Oregon's High School Sports Source
- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Published on October 15, 2006
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Only 3 weeks to go, so the GOL race (finally) gets going. The battles for some of the League championships and playoff berths are starting to clear up, while others are starting to heat up.
I was 17-4 last week, 121-39 so far. The tough Skyline was too tough to figure, though, with 2 big upsets.
What isn’t tough to figure lately are Sisters and Siuslaw. The Outlaws and Vikings turned in convincing wins against their principal challengers, moving clearly to the top of the polls. These 2 do it differently; the Outlaws are the #1 offense in 4A by a large margin, while the Vikings are the #1 defense in 4A, also by a large margin. It now looks like Marist & Siuslaw will both be on the opposite bracket from Sisters.
Big stats are often questioned, sometimes rightly, as they are sometimes built at the expense of questionable opposition. But sometimes they are not. The oft-repeated statement is the real measure of possible “stars” is how they do in big games. How many times have better numbers in big games appeared than the 421 yd., 3 TD performance of Sisters’ RB Cory McCaffrey, against the (then) #1 team in the state? ESPN’s Chris Berman has a term for performances like that; “Wow!”
Here’s another number from the “big” game: Sisters’ coach Bob Macauley is now 4-0 all time against the Spartans, whom he says is “The standard by which you are judged.”
Fortunately for the fans, after only 3 games with a differential of 10 or less last week, this week brings another slate of games, several of which could be quite tight.
(New and improved name for the Cowapa Column)
Cowapa and 4A Game of the Week, as well as the “Sporty” game of the week, is a Columbia River Fishing Expedition. Astoria Fishermen (7-0, 2-0) @ Scappoose Indians (6-1, 2-0). The Fish swim upstream, conveniently, into the Indians’ Homecoming celebration. That will only enlarge and excite the ‘Poose crowd further.
The Fish have been solid all year, but have had to pull out narrow wins several times against the good teams they have faced. The good news is they have proven they can win the close ones with consistency. ‘Poose’s ability in a close game is an unknown, because they haven’t played in any.
The Fish made short work of the Braves, but this is a whole different tribe they are dealing with this week. The Indians had an enjoyable trip to the beach on their long weekend, solidly defeating the Gulls, questionable circumstances or not.
The triplet effect ‘Poose has with QB Justin Engstrom, RB T.J. Crane, and WR Weston Powers (who should/needs to be available all game this week), coupled with the distinct home field advantage the Indians have, means the Indians spear some Fish for the smokehouse. But they land the fish only after a stiff fight.
Seaside Seagulls (4-3, 0-2) @ Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (6-1, 2-0). The Gulls’ chances for a return to the playoffs have just about washed away the last 2 weeks. Going into YC will be a tough challenge, mentally as well as physically. The Tigers got back on track with a run through the Cheese factory. (Cheese is a healthy, highly nutritious snack.) Zach Anderson went wild again, and the Tiger home crowd will be looking for another such performance as the Tigers start the stretch drive. And they will get it.
Tillamook Cheesemakers (1-6, 0-2) @ Banks Braves (0-7, 0-2). The “we didn’t finish last” bowl won’t get a lot of attention. However, these games happen every year, and they CAN be as important a game as any played next year or the year after. If you are in these games, especially if you are a young team, you are trying to get something established to build from.
Neither team has done anything defensively, and that’s how they got here. The Cheesemakers’ offense has been a little better, and that’s the only thing to use to pick a winner. ‘Mooks stay out of the cellar; Braves bite the dust again.
Central Panthers (2-4, 0-1) @ Sweet Home Huskies (3-4, 1-1). These teams have crossed paths before, in their Capital Conference days, and in the playoffs. In the Valco, despite their struggling seasons so far, this is essentially a playoff positioning game. Which illustrates the sad state ofValco affairs. The Panthers stumble into Sweet Home on a 4 game losing streak, having been pounded by the Cubs. The Huskies got well at the expense of the Taft Tigers. Husky stadium home advantage carries the day for the Huskies, and positions them to get second place with a win the final night in Philomath. The Panthers will need to sweep Philomath and Taft to get into the playoffs.
Newport Cubs (4-2, 2-0) @ Philomath Warriors (2-5, 1-0). After a couple weeks to figure things out, the Cubs have gotten real physical, using running and defense to take the lead in the league race, and have already clinched a playoff berth. The struggling 3A Toledo Boomers were too much for the Warriors; the Cubs hunting their first championship in a while will be way too much. This win clinches the #1 berth for the Cubs, and a home game after Veterans’ day.
Taft Tigers (1-5, 0-2) @ 3A Creswell Bulldogs (3-4, 1-3). Homecoming for the Bulldogs after a rough 3 weeks on the road, all losses. The Tigers fit the mold of Homecoming guest nicely. Bulldogs over Tigerkitties.
FarWest Game of the Week is the Coastal Collision of the week. Notably, all the 4A collisions on the coast are in the Far West this week, and all the Far West games are far to the west, on the coast. There must be a theme there. Sutherlin Blue Bulldogs (4-2, 1-1) @ Brookings-Harbor Bruins (3-3, 0-2). It’s the only real trip in the regular season for the Bluedogs, and one of only 2 times they even get on a bus.
