Sports Zone

The week ahead: Football

‘The main event’

Springfield Millers (3-1) at Thurston Colts (2-2)

Game facts: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 

SPRINGFIELD – Cross-town rivals Springfield and Thurston face off Friday night in what is expected to be the series’ most competitive matchup in years. Chronicle sports reporter Pierre Weil breaks it down.

What2Know: Sept. 11, 2015. The last time Springfield beat Thurston at football. Since then, Thurston has won two state titles, and dominated the rivalry. Springfield comes into this matchup with the best chance to beat Thurston since a 39-36 loss in 2016. Thurston QB Noah Blair has 575 yards and 6 TDs on the season, while Springfield QB Caeleb Kasperek has 655 yards and 10 TDs. 

Quotable: “It’s cool that we’re a two-team town … It has a really good atmosphere. It’s a fun game, and obviously, the kids grew up playing with and against each other. ”  – Springfield head coach Miles Haley, who played in the rivalry for the Millers when he was in high school

“I know the guys on that staff. A.J. Robinson was the head coach at Churchill and Miles Haley was an assistant for A.J., and now their roles are reversed. Miles is a Springfield kid. This is my 20th year as coach here, so I know most of the coaches in the area. Some of our best games were against Churchill when those guys were there.”
– Thurston head coach Justin Starck

“It’s definitely a friendly rivalry. We go out there for 4 quarters trying to kill each other, then we shake hands and say, “Nice game. See ya next year!”’
– Thurston junior Micah Hanna

“We beat Thurston all through elementary school and middle school … I mean, it sucks to lose to them, but just gotta take care of business.”
– Springfield junior Caeleb Kasperek

“It means a lot, I’ve been playing against them since like fifth grade? … Yeah, been playing against the same team since then.”
– Springfield senior Dwayne Fotta

Siuslaw Vikings (2-2) at Creswell Bulldogs (3-1)

Game facts: 7 p.m. at Creswell High School

What2Know: The Bulldogs host the Vikings this week, who are the defending 3A state champions. Although Siuslaw has had a slow start to the season, they remain a dangerous team, and a great midseason test for Creswell. Head coach Scott Worsham and his staff has the team rolling early, but now face a 3A contender. The last time Creswell faced a contender was Santiam Christian, a game the Bulldogs lost 40-0. Worsham will need a better performance from his team against Siuslaw, and especially so for senior QB Connor Hanson, who will need a big game if Creswell wants to win.

Quotable: “They are a good team in our league. We will need to play aggressive, tough nose football to beat these guys. It’s gonna be another battle all game long … They’ve got a pretty solid defense that we’ll have to make sure we are disciplined in our blocking schemes and have our skill guys make big plays for us.” – Worsham

Cottage Grove Lions (0-4)

Game facts: 7 p.m. at CGHS

What2Know: The Lions host the Cougars, who may be the best 2-2 team in 4A football. Cascade’s two losses were to the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the division, and both were competitive games. Meanwhile the Lions are still looking to score their first points of the season, although there were signs of improvement on the defensive side of the ball last week. Head coach Joe Polamalu should be looking for continued improvement from the Lions defense, but especially from starting QB Brayden Crump.

Pleasant Hill Billies (3-1) at Elmira Falcons (1-3)

Game facts: 7 p.m. in Elmira

What2Know: The Billies are coming off a tough loss against Banks, and will need to avoid a post-loss hangover this week. Elmira is better than its 1-3 record, as the Falcons have had a tough early-season schedule. Pleasant Hill’s offense is coming off a tough performance, and QB Matthew Dutton will need to have a bounce-back game for the Billies to win this one. A win for the Billies would put them in a great spot just past the halfway point in the season.

Quotable: “I’m obviously new (to the league) so I’m coming in with a fresh set of eyes, and I’m going to learn as I watch film and look forward to the challenge … We have everything in front of us that we want, and I’m excited to keep getting out there.” – Head coach Jeremiah Heacock



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