There is a clear and defined four-tier set up in 4A football right now. There are 6 clear and definite championship contenders, 10-12 playoff contending teams, and then everyone else. The lines drawn between these are for the most part very clear, very distinct, and looking back were fairly predictable.
The Championship Contenders: Banks, Marist, Gladstone, La Grande, Mazama, Cascade
The only one that should surprise people here is Cascade. The reason they’re on this list? Sweet Jesus do they look quick. The Wing T, whether in pistol or under center, is at its deadliest when the fullback crosses the line of scrimmage quickly and with a full head of steam in as little amount of time as possible after the snap. Cascade, on film, looks like a team that could give any defense fits. That’s why they’re here.
Virtual Playoff locks: Marshfield, Baker, Estacada, Sweet Home, Henley, Tillamook
Whether by weak leagues or pure talent, all six of these teams should be playoff locks by this point. Though Sweet Home and Marshfield are 0-2, both have lost to a set of formidable opponents, and the complete panic/meltdown button shouldn’t be hit yet. Henley and Tillamook are the surprises so far of 2019. We didn’t have high expectations for either, and though neither have beat a team that’s in the playoff lock column, they look good enough to be themselves in the lock column. Baker is Baker. They’ll be there.
Will Probably end up in a play-in game: Seaside, Crook County, North Marion, North Valley
Seaside has fallen off, but has enough in the tank and going their way to make the playoffs, even if it’s through a play-in game. Crook County and North Valley have been surprises this year so far, but we aren’t as confident in their potential playoff promise as their counterparts in Henley and Tillamook. We aren’t sure what to make of North Marion. Frankly, the 2018 Huskies would be a playoff lock, but with a coaching change comes a feeling out period for outsiders that is different than for a player. The Husky players had their feeling out period in August, we are having ours now.
Then, there’s the rest. Four of ‘the rest’ will get a chance to be in a play-in game, or shock us all and make it into the playoffs outright.
The next 2 months are going to be turbulent and action packed. We’ll be there every step of the way.