After getting thumped by the Brown Bulldogs from NB, this is an elimination game for the Bruins. For the Blue Bulldogs, the loss to Siuslaw eliminated the championship, but a win here keeps them in the hunt for a home playoff game. It’s also the Bluedogs’ chance to prove they can play a big game on the road, and make next week’s dogfight with those Brown Bulldogs meaningful. The comparative results against the Vikings suggests the combination of a healthy again RB Lee Becker and QB Dane Gilman make the Bluedogs the winners.
Douglas Trojans (2-4, 0-2) @ North Bend Bulldogs (4-3, 2-0). Homecoming and Bulldog Hall of Fame induction night in North Bend. The Brown Bulldogs have had an up and down season, and have been out on the road for 3 weeks. The shutout in Brookings puts NB in the middle of the race, familiar territory for them. The lopsided loss to the Lancers put the Trojans in familiar territory also, the downside of the race, and looking out, not up. Brown Bullodgs tune up for the dogfight for the playoffs in the last 2 weeks.
South Umpqua Lancers (2-5, 1-1) @ Siuslaw Vikings (6-0, 2-0). Last regular season home game for the Vikings. But not the last home game; that will be in the playoffs. The Lancers didn’t just win in Winston, they won big. This week’s trip will be much longer, and much, much tougher. The Vikings had their poorest defensive outing of the year in Sutherlin; the Bluedogs scored twice! But 5 Viking TDs were still quite adequate.
With the Vikings making their only home appearance in about a month and a half (past and future), everyone on the Siuslaw will be looking for a good show. This is only going to make a long night longer for the Lancers. Vikings have a party.
Phoenix Pirates (3-3, 2-0) @ North Valley Knights (4-2, 1-1). 3 weeks ago the Pirates, who reached the state semifinals last year, were 0-3, and some thought they were headed for a down year. Now, they are in first place in the Skyline, after taking their turn destroying Rogue River. North Valley has handled the I5 corridor so far, but the teams from the Klamath Basin have manhandled the Knights on both sides of the ball. The margin of the Hornet win IN MERLIN was even bigger than the surprise that they won there.
The Skyline is now a 5 way race for 3 playoff spots, and this one is now vital for the Knights. The Pirates have been improving weekly, and this would nearly lock them in. And their stronger schedule (remember they beat Klamath, while NV didn’t come close) has better prepared them. Pirates steal another.
Illinois Valley Cougars (4-2, 1-1) @ Henley Hornets (4-3, 1-1). Both bounced back from losses, and got landmark upset wins. The Cougars in a win more dominating than the score over the Mustangs suggested (check the yardage!). The Hornets in one of the toughest places to get a 24 point win (given NV’s usual defensive prowess) in the state. With RR still ahead for both, that makes this a playoff qualifier game. The Klamath basin has traditionally been a tough place to visit, and the Cougars’ lack of a passing attack, and injuries (on a small-school team), have got to catch up with them. This week could be the time. Hornets sting the Cougars.
Hidden Valley Mustangs (5-2, 1-1) @ Rogue River Chieftans (0-6, 0-2). Last of only 2 home games for the Chieftans. The Mustangs are still one of the better teams in 4A AND are NOT happy after their performance in Cave Junction. The award for blowout victim of the week is collecting dust on the Chieftans’ bus, home (away from home) to by far the least productive offense in 4A. Mad Mustangs make this game a candidate to get real ugly. Mustangs stampede thru the Chieftans’ camp.
The 3 week round-robin tournament begins with a pair of Homecoming contests.
Baker Bulldogs (4-2) @ LaGrande Tigers (5-1). The Bulldogs beat up on Payette, ID, while the Tigers went down to a very solid (and undefeated) Connell, WA, team. Tiger doubters, east and west, may seize the opportunity to question how good the Tigers are. The Bulldogs could nearly assure themselves a playoff berth with this win. But the Tigers know that with their last 2 on the road, they have to have this one. Tiger strength of schedule and experience will prevail.
McLoughlin Pioneers (2-4) @ Ontario Tigers (4-2). Both teams took In-service week off to prepare for this one. Homecoming must really be a big game in O-town. Pioneers aren’t on the same level with the I-84 members of the GOL. Tigers tune up for next week’s battle with the other Tigers.
Sisters Outlaws (7-0, 3-0) @ Elmira Falcons (1-6, 0-3). Elmira starts the Outlaw-Spartan gauntlet that worked oh so well for LaPine. The Outlaws won the big showdown with the Spartans handily, yet still identified several things to work on. Could a coach ask for more? The Falcons were mauled by the CG Lions. Outlaws continue to work on rewriting their record books in the mismatch of the week. With the Lions having to come to Sisters too, the Outlaws have the inside track to the Sky-Em championship.
Marist Spartans (5-2, 3-1) @ Pleasant Hill Billies (2-4, 1-2). The Spartans have had some issues exposed, but the Billies were buried by the previously 0-for JC Tigers. The Spartans take out their frustrations on PHill. However, with wins over CG & JC already, the Spartans seem to have the #2 spot in the bag.
LaPine Hawks (1-6, 1-2) @ Junction City Tigers (1-5, 1-3). After a long ride home from North Marion after the loss there, its another long trip for the Hawks. The Tigers are finally facing a couple opponents not hunting playoff spots. JC’s problem has been a lack of offense. LP has by far the most scored upon defense in 4A. This means the Hawks make another looong trip home after the Tigers pluck some more of the few remaining Hawk feathers.
Cottage Grove hosts Gladstone from the Capital conference in the non-league game for both conferences. See the Capital Conference Weekly Review for more information on this game, and all the Capital Conference matchups.