Sports Zone

HSSZ: Weekly football capsules

Below are the weekly recaps and previews for our area football teams, as well as our weekly conference call, where we take a look at some top storylines from teams around our area team’s conferences.

The Main Event

Marist Catholic Spartans (1-0) at Springfield Millers (1-0)
Game facts: Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. … tickets $6 for adults, $4 for students
What2Know: Springfield hosts Marist in an important game for head coach Frank Geske. Not only was Geske at the helm of Marist for 15 years – winning a state title in 2009 – but he also has 249 career wins. A 250th win would make Geske only the 14th coach ever to hit 250 wins in Oregon football history.
Pierre’s take: Both teams had Week One wins, but Springfield’s was more convincing. Look for a motivated Millers to keep their rushing attack solid and slow down Marist QB Nick Hudson, who had 5 TDs last week, in order to grab Geske his 250th win.



Game facts: Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
What2Know: Two teams that struggled in Week One look to have a Week Two turnaround. Cottage Grove’s rushing attack was solid last week thanks to Clayton DeWitt’s 113 yards and 1 TD. If Dewitt and QB Gavin Grogan can keep the run game strong, it’s possible for the Lions to snap their 15-game losing streak.
Pierre’s take: Cottage Grove looked messy last week, racking up 16 penalties in the opening-week loss. Coach Steve Turner needs to clean up those self-inflicted wounds if Cottage Grove wants to snap a losing streak that dates to September of 2021.


Game facts: Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., tickets $6 for adults, students free
What2Know: Creswell hosts Class 3A preseason No. 6 Santiam Christian. Despite Santiam Christian’s opening-week loss, the Eagles are a top-10 team. Creswell’s offense struggled at times last week, but the defense will build on a 3-INT performance, including Tyler Bowers’ INT for a TD.
Pierre’s take: Creswell got a good start to the season against Taft, a Class 2A school last year now in 3A, but Santiam Christian will be a step up in competition. Creswell lost 40-0 against SC last season, but a weaker SC should give the Bulldogs a great indication of where they stand in the playoff race early in the season. 


Game facts: Saturday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m., 942 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem
What2Know: Pleasant Hill heads to Class 2A Salem Academy for a Saturday evening game. The Billies beat the Crusaders 25-10 last year to start 2-0. Look for the Billies to ride senior RB Braedon Hazel, who had 95 yards and 1 TD in the win last week.
Pierre’s take: Hazel wore down Cottage Grove in Pleasant Hill’s win last week and will look to do so again this week. Hazel also anchors a defense that allowed only 7 points in Week One as coach Jeremiah Heacock has his team ready to start well once again.


Game facts: Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., tickets Adults ($6), Students ($4)
What2Know: Eye-opening Week One losses were the name of the game for both teams. Thurston got beat down early and often by Wilsonville, while defending state champion Summit fell to Class 6A Tualatin 42-14. Summit will need to rely on one of the best backs in the state in RB Sam Stephens if it hopes to turn things around. Thurston needs to do a better job of protecting QB Noah Blair, who was sacked 6 times last week.
Pierre’s take: Summit had Thurston’s number last year, dominating the Colts in Week Two (48-10) and in the playoff semifinals (41-14). Both teams need to recover from heavy graduating classes and tough opening-week losses, though, which could open the door for the Colts. 


Creswell 15, Taft 6
Recap: Creswell’s defense carried the load in its Week One win at the newly renovated Markley Field as the Bulldogs had 3 INTs and a safety. Senior Tyler Bowers threw a 73-yard INT return for a TD, then Victor Giffen followed with a safety to give Creswell a 9-0 lead. Heading into the 4th quarter up 9-6, quarterback Darien Dewey connected on a 30-yard TD with Trenton Booher.
Top performers: Darien Dewey 14-23, 187 yards, 1 TD; Victor Giffen 17 carries, 60 yards, 11 tackles, 1 sack; Tyler Bowers 8 catches, 58 yards, 1 INT

Springfield 39, Ridgeview 21
Recap: Springfield’s rushing attack stood out in its first victory under new coach Frank Geske. QB Caeleb Kasperek had two first-half rushing TDs and RB Connor Dye had one as the Millers went into half up 20-7. Springfield broke open the game in the 3rd quarter as Kasperek and Zack Sherman connected for TD passes of 27 and 8 yards to extend the lead to 33-7.
Top performers: Caeleb Kasperek 8-10, 60 yards, 2 TDs, 96 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 5 tackles; Connor Dye 19 carries, 135 yards, 2 TDs, 5 tackles; Zack Sherman 2 catches, 35 yards, 2 TDs; Jaevon Spencer 5 catches, 62 yards.

Wilsonville 44, Thurston 15
Recap: It was a tough opener for Thurston, which fell to Class 5A favorite Wilsonville. Wilsonville opened the scoring on its first offensive play of the season and raced to a 37-0 lead. Thurston scored twice late as QB Noah Blair had touchdown passes of 15 yards to Ethan Burkhead and 83 yards to David MacDonald. Head coach Justin Starck was concerned about how the offensive line would hold up, and ended up being correct as Blair was under constant pressure and was sacked 6 times.
Top performers: Noah Blair 19-27, 288 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Lombel Doreen 8 catches, 94 yards; Luke Newell 3 catches, 55 yards.

Conference Call

Weekly tidbits from around our area team’s conferences:

Marist topples Churchill: Class 4A Marist won at 5A Churchill. Marist and new coach Charlie Landgraf won 36-35 in OT. Marist QB Nick Hudson threw 5 TDs, including one to Brady Bidwell with 6 seconds left to send the game to OT. Both teams scored a TD in OT, but Marist stopped Churchill’s two-point attempt. …

Junction City dominates Elmira:  Class4A Junction City took it to 3A Elmira in a Week One football game, winning 35-7. It was a solid start to the season for Junction City and coach Max Wall. …

Chase off to fast start: Defending Class 4A state champ Marist girls soccer got off to a hot start, winning its season opener 6-0 at Churchill. Marist senior midfielder Cloe Chase, a UO commit, had 5 goals and 1 assist in the dominant win. Chase had 27 goals and 8 assists last season.



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