense. And Anderson, who threw for over 100 yards against the Pelicans, will test the GB secondary.
Gold Beach got a 28-14 road win last year, but this time it should be much closer. With Panther coach Kevin Swift promising to drive his team hard in preparation for the Knights, the urgency is evident. But while it will better prepare Gold Beach for a run through the 3A ranks, it won’t be enough this time. Knights ride out of town with the win.
Cottage Grove Lions (0-1) at Astoria Fishermen (1-0). Cottage Grove scored the last 10 points in a 33-17 loss to the 5A Willamette Wolverines that spoiled coach Gary Roberts’ debut. The Fish swam home with a 41-12 win over Cascade, as Jordan Poyer returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and threw for three more. Poyer, who threw for 235 yards, did most of his damage in the third quarter, when the Fish scored 27 points in five and a half minutes.
The Lions stopped the Wolverines in the red zone twice before halftime, but a nearly eight minute scoring drive that opened the third quarter finally wore the Lion defense down. Astoria doesn’t have the quantity of athletes that WilHi has, but they have one of the best individual weapons in the state in Poyer, and confidence, having overcome a deficit in an inland game, something that the lacked, and were plagued by, last year.
Watch for the Fish to find a way to break the game open in their home opener, and pull out the win in a physical battle the Lions have the advantage in for a while.
Newport Cubs (1-0) at North Bend Bulldogs (0-1). The Cubs’ 20-0 win at Junction City was an impressive statement. The Brown Bulldogs’ 31-9 loss to a Marshfield team that is rebuilding was a statement too, but in the wrong way. Tied at halftime, North Bend was in the game until late, but turnovers and missed opportunities against a beatable opponent in Marshfield beat the beatable Bulldogs.
Golly, the Cubs are tough when they have their defense working. It allows their preferred offensive style to control the game. The Brown Bulldogs’ defense isn’t up to recent standards yet, and it would need to be, with the offensive losses they suffered, losing three thousand yard rushers from last year. The Cubs made JC pay for mistakes, and they will do it again in the bay. Cubs reverse last year’s 32-22 loss, and break a two year Bulldog win streak against them.
5A Marshall Minutemen (0-1) at Tillamook Cheesemakers (1-0). The Minutemen were only in it for about a minute in their 43-8 loss to the Franklin Quakers, who are not exactly one of the PIL powers. The Cheesemakers jumped to a 16-0 lead against MacHi, and held on to win 16-7, in a game where all the scoring was done in the first half. This despite being completely one dimensional, with no passing yardage.
Marshall’s only competitive outing since an Oct. 12 2006 win over a Madison team that went “oh-fer” the year provided South Umpqua their only win last season. The Minutemen wouldn’t be a playoff contender in 3A.
The Cheesemakers have won 2 of their last 3 games, and that trend will run to 3 for 4, due to their schedule. Tilly better use the scrimmage to work on a passing game if they want to be competitive during the meat of their schedule. But against Marshall, there are no worries; Cheese for everyone.
Hidden Valley Mustangs (1-0) at Brookings-Harbor Bruins. It’s the Bruins opener. The Mustangs stampeded past a hapless South Umpqua squad for a 33-7 stomping. Todd Woodrum rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown, and Steven Powell added 94 yards rushing a pair of TDs, one a 66 yard gallop, for the Mustangs in their home opener.
It may or may not get any tougher as the Mustangs trot over to the coast. The Bruins missed the post season last year after four straight appearances, and they lost most of the talent off that team. And they don’t have any game experience yet either. Not a good sign with the Mustangs, who have an intact 4 year playoff run, ride into town.
The Bruins have been picked by some to finish as low as last in the Far West. Which means finishing behind Douglas and South Umpqua. That says something about how empty the talent pool might be on the far south coast. Perhaps the Bruins could borrow some players from Gold Beach. It still wouldn’t be enough though, as the Mustangs trample another Far West team.
Beyond the coast games, a couple of the top games involve teams visiting the Capital Conference, and the states best team, the Central Panthers, who visit Molalla. The Capital conference rundown also details Siuslaw vs. La Salle, which will be played at Jesuit, a matchup of the defending champions of the Far West and Capital conferences, and also Scappoose’s visit to Gladstone.
