Some top performances from last week:
Ashton Crossen – RB, Banks
158 yards and two touchdowns for the bruising Banks running back. Crossen really is a throwback player in how aggressively he runs with the football. If he wasn’t one of the classifications top running backs–probably only competing with Zach Smith for the title of best–his style of play suggests he might be one of the state’s best tight ends with the way he blocks, or one of the state’s best tackles for that matter. Crossen looks like a player you would’ve seen commonly in 2000 but don’t very often anymore, he’s a phenomenal weapon and tone setter for the Braves.
Zach Smith – Sr, RB, Dayton
324 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and an interception for one of the best players in small school football against Salem Academy. Smith has solidified himself as one of the state’s best regardless of classification in recent weeks, leading 3A in rush yards and touchdowns scored by non-qbs. Outside of Colten Stepleton of Vale, there probably is no greater all-around weapon in 3A football right now.
Ashton Moody – Sr, QB, Cascade Christian
Three touchdown passes and one rushing for Moody against Douglas. May have misjudged the over-the-top ability of the Challengers this year with Moody under center. He uncorked some long ones against the Trojans that looked textbook. Douglas is a rebuilding team, so the prism the game is looked through is different than had they played someone like Banks, but this was nonetheless a week where Cascade Christian–and Moody specifically–seemed to take a step forward.
South Umpqua Offense
62 first half points, seven shy of the state record. Jacob Logan (172 yards, four touchdowns) and Eli Earls (Three touchdown passes) are a skill group pair the state has to respect. Lakeview and North Valley successfully played keep away the last two weeks against the Lancers, but these two skill guys, if given the opportunity, showed this week they can run with the best of them. Hiccups happen, bad games happen, but the talent of these two will withstand the test of time and keep South Umpqua in the contenders column long term.
Kristopher Baldwwin – Jr, RB, Mazama
163 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Baldwin against Ashland. It’s time to start talking about where Baldwin stacks up in terms of eventual all-state selections. The kid is not afraid to lay the lumber when called upon and has no lack of speed. White and Whitlock might be the top-tier, but Baldwin is knocking on the door.
Ryder Jackson – So, RB, Seaside
Another running back making noise and knocking on the door of the top tier. Four touchdowns against Tillamook for the sophomore speedster, largely the one compensating for the lost production of Jake White who was out with an injury. He is the perfect Wing-T sweep back: Fast, hard to see through the muck of a multi-fake mesh, and slippery when he has a full head of steam. He isn’t the biggest or strongest of backs–afterall, he is just a sophomore–but that might be working out to his advantage more than it is hurting him right now.
Logan Whitlock- SR, RB, Henley
It’s getting ridiculous. Four Touchdowns for Whitlock against Hidden Valley, accounting for all but one of the Hornets’ scores. Can anyone in 4A stop this guy? Is it going to take sending all 11 defenders right at him every play to keep him under two scores in a game?
Mason King – Jr, QB, Molalla
Two touchdowns for King against Estacada, one on a 40 yard quarterback sneak. The Indians are a legit football team capable of winning multiple playoff games largely because King is such a threat under center both running and throwing. Tall, agile, difficult to tackle, can deliver a hit, can throw a great ball. There’s a lot to like here.
If the playoffs started today, the 4A bracket would be…interesting:
1 Henley v 16 Gladstone
8 La Salle v 9 Ashland
4 Marist v 13 Crook County
5 Pendleton v 12 Cascade
2 Mazama v 15 Baker
7 Seaside v 9 North Bend
3 Scappoose v 14 Molalla
6 Junction City v 11 St Helens
Notably absent: Tillamook. Widely considered a top-5 team and title contender, at the moment the Cheesemakers would be left out of the playoffs. This will change when Tillamook plays teams like Scappoose, and as teams like Seaside continue to win games in turn raising their RPI, but it is worth making note of at this moment simply incase Tillamook ends up on the road in the first round because of their starting behind the 8-ball rankings wise.