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North Marion 2019 4A Special District 2 League Champs!

| October 26,2019

North Marion 2019 4A Special District 2  League Champs!

How big was Friday night for The North Marion Huskies? Well let’s start with the first outright league Football title, in at least 60 years. 

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2018 Premature Playoff Predictions, Week 4

Jeff Drumm | September 28,2018

2018 Premature Playoff Predictions, Week 4

It's time for another season of Premature Playoff Predictions. Much has changed about Oregon high school football in the past year, but I got my spreadsheets adjusted, and (assuming I didn't make any typos) I'm ready to start guessing at what will happen.   Game predictions are based on the Freeman rankings...

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NM/Woodburn- It's Back!

| September 13,2018

NM/Woodburn- It's Back!

What is Football without a great rival? One of the best ever is back in Northern Marion County! Photo Brent DeLaPaz Woodburn Independent Fall 1986- Pictured Woodburns Kit Cummings, and North Marions Kevin Pearson. Two good friends, who simply wore different uniforms.    The Woodburn/ North Marion rivalry, is one that stretches...

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You are here: Home More Blogs MWL/SWC Blog MWL Color-By-Numbers Edition

MWL/SWC Blog

MWL Color-By-Numbers Edition

 

Some random thoughts today, focusing on hoops but spreading the wealth to the local football and baseball scenes as well.

 

 

1. The Undisputed… Churchill (22-2, 14-0) ran roughshod over the MWL this year, their first league title since 2009. They’re riding high – they’ve won 18 straight since they dropped consecutive games to Whitney Young (Illinois) and Jefferson up at the LSI in December. The Lancers were given the #2 overall seed in the 5A bracket. #1? Jefferson (22-1).

 

 

 

2. Rack ‘Em… This is the first time a MWL school has gone undefeated in league play since 2008, when North Eugene went 15-0. It’s the first time a MWL school has gone undefeated in league play with the 6A schools in the fold since 2006, when South Eugene (16-0) did it.

 

 

 

3. Next Up… Churchill plays host to Cleveland (10-13) out of the PIL in the 1st Round of the 5A playoffs. Cleveland outlasted Sandy in the play-in round to advance. The Lancers will be gunning for their third consecutive trip to the state tournament. They lost 59-53 to Jefferson in the championship game last year, and they lost 48-40 to Wilsonville in the quarterfinals in 2012. C-Hill will be looking to hang their third state title banner in the Lancer Dome, joining their 1995 and 2001 counterparts.

 

 

 

4. Mo Money, Mo Problems… It has been four years since the MWL brought back the 6A schools in 2011, after four years of Sheldon and South Eugene playing in the Southwest Conference. Since then, of the 16 possible top four finishes, 13 have come from those three 6A schools + Churchill. Sheldon and Thurston have finished in the top four each season, Churchill three times, and South twice. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, I just thought it was noteworthy that the larger schools seem to be doing well. Then again, Churchill and Sheldon have always been the local basketball powerhouses, and South isn’t far off in that regard. Thurston doesn’t have an outstanding hoops tradition, but it’s really hard to argue with the consistency Coach Doug Piquette has instilled in the program since he came aboard in 1999.

 

 

 

5. And a Fine Job Yourself There, Laddies… Sheldon (19-6, 11-3), MWL champions in 2012 and 2013, didn’t bring home the MWL hardware but they did win the 6A-only Special District 1 title, which theoretically comes with a trophy of its own and an automatic bid to the state playoffs. So they had that going for them. The OSAA gave the Irish the #7 overall seed, which they used to beat #26 Canby 68-57 in the 1st Round.

 

 

 

6. Across Town… South Eugene (14-11, 9-5) finished third in the MWL, and claimed the SD-1’s #2 seed. That got them the #23 overall seed in the 6A playoffs, and a road game at #10 North Medford. Tricky business, but that’s why they play the games, eh? EH? Proving that Axemen do indeed hate anything with the direction “North”, SE beat the Black Tornado 47-42 to advance to the 2nd Round, which has been officially dubbed…

 

 

 

7. The Battle for Eugene, Part Thrice… Yep, that’s right, folks. Sheldon and South meet on Saturday for the right to go to the state tournament up in P-D-X. The two split during the regular season, each winning on their home floor. This game will be played at Sheldon, so the Irish do have that going for them, but not 24 hours have passed since South showed how much they care about road games at top ten venues.

 

 

 

8. Put a Historical Spin on That, Will Ya? South will be looking to get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2010, when they advanced all the way to the semifinals before losing a 56-53 heartbreaker to Westview. The Axe did bounce back the following day to beat Lincoln 56-48 in the 3rd/5th place game, for what that’s worth. For Sheldon, they’ll be looking for their first return date to the tourney since 2007, when they also advanced to the semifinals before falling 28-25 to a Kevin Love-led Lake Oswego team. And you read that score correctly – that was one of those “Oregon really needs a shot clock” games. And just to keep to form, Sheldon also won the following day’s 3rd/5th place game that year, 59-39 over Jesuit.

