FOOTBALL GAME-BY-GAME PREVIEWS
SWEET HOME HUSKIES (0-3) AT COTTAGE GROVE LIONS (0-3)
■ Game facts: Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., at CGHS
■ What2Know: The Lions and Huskies face off as both teams seek their first win on the board. Sweet Home has scored only eight points all season, but Cottage Grove’s defense is giving up more than 37 points a game.
■ Pierre’s take: Cottage Grove looks to earn its first victory of the Steve Turner era, and have a good shot this week as the Lions host a struggling Sweet Home. RB Clayton DeWitt and the offense has looked better, scoring 18 and 17 points in the past two games. Sweet Home is giving up 29 points a game, so the Lions should run early and often with DeWitt.
CRESWELL BULLDOGS (1-2) AT ELMIRA FALCONS (1-2)
■ Game facts: Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., at 24936 Fir Grove Ln., Elmira
■ What2Know: Back-to-back losses against top-10 teams has put Creswell in a tough, early season spot, but the Bulldogs have a great chance to bounce back this week as they start Mountain Valley Conference play at Elmira. The Falcons are coming off a narrow 25-22 loss at No. 2 Sisters, though, so it won’t be easy.
■ Pierre’s take: QB Darien Dewey and the offense hope to rebound as they’ve mustered only two touchdowns all season. Elmira is giving up 26 points a game, though, so this could be the week Creswell gets its offense going.
NORTH MARION HUSKIES (1-2) AT PLEASANT HILL BILLIES (2-1)
■ Game facts: Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., at PHHS. Tickets: Adults ($5), students ($3), seniors ($2)
■ What2Know: The Billies and Huskies have one common opponent this year in Harrisburg. Pleasant Hill beat Harrisburg 26-7, and North Marion lost 47-38. North Marion’s offense is scoring 26 points a game, so a stout Billies defense will be tested.
■ Pierre’s take: So far Pleasant Hill’s plan of controlling the game through rushing and defense has worked twice. With Jacob Neely and Braedon Hazel carrying the load, look for the Billies to control possession and try to keep the Huskies’ high-powered offense off the field.
SOUTH EUGENE AXE (2-1) AT SPRINGFIELD MILLERS (3-0)
■ Game facts: Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., at SHS. Tickets: Adults ($6), students ($4)
■ What2Know: The Millers try to stay undefeated as they have their league home-opener against South Eugene, which is off to a 2-1 start after winning one game last season. Springfield is coming off a dominant win at Crater, though, and has looked like the best team in the Midwestern League this early season.
■ Pierre’s take: QB Caeleb Kasperek’s health continues to be a question, but backup QB Zack Sherman and star RB Connor Dye did just fine in last week’s blowout win over Crater as they combined for 271 yards and 3 TDs on the ground.
THURSTON COLTS (1-2) AT CRATER COMETS (0-3)
■ Game facts: Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m., 655 N. 3rd St., Central Point
■ What2Know: After getting a win on the board last week, Thurston travels to a surprise 0-3 Crater team that many picked to come in third in the Midwestern League this season. Thurston’s passing attack was on full display last week as QB Noah Blair looks to continue a stellar junior season (846 yards and 9 TDs).
■ Pierre’s take: While Thurston’s passing attack will continue to be great all season, especially with the weapons they have in pass-catchers Walker Bonar, Lombel Doreen, and Luke Newell, head coach Justin Starck stressed the importance of getting the rushing attack going. Look for Thurston to get RB Ethan Burkhead involved early against a Crater team that gave up more than 300 yards rushing last week.
Philomath 41, Cottage Grove 17
■ Recap: Cottage Grove fell to 0-3 after Philomath’s big second quarter. Trailing 7-0, Cottage Grove gave up 21 points in the 2nd quarter and trailed 28-3 heading into halftime. The Lions rushed for 280 yards thanks to 179 yards from Clayton DeWitt and 102 yards from Gavin Grogan, who scored both of Cottage Grove’s touchdowns.
Top performers: Clayton DeWitt, 26 carries, 179 yards; Gavin Grogan, 16 carries, 102 yards, 2 TDs.
Warrenton 30, Creswell 0
■ Recap: Warrenton’s defense stifled the Bulldogs, forcing 4 turnovers and holding Creswell to 94 yards of total offense. Despite Creswell’s defense forcing 5 turnovers of its own, including 2 INTs by Tyler Bowers, the Bulldogs were unable to capitilize on any of those turnovers.
■ Top performers: Darien Dewey, 8-19, 85 yards, 3 INTs; Jaydon Warthen, 2 catches, 35 yards; Tyler Bowers, 3 catches, 28 yards, 2 INTs; 1 FF; Hunter Mustin, 10.5 tackles, 1 sack; Sage Bader, 9.5 tackles, 1 FF.
Pleasant Hill 26, Harrisburg 7
■ Recap: Pleasant Hill got back on track with a victory in its Mountain Valley Conference opener against Harrisburg. The Billies offense had a great game, racking up 431 yards of total offense, including 229 yards rushing. RB Braedon Hazel led the way on the ground with 102 yards, while sophomore QB Jacob Neely threw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Top performers: Jacob Neely, 202 yards passing, 2 TDs; Braedon Hazel, 102 yards rushing.
Springfield 43, Crater 13
■ Recap: Springfield stayed undefeated as it ran all over Midwestern League foe Crater. The Millers ran for 309 yards and 3 TDs in the win. Connor Dye got the party started with a 52-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage. Backup QB Zack Sherman got the start and connected on TD passes of 31 and 18 yards to Jackson Babbitt as the Millers racked up 460 total yards.
■ Top performers: Zack Sherman, 13-15, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 93 yards rushing, 1 TD; Connor Dye, 24 rushes, 178 yards, 2 TDs; Jackson Babbitt, 3 catches, 57 yards, 2 TDs; Jaevon Spencer, 10 catches, 94 yards.
Weekly tidbits from around our area team’s conferences:
South Eugene outlasts Willamette
■ After going 1-8 last season, the South Eugene football team is off to a 2-1 start after beating Willamette 28-25 last week. Senior Ronan Schmidt rushed for 204 yards and 3 TDs in the victory, and junior Isaiah Francis caught a TD pass. South Eugene heads to Springfield (3-0) this week.
Marist continues early season chaos
■ There may not be another team in Oregon that’s had a more suspenseful start to the year than the Marist Catholic football team. After winning an overtime thriller 36-35 against Churchill in Week One and losing 36-24 to Springfield in overtime in Week Two, Marist continued its crazy start with a 33-29 win over then-undefeated No. 3 Mazama.
Marist earned the victory over Mazama on an 18-yard TD pass from Nick Hudson to CJ Giustina with 1:24 left in the game after trailing by eight with eight minutes left.