St Helens @ Seaside (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
St Helens needs a win here in order to jump Marshfield and make the playoffs. A loss, no matter how close, is going to shut the door on their playoff hopes and make sure either Ashland, North Bend, or Marshfield claims the at-large bid. A Seaside loss likely means a road trip for them in the first round of the playoffs, albeit likely a short one to La Salle. Seaside has the athletes to hold with St Helens on the edge, so the Lions will have to go blow for blow with Seaside’s run game.
Players to watch: St Helens: Austin Stockwell (Sr, RB/LB), Colby Shafer (Sr, WR/DB), Mason Stroud (Sr, WR/DB); Seaside: Jake White (IF HEALTHY) (Jr, RB/LB), Gavin Pugh (Sr, TE/DL), Ryder Jackson (So, RB/DB)
The Dalles @ Estacada (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
The team not involved in this game, but heavily invested in the outcome, is Gladstone. The Gladiators have an avenue to the playoffs if Estacada wins this matchup because of their tie break with The Dalles (Gladstone won the matchup 21-8) and Molalla (14-12). Week nine in SD2 is going to be absolutely wild, with four out of the five teams below league champion La Salle with realistic shots at automatic playoff berths.
Players to watch: Estacada: Andrew Riedel (Sr, QB/DB), Elliot Coyle (Jr, RB/DB); The Dalles: Emerson Traub (Jr, QB), Nolan Cates (Jr, WR)
Marist @ Junction city (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
League title game few would have predicted in the pre season. Winner hosts in the first round and has a decent shot of making the state semifinals, loser likely goes on the road in the first round–possibly to La Salle–and will travel to Henley in the second round if they get past the Falcons. HUGE stakes for this game which will happen on the JC grass rather than the Marist turf–do not underestimate the role the playing surface could play in this one.
Players to watch: Junction City: Cooper Rothenberger (Sr, QB/LB); Marist: Nick Hudson (Jr, QB), Aiden Hazen (Sr, RB/LB)
Stayton @ Cascade (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
Cascade and Stayton, as unlikely as it seemed a few weeks ago, meet each other in a “win or go home” situation. Either with a win would clinch an automatic berth into the playoffs as the SD3 #3, the loser will have to hope to get the at-large bid currently being contested by teams like Marshfield and St Helens. Both teams can potentially knock their rival out of the playoffs with a win on Friday.
Players to watch: Cascade: Bryce Kuenzi (So, RB/LB), Karsten Sande (Sr, WR/DB), Teagan Allen (Sr, OL/DL); Stayton: Hudson Hughes (Jr, QB/DB), Tanner Starbuck (Jr, RB/LB)
Mazama @ Marshfield (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
If everything else goes the way it is supposed to, Marshfield can win this game and make the playoffs, whether as the at-large or as an automatic qualifier. A loss for the Pirates and things can get hairy with teams like St Helens coming up from behind and potentially Cascade being knocked free from up top. Mazama needs a win after getting blown out by Henley in order to ensure they don’t travel in the first round, which a loss to Marshfield might cause them to have to do.
Players to watch: Mazama: Tyson Van Gastel (Sr, QB/DB), Armondo Galindo (Sr, OL/DL), Kristopher Baldwin (Jr, RB/LB); Marshfield: Lucas Folau (Jr, OL/DL)
Baker @ Pendleton (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
League title game over east, another situation where the winner hosts and loser has to travel next week. Baker has rapidly improved since their 0-4 start, winning four in a row and looking like a legitimate top-10 team in the state, possibly even a fringe contender. Pendleton has not lost a game to an Oregon opponent so far, but has had their fair share of bumps in the road. The door is open for Baker to pull the upset and put everyone on notice going into November, otherwise they might be traveling to Scappoose or Marist in the first round.
Players to watch: Baker: Rasean Jones (So, WR/LB), Paul Hobson (Sr, QB/DB), Hudson Spike (Sr, WR/DB): Pendleton: Benito Jennings (Sr, WR/DB), Thaiden Cannin (Sr, WR/DB)
Banks @ Warrenton (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
Warrenton is on the brink in terms of making the playoffs. A loss at home against Banks could knock them out, while a win + YC loss to North Mation would clinch them an automatic spot. Banks is in the number one spot currently but is in a tightly contested race with Dayton and Kennedy, a loss to Warrenton would undoubtedly knock them to at least #3 in the rankings if not lower.
Players to watch: Warrenton: Kaleb Earl (Sr, TE/DE), Talon McGorty (Jr, QB/LB); Banks: Max Walker (Jr, TE/DE), Ashton Crossen (Sr, RB/LB), Luke McAuley Bigsby (Jr, OL/DL)
Cascade Christian @ South Umpqua (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
The Challengers are too far out to grab the #1 seed for themselves, but they could climb up to #3 or with a win + teams ahead of them falling unexpectedly. South Umpqua has already clinched a playoff spot, but with a win against thee #4 ranked Challengers could end up in position to host in the first round rather than traveling.
Players to watch: Cascade Christian: Caleb Scaglione (So, RB/LB), Ashton Moody (SR, QB/LB), Peyton Maurer (Sr, WR/DB); South Umpqua: Elijah Earls (Sr, QB/LB), Jacob Logan (Sr, RB/LB)
Taft @ Santiam Christian (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
Taft is too far out of things to make the playoffs, but this game might be highly entertaining regardless. Taft can throw the ball around with the best of them, putting up points in bunches off the back of athletic underclassmen receivers. Santiam Christian should be thankful this game won’t be on the coast given the weather, but still have to bow up and stop the Taft air attack or they might end up at Cascade Christian in the first round.
Players to watch: Santiam Christian: Daniel Fosdick (Jr, QB), Tyler Ragan (Sr, OL/DL); Taft: Armando Fajardo (Sr, QB/DL), Zack Hankins (So, WR/DB)
Coquille @ St Mary’s (Friday 10/27 @ 7pm)
Straight up: Winner gets an automatic bid to the playoffs, loser goes home and is done. If this were in Coquille one could be forgiven for writing this off as a Red Devil win before the ball is kicked off when considering Coquille’s home record over the last decade plus, but the game is in Medford. This one could be tight and highly entertaining into the final stages.
Players to watch: Coquille: Riley Jones (Sr, OL/DL), Bo Messerle (Sr, RB/LB); St Mary’s: TJ Flowers (Sr, WR/DB), Rex Smith (Sr, OL/DL)
Others to watch: Gold Beach @ Oakland