 

 

 

9. Hey, What About That Other 6A School? Thurston (15-10, 7-7) finished 4th in the MWL, and 3rd in the SD-1, which parlayed into the #19 overall at state. The Colts took to the road and beat #14 McKay 57-45, giving the three local 6A schools a clean sweep in the 1st Round of the tournament.

 

 

 

10. What’s Next for those Colts? Ah, great question. Thurston will attempt to win a second consecutive road game in the playoffs, trying their luck at #3 South Salem (22-3).

 

 

 

11. Book That Hotel Room… Obviously, the MWL is going to push at least one 6A school into the state tournament up in Portland. The question will be whether or not Thurston will be joining the winner of Sheldon/South Eugene. The Colts have not been to the state tourney since 2008, when they blasted through to the 5A semifinals before dropping a painful one to Corvallis (and, because you were about to ask, yes, Thurston did bounce back and thrash Sherwood the next day in the 3rd/5th place game). Thurston has not reached the state tournament at the highest level since 2002, when the Colts were the #2 overall seed but lost to Westview in the quarterfinals. The Colts last won a state playoff game – pre-tournament – in 2011, when they beat – yep – South Salem for the right to get their teeth kicked in by – yep – Westview in the 2nd Round. Will the Colts make a dash for Portland this year…? South Salem beat Thurston 73-51 in Salem in late December, so obviously many things that went horribly wrong that evening will have to go in the Colt’s favor this time around. The Saxons had a pair of forfeits at the beginning of the season and lost 73-71 to Clackamas in mid-December, but are on a 22-game win streak.

 

 

 

12. So Just the Four, Huh? Not quite! Springfield (13-11) survived Benson 69-65 in overtime last night, giving the Millers their first playoff win since… 1991 (if you were at that game, you’d know that Springfield downed Ashland 73-70). That is, unless you don’t count play-in games as playoff wins (which I don’t), in which case the Miller Mob will be trying for their first playoff win since the George H.W. Bush administration on Saturday, against #1 overall Jefferson.

 

 

 

13. So Long, You Princes of Maine… it is of a sad note that I must inform the readers (several months after the Register-Guard did) that North Eugene will be withdrawing from the MWL in football for the foreseeable future. It’s sad because North has so much history in the MWL, but it’s probably the best move the school could have made for its athletes. NE hasn’t made the playoffs since Kailee Wong was running amok across MWL defenses, and if you kids don’t know who Kailee Wong is, that’s kind of the point. They’ve had exactly one season where they didn’t finish under .500 in league play this millennium (they went 4-4 in 2005), and have finished with two or fewer league wins in every other season since 2000 (and well beyond that, but 2000 is such a nice, round number). They’ve finished winless in league 7 times in that timespan, including 5 of the last 7 years. North won’t be able to qualify for the postseason playing their new independent schedule, but they will be able to schedule more competitive games with lower-division schools, which will hopefully parlay into greater enthusiasm for the program in the local community.

 

 

 

14. I Don’t Recognize Anybody Here. For the 2014 football season, the MWL will be comprised of Springfield, Churchill, Marist, Ashland, Eagle Point, and Crater. Eh… what? When I was at a MWL school in the 1990s, the roster was Sheldon, South Eugene, Churchill, North Eugene, Willamette, Thurston, Springfield, Marshfield, and North Bend. North Bend gave way to 3A not long thereafter (and Lebanon joined for a few years, which was awkward). Sheldon and South were jettisoned to 6A in 2006, and Thurston joined them in 2010. Willamette will be making the ascension in 2014. Marshfield left for 4A prior to last season, and North Eugene will be independent. That leaves just Springfield and Churchill from the MWL I remember. I know some of you out there can recall Cottage Grove and Roseburg (if not others), but hey. This is my soapbox, and I’m going to go on my own nostalgia trip.

 

 

 

15. Hey Look, It’s Baseball…! It’s spring, which means it’s baseball season, which means it’s my favorite time of year.

 

 

 

16. Should Be Another Great Year… Thurston has won 5 of the last 6 MWL titles, winning a state championship (2009) and playing in two others (2008, 2012) in that timespan. Sheldon actually forced a co-title in the MWL last season, and stomped their way to a state championship. Both teams lost a lot of great seniors, but both schools have developed into such consistent baseball factories I think they’re both going to be forces to be reckoned with again this spring. Thurston lost their manager, Phil Dube, but bring in former Sheldon skipper Kenny Niles, who won a lot of ballgames for the Irish a few years back. Marist looks like they’re going to be a powerhouse bases on what they have returning in addition to picking up a few key transfers. Springfield finished strong last year and returns a bunch of talent. North Eugene is always a player. Can’t wait. 

 

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