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Senior Tony Garcia.

They say if at first you don’t succeed, try again. And after I went 5-for-9 in my high school football picks last week, I decided I’m not quite ready to take my talents to the casino.

Last week I went against the golden rule, don’t pick against the home team.

When Taft’s defense was playing lights out a week ago against Harrisburg, I began to feel myself eating my words. Nonetheless, I was happy to see the Tigers pull off the big win because it’s always more fun writing about a big victory than a crushing defeat, right?

This week it’s a limited schedule for Lincoln County schools, with 1A teams like Waldport, Siletz Valley and Eddyville Charter taking the week off. And after three home games for Taft, Toledo and Newport last week, all teams are on the road this week, giving me a little more to ponder when picking these games. Let’s hope I find a little more luck than I did in week one.

Here’s who I’m picking this week:

Taft at Sutherlin

Last year the Tigers won just one game all season… against Sutherlin. The Bulldogs shook off the defeat last season and charged their way into the 2018 state playoffs before getting trounced by Vale in the first round. This year they have a lot of those players back, especially on the offensive and defensive line and they hung in there against 4A Hidden Valley in week one. But the Tigers are much improved this year, as we all saw last week. Their defense looked stout and their offense explosive at times.

The 2018 game between the two teams was decided by just one point, I expect a similar dogfight this week. But I’ve learned my lesson about picking against the Tigers.

Winner: Taft

Newport at Phoenix

The Cubs were blown out at home last week against Tillamook, and Phoenix suffered the same fate against Cascade Christian. Like many people, when I think Phoenix, I think of the desert in Arizona. But in Southern Oregon, you’ll find the town of Phoenix and apparently they play football there. As you can tell I don’t know much about the Pirates, but I do know they didn’t win a game in 2018. For that reason, I see Newport getting back on track this week.

Winner: Newport

Toledo at Knappa

The Boomers beat my poor Bobcats to a pulp last week, winning 31-6, and now head up the coast to Knappa to play the Loggers. Since I frequently made trips up to Knappa to play them in high school, I’m pretty familiar with the Loggers and to this day I can say there's a certain satisfaction i get seeing them lose. But aside from my Logger loathing, I think this is going to be a fun matchup. Two teams with high-powered offenses and All-State caliber players will make for quite the show. I’m sure Taft will be anxiously waiting for the game film as they host the Loggers next week.

Winner: Knappa

Other Notable Games

Rainier at Scio

The Columbians proved that they deserved that No. 1 ranking last week, shutting out the defending 2A champs, Kennedy. This week they face Scio, a traditionally strong football program that handily beat 4A Molalla last week. I see this game as a bruising, ground and pound contest that’ll be decided by just a few points.

Winner: Rainier

Siuslaw at Philomath

Newport’s opponent next week is the coastal Siuslaw Vikings, who will play the Cubs’ league foe Philomath this week. I think it’ll be a tough week for the 0-1 Vikings on the road against the 1-0 Warriors.

Winner: Philomath

Willamina at Sheridan

It’s an age-old rivalry. Just five miles separate the two schools who have been duking it out for years now. Both teams lost in blowout fashion last week. I think the winner is going to use this game as a turning point in their young season.

Winner: Sheridan

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