5A Marshfield Pirates (1-0) at Marist Spartans (0-1). Marshfield needed most of the game to pull away from North Bend. Central needed until the second half to put Marist away 56-42.
The Pirates were mired in an exchange of penalties and turnovers (10 total between the teams) until the fourth quarter, up only 12-9. Marshfield quarterback Kyle Tedder did complete 7 of 12 passes for two touchdowns and 98 yards, and the Pirates accumulated over 140 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Marshfield defense, and North Bend miscues, held the Bulldog offense under 100 yards.
The Spartans answered any questions about their passing game under new coach Frank Geske, as Tevin Cheever completed 19 of 26 attempts, for 5 touchdowns, and 385 yards, against Central. The verdict on the Marist defense will have to wait, though. Despite piling up nearly 500 yards of offense, Central still overcame a first quarter 14-0 Spartan lead, and pulled away to a 56-42 win.
The Panthers gashed thru the Spartans for over 560 yards, and QB Grant Hedrick shredded the Marist secondary for 6 touchdown throws. Add three interceptions, and eleven penalties, and Marist just couldn’t keep up with the torrid pace.
The Spartans won’t face such a powerful offense from the Pirates, or many other teams, for that matter, and will have some time to work out the kinks. Remember how they were chewed up by Sisters last year, but by the time the playoffs rolled around, the Spartans had cleaned things up.
Marshfield is a 5A team, but not one of the top ones. They cannot repeat the number of miscues they had in the opener and hope to survive the Spartan attack. Look for this season to start very similarly to last year, when Marist gave up a lot of points in their opener to one of the top teams around, Sheldon in that case, then bounced back with a 26-20 win over Marshfield, on their way to a strong playoff run. Spartans win their home opener, after one of the better games of the night.
Philomath Warriors (1-0) at Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (0-1). The Warriors’ Keith Fakhoury scored on a three yard run with just over four minutes left in the first quarter, and Philomath never lost that lead, in defeating Stayton 13-6. Holding the Eagles to two first downs, it was the middle of the fourth quarter before Stayton pulled within a point. But the Warriors stopped the two point conversion, and Fakhoury came back from a bout of cramps to key a time consuming drive that Trevor Motter’s six yard touchdown carry capped to seal the deal.
The Tigers, playing several freshmen, competed with, but couldn’t keep up with Gladstone, falling 35-18 to the Gladiators. Riley Martin completed 15 of 30 passes for 211 yards, and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, only two of which were to Tigers. Matt Wood and Austin Herb caught scoring tosses, but Gladstone’s Austin Foteff picked off one of Martin’s passes, and took it 42 yards for a touchdown the other way. Wood had eight catches for 114 yards, and Heath Rhodes had 75 yards on 11 carries for the Tigers. The offensive showing against one of the state’s top teams signals better things are ahead for YC.
The Warriors aren’t nearly as explosive offensively as the Gladiators though, so the young Tigers that got their fur singed in the trial by fire opener should bounce back with the win on Alumni night in their home opener.
3A Rainier Columbians (1-0) at Banks Braves (1-0). The Columbians came from behind to edge Santiam Christian 14-7 in Corvallis, on a pair of Andrew Allen rushing touchdowns. Banks beat down Estacada 21-7 in their home opener.
For a long time, this was a regular Cowapa contest, which has survived redistricting. Last year, Rainier claimed a 22-0 win, and this year the Columbians’ defense will keep them in the game. But when Banks can put points on the board, they seem to become remarkably tough. Watch this as a barometer of how good these teams will be this year. And watch for Banks to turn the tables with a better offense than in recent times. The Columbians are the class of the Lewis & Clark league, but their lack of a strong air game makes them vulnerable to good offenses.
Suthrelin Blue Bulldogs (0-1) vs. 3A Cascade Christian Challegers. (Saturday at Crater High School). Last year, the Challengers thrashed the Bluedogs 50-12, and that was a Sutherlin team that reached the quarterfinals. This year’s edition of the Blue Bulldogs fell to Pleasant Hill, winless last year, and a 41-7 victim of the Bluedogs with largely the same roster, by a 14-12 margin. Down 14-0, the Bluedogs did mount a fourth quarter rally, as Dirk Kats and Brian Andry both scored touchdowns. But both conversions failed, as did the comeback attempt. Special teams matters.
