“I ain’t got nothing to say, I just wanna play football.” – Marshawn Lynch
For a lot of people, there are two time periods during the year: football season and the time waiting for football season.
I was no different growing up.
There’s just something about the game that drew me in from a very young age. Whether I was pretending to catch touchdown passes in the living room while watching my favorite team (the Oakland Raiders), or out in the backyard working on my three-step drop.
I’ve always had a passion for football.
But now my playing days are behind me, so I’ve shifted into a fanatic observer and somewhat of a statistical devotee.
If you happened to pick up The News Guard’s sister newspaper last football season, The Headlight Herald, you may have seen my weekly column where I picked the winner of the local games on Friday nights.
This year, I’m bringing it back, but I have a whole new crew of teams to study here in Lincoln County, with the focus on the hometown Taft Tigers of course. As a former Nestucca Bobcat up the road in Cloverdale, I’ve grown pretty familiar with the Tigers over the years. However, I admittedly have never been to a Taft football game (until Friday).
That being said, my week one picks may be based more on eeny, meeny, miny, moe as opposed to statistical analysis. I'm going with my gut this week.
But when picking football games, sometimes all you need is a little luck. And you never know, if all goes well, I might have to test out that new Sports Wagering Lounge here in town by the end of the season.
Here’s who I’m picking for week one:
Taft vs. Harrisburg
It’s a rematch of last year’s season opener, which went in favor of the Eagles in a high scoring 60-29 game. Each team lost a handful of strong seniors from a year ago, but each team brought back a whole bunch of guys with varsity experience. Because of that, I’m expecting another high scoring game. Although I do believe Taft head coach Jake Tolan when he says the Tigers are in much better shape this time this year than last year, I’m still thinking it’ll take a little configuring to get all the pieces in motion. I expect a close one nonetheless.
Newport vs. Tillamook
I was at this game last year, when the Cubs stunned the Tillamook crowd by pitching a 36-0 shut out. A rough way to start the season for the Cheesemakers. This year Tillamook has 13 seniors on the roster and will be a very tough team in 4A, possibly vying for the playoffs. Newport won their first six games in 2018 before losing three straight to end their season, so they are no stranger to starting out strong. For that reason, I’ll take the Cubs at home.
Toledo vs. Nestucca
Ahh yes, my beloved Bobcats are facing the Boomers this week. Last year Nestucca had a very young group of players and a team that finished 4-4 overall. I expect them to be better this year. However, this week they start against Toledo, a team they lost to 29-18 last season and a team with junior quarterback Jaxson Rozewski, who’s one of the top QB’s in the state. It’s tough to pick against the Bobcats, but Toledo’s high-powered offense is going to be the difference maker.
Waldport at Myrtle Point
There are a lot of variables in 1A football. How many kids are on the team? Is it 11-man, 8-man, 6-man football? Who are all of these schools? Well it just so happens that there are three 1A schools in Lincoln County, including Waldport. The Irish struggled last year, but so did the Myrtle Point Bobcats. It’s a toss up for me, but maybe I’m feeling lucky.
Siletz Valley at Lowell
I don’t know much about 8-man football, but I know Lowell is pretty good at it. Siletz Valley is not too bad either, so this could be a close one. I have to go with the home team in this one.
Eddyville Charter at Alsea
6-man football. How does that even work? I’m not sure, but I’m definitely intrigued. 6-man football was introduced to Oregon last year and featured 15 teams, including Eddyville, who managed to win a handful of games. This year the division adds an extra team, Alsea, and that’s why I won’t be picking against the Eddyville Eagles in week one.
Winner: Eddyville Charter
Other Notable Games
Rainier at Kennedy
The OSAA seemingly pitted many of the powerhouse 3A teams against the top 2A teams to open up the season in week one... Highlighted by Rainier and Kennedy. This game features the 2018 3A champs Rainier and the 2A champs Kennedy. Both teams were ranked first in the pre-season poll. Rainer was a machine last year and they'll be the favorite again this year.
Clatskanie at Heppner
This is a long drive for the Clatskanie Tigers to start the season. I anticipate a close one but in the end, the bigger school will win.
Santiam at Willamina
I’m typically in favor of the bigger schools in these pre season games (see above). But Santiam is a team that has been consistently vying for the state champ spot the last several years. This year should be no different.