FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEWS
(13) LEBANON (5-4) AT (4) SPRINGFIELD MILLERS (8-1)
■Game facts: Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m., Tickets: Adults ($10), students ($6)
■ What2Know: Springfield hosts its first playoff game in 2,912 days – the first since the quarterfinals in 2015 when the Millers fell to Ashland. Springfield hