The Taft 7-12 football team is playing an identical schedule to last season, when they finished the season with just one win.
Which gives me the impression that every win they get gives the Tigers a sense of redemption. It started week one against Harrisburg and continued last week with a win over Knappa. But this week’s game could hold even more weight for Taft (explanation below).
But the Tigers aren’t the only team looking to make amends for their heartbreak from a year ago or even a week ago. This week’s schedule statewide is filled with games that are more meaningful, being the first week of league play for most teams, and also tone setters for teams looking to play deep into November.
Let’s get right into this week’s picks:
Taft at Yamhill-Carlton
The Taft Tigers made a statement last week by beating the offensive-minded Knappa Loggers and holding them to just six points. But this week they’re faced with a whole new challenge in figuring out how to stop a proven high powered YC offense that is averaging 45 points per game. You can point to the defense as being key to a Taft win on the road this week, but really I think it’ll be the offense that will need to have a good game Friday night. Last year’s contest between the two Tiger teams ended in a 28-25 victory for YC. It was Taft’s closest game of the year. I anticipate a similar score this year, and because it was so close a year ago, I think that’s going to give Taft some added motivation this week.
Newport vs. Philomath
It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for the Newport Cubs, and earlier this week, their longtime coach announced his resignation amid questions about concussion protocol. To top it all off, Newport sits 0-3 on the season, and has their first league game this week. The good news however, is that they are facing a Warriors team that has had many struggles of their own. Maybe the Cubs will use all the drama as fuel for the fire and pull out a win this week, but it seems unlikely.
Toledo at Central Linn
Speaking of coaching changes, the Toledo Boomers appear to be benefiting mightily from their change at the start of the season and are off to an impressive 3-0 start, a No. 1 state ranking and a win last week against a team many people feel is a state title favorite. If you like offense, the Boomers are the team to watch, an example is last week’s 52-49 victory over Monroe. This week Toledo plays a struggling Central Linn team. It should be another big win.
Siletz Valley at Perrydale
Siletz Valley has had a tough start to the season, and it isn’t getting any easier this week against Perrydale on the road. The Pirates sit at a perfect 3-0 this season and the Warriors 0-2. Those aren’t good numbers if you’re Siletz.
Waldport at Falls City
The Irish have been a pleasant surprise this season, going 2-0 and now playing a winless Falls City team. I think Waldport gets the job done this week and wins their first league game.
Eddyville Charter at Jewell
The Eagles have a great chance to get their first win this week at Jewell. However, I don’t see it happening as Jewell just beat an Alsea team that dismantled Eddyville in week one.
Other Notable Games
Banks vs. Tillamook
Both teams are unbeaten, which should mean this will be a good one. But Tillamook has faced three weak teams to open the season, while the reigning state champs have been playing some of 4A’s best. For that reason, I’m taking Banks at home.
Amity vs. Coquille
A top ranked 3A team against a top 2A team. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? This one should be a good game. I expect a six point difference or less, but I’m going to pick the home team this week. Hopefully Coquille can wear down the Warriors for Taft next week.
Rainier at Corbett
Corbett has been a big surprise to everyone this year, as they sit 3-0 early on in the season. There’s no doubt they're better than they have been in years, but this week is going to be a rude awakening against the former 3A state champions.