It’s Cascade Christian’s opener, but a lack of game experience won’t be enough of a handicap. The Challengers have developed into one of the more solid teams in any class in football crazy southern Oregon by assembling and training some of the top linemen in the area. Challengers won’t find the Blue Bulldogs very challenging.
Elmira Falcons (1-0) at Douglas Trojans (0-1). The Falcons overcame a Seaside score with 20 straight points, and flew off with a 20-6 win, after having a nice vacation on the coast. Brodie Davis completed 12 of 15 passes for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Falcons. The game was in doubt after scoreless middle periods, until Davis threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to Carlos Real, and followed that with a 15 yard toss to Trevor Daniels in Elmira’s 12-point fourth quarter.
The Trojans were shut out in Phoenix 7-0, and mustered only 100 yards of offense, and only 10 thru the air. The Pirates aired out the Trojan secondary for 160 yards, though Douglas did get a pain of interceptions. Davis is a more accomplished passer, and will also slice up the Trojans, and the Falcons will fly off with the win, and a 2-0 start on the road.
3A Myrtle Point Bobcats (1-0) at South Umpqua Lancers (0-1). The Bobcats bombed Illinois Valley 40-24. After starting quarterback Ryan Hamilton tosses a TD pass, he rolled his ankle. So new Bobcat coach John Marquez brought in Kyle Davis, who proceeded to throw five more.
The Lancers 33-7 loss in Murphy also saw South Umpqua lose sophomore quarterback Josh Kennedy, who went out in the second quarter after injuring his right index finger. Ryan Smedley who took over, wasn’t supposed to play, due to a hip injury.
Jake Hill scored the Lancer’s only points on a 65 yard run in the second period, and led the team with nine carries for 78 yards on the night. Triton Crane added 38 rushing yards. But with a banged up quarterback corps, and a porous defense, look for the Bobcats to have another air show. MP goes to 2-0 against 4A opponents.
Illinois Valley Cougars (0-1) at Pleasant Hill Billies (1-0). The Cougars did score three straight touchdowns to pull back within one point at one point in their 40-24 loss. Roger Hults threw 3 touchdowns for Illinois Valley. The Cougars also recovered 2 fumbles and scored on a blocked punt.
Cody Bagwell scored on 28 and 6 yards runs in the second quarter to build a 14-0 lead for the Billies. Pleasant Hill made coach Randy Fisher’s return an immediate success by holding off Sutherlin’s fourth quarter rally for their first win since Sept. 29, 2006 against Elmira.
The win won’t become a win streak though, as the rebuilding Cougars have enough offense to outscore the Billies.
Henley Hornets (0-1) at 5A Eagle Point Eagles (1-0). Henley fell to Ashland 28-21. The Griz tool the early lead, but the Hornets answered with 21 straight points thru the middle portion of the game. But Ashland pulled the game out with a fourth quarter comeback. It wasn’t a bad effort for the Hornets, considering their projected starting quarterback isn’t healthy, forcing Henley to a backup. But that can be too big of a problem against the better opponents they are facing in 5A competition.
Eagle Point got three touchdowns apiece from Garrett Davis and Anthony Jose on their way to a 55-0 romp over Madras. Jose had a 51 yard scoring run and a pair of one yarders on his way to a 158 yard effort on 16 carries. Quarterback Austin Marlia completed 7 of 11 passes for 117 yards.
Henley will give the Eagles much more of a battle than Madras did, but once again numbers will matter, in terms of depth, and offensive production. No upset for the Hornets this week either.
Phoenix Pirates (1-0) at 5A Ashland Grizzlies (1-0). Phoenix capitalized on a first quarter Trojan fumble on their own 28 yard line, and junior quarterback Chris Kammel found senior fullback Joe Backen for a 12 yard touchdown catch for the 7-0 lead, which the Pirate defense made stand up to the end against Douglas.
Ashland’s Talon Haggard had three short touchdown runs for the Griz, as well as throwing for over 120 yards on a 12 of 22 passing effort, against Henley. Lewis Sebrell added the go-ahead two point conversion, and the final touchdown with two and a half minutes left.
Ashland has won both games since the rivalry was revived after redistricting, last year by a 41-0 margin. The Pirates would need considerably more offense to defeat their larger neighbors in the Grizzlies’ home owner. They won’t get enough, and the Griz will go to 2-0 against the Skyline conference.
5A Madras White Buffaloes (0-1) at La Pine Hawks (1-0). Madras, as noted, got mauled 55-0 in Eagle Point. The White Buffaloes had negative total yardage, and gave up 340 rushing yards, as well as over 100 in the air. La Pine pinned a 32-12 defeat on the 3A Hilanders in Burns.
Don’t look for La Pine to keep Madras in their own backfield all night, but do look for the Hawks to pack away another win in front of their home fans. Madras just doesn’t have the tools to prevent the Hawks from flying by them.
3A Burns Hilanders (0-1) at Sisters Outlaws (1-0). The Hilanders have only 28 players, and three seniors, so their lack of depth and experience could be expected to produce their loss to La Pine. Sisters pulled out a 21-18 win when Chase Klient found John Connley for a 15 yard touchdown catch with 19 seconds left.
Both teams are not as strong as they were last year. But the Outlaws have a lot more players, and a lot more experience. This one won’t be as nerve wracking for the Outlaw faithful.
Ontario Tigers (1-0) at 3A Grant Union Prospectors. The Tigers forced four turnovers, one of which Jake Turner took back 80 yards for a touchdown, on their way to a 33-6 win in The Dalles, against the Eagle-Warriors. New Ontario coach Trevor Wilson had to be pleased with the Tigers’ offensive balance, which produced 129 yards rushing, and 150 thru the air.
It’s the Prospectors’ opener, in a year many think that Grant Union will go to the playoffs, and some suspect they could even challenge for the Eastern Oregon title. But to expect a win against an apparently well reloaded O-Tiger squad is too much. Tigers roar.
Weiser, ID, Wolverines (0-1) at Baker Bulldogs (1-0). The Wolverines lost 18-14 to Emmett, despite the efforts of Gavin Eisenbarth, who rushed for a pair of touchdowns, and threw for 170 yards. Trent Winegar added 78 yards on the ground for the Wolverines.
The Purple Bulldogs used three touchdown passes to pass the Parma Panthers 20-12. Baker appears to have benefited from all the battering they absorbed last year. And in their home opener, the passionate Baker fans will emotionally lift the Bulldogs, who will match last seasons win total in the second week. Dogs woof it up.
3A Vale Vikings (1-0) at La Grande Tigers (0-1). The Vikings are looking for a second straight win against their neighbors from a class above. Pride in football runs very deep on the east side, and Vale is again making their case as the premier program on the eastern border. A 28-0 opening win over Homedale, ID, was just what the reloaded Vale squad was looking for, as four different Vikings ran for touchdowns.
Fruitland scored on their first six possessions in La Grande, as they easily defeated the Tigers 39-7. The Tigers will come closer against the Vikings, but not close enough. Vale gets a second consecutive win over the blue Tigers.
Waitsburg, WA, Cardinals at McLoughlin (Mac-Hi) Pioneers (0-1). McLoughlin stayed in the 16-7 contest in Tillamook, but came up short once again, as happens too often for the Pioneers. Tilly built a 1 point margin before Mac-Hi quarterback Alex Rodighiero hit Nick Watts for a 6 yard scoring reception. It was Rodighiero’s first action since suffering a broken collarbone in the second game last season.
The Pioneers won the turnover and penalty margin, and shut the Cheesemakers out thru the air, but couldn’t come up with any second half points.
The Cardinals have flown under the radar recently, so it is the wildest of guess to figure what the Pioneers might face in their home opener. Last year, the Cardinals did defeat MacHi 32-13, yet fell to 2A Pilot Rock 29-13, and 3A Umatilla 18-6. The Tillamook trip gives the Pioneers an advantage, but their offensive numbers against a struggling ‘Mook squad suggests it won’t be enough. Cardinals get the hunch pick.