FOOTBALL GAME-BY-GAME PREVIEWS
THE MAIN EVENT
EAGLE POINT EAGLES (5-3) AT SPRINGFIELD MILLERS (7-1)
■ Game facts: Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., SHS
■ What2Know: Springfield hosts Eagle Point in a game that decides the second-seed of the Midwestern League. Both teams enter the game 5-1 in MWL play, with both losses coming against Thurston. At this point in the season both teams are playoff bound, so this game is mostly about playoff seeding.
■ Pierre’s take: Head coach Frank Geske and the Millers not only have a chance to clinch the second automatic playoff spot in the MWL, but a victory would also likely clinch a home first-round playoff game – something Springfield hasn’t had since 2015.
HIDDEN VALLEY MUSTANGS (1-7) AT COTTAGE GROVE LIONS (1-7)
■ Game facts: Friday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m., CGHS
■ What2Know: Cottage Grove hosts Hidden Valley to end the season in a matchup between two 1-7 teams. Last season’s game against HV was the closest the Lions came to a win, losing by two. An improved CGHS team has a great chance to get multiple wins in a season for the first time since 2018.
■ Pierre’s take: It’s been a tough past four weeks for Cottage Grove against a competitive Sky-Em League schedule. Luckily for head coach Steve Turner and the Lions, a fellow 1-7 team gallops into town. A positive end to the season would be big for a Lions program that’s struggled the past five years.
LA PINE HAWKS (2-6) AT CRESWELL BULLDOGS (2-6)
■ Game facts: Friday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m., CHS
■ What2Know: Creswell hosts La Pine on Senior Night this week. Despite being eliminated from the postseason, the Bulldogs can be playoff spoilers with a win over La Pine, who is 2-3 in Mountain Valley Conference play and still has a slim chance to make the playoffs.
■ Pierre’s take: Creswell has 11 seniors that will play their final high school football game this week, including wide receiver Jaydon Warthen, who has been Creswell’s most effective weapon on offense this year. Look for Warthen to have a big game against a La Pine team that has the 3rd-worst scoring defense in all of Class 3A (37.1 points-per-game).
PLEASANT HILL BILLIES (4-4) AT SIUSLAW VIKINGS (4-4)
■ Game facts: Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., 2975 Oak St, Florence
■ What2Know: Pleasant Hill travels to No. 16 Siuslaw in a game for the Mountain Valley Conference’s final automatic playoff spot. Siuslaw started the season 4-1 and was a top-10 team, but a three-game skid gives Pleasant Hill a chance to pull off an upset and sneak into the postseason.
■ Pierre’s take: Second-year coach Jeremiah Heacock clearly has the program moving in the right direction after improving the team’s record both years at the helm. While an improved win-total is great, a postseason berth in his second year would be a significant step forward for Heacock and the Billies.
THURSTON COLTS (6-2) AT CHURCHILL LANCERS (3-5)
■ Game facts: Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., 1850 Bailey Hill Rd., Eugene
■ What2Know: The Colts have clinched their sixth-straight league title as they beat both Springfield and Eagle Point – the two teams within a game of them. This week Thurston hopes to extend its MWL win streak to 38 games.
■ Pierre’s take: Quarterback Noah Blair and the Colts rumble into Churchill on a six-game overall win streak. So far, no MWL team has stopped Blair – the Colts are averaging almost 50 points a game in league. A victory could earn two home playoff games.
Junction City 52, Cottage Grove 13
Recap: Cottage Grove lost its fourth game in a row – three of which have been against top-10 teams. Junction City led 28-0 in the first quarter and the Lions were unable to mount a comeback. QB Gavin Grogan had a 46-yard TD run in the second quarter, and Clayton DeWitt scored on a 1-yard TD run in the 3rd quarter. The Lions finished the night with 222 yards rushing.
Springfield 33, North Eugene 11
Recap: A heavy dose of Connor Dye was the prescription for Springfield once again as the Millers moved to 7-1 with the victory over North Eugene. After NE led 8-0, Dye scored four times in the second and third quarters to give Springfield a 26-8 lead heading into the 4th. Dye finished with 21 carries, 200 yards and 4 TDs rushing, and added 2 catches for 58 yards and a TD.
Top performers: Connor Dye, 21 rushes, 200 yards, 4 TDs, 2 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD; Zack Sherman, 5-of-12, 101 yards, 1 TD; Caeleb Kasperek, 4 tackles; Jackson Babbitt, 1 INT.
Thurston 63, Willamette 6
Recap: Thurston locked up its sixth-straight Midwestern League title with a dominant win over Willamette. The Colts scored TDs on 9 of their 10 drives in the game. Junior QB Noah Blair had a near-perfect game, finishing 14-of-15 for 253 yards and 5 TDs. Walker Bonar caught 3 of those TD passes, and Holton Halstead scored twice on the ground as Thurston racked up 478 yards of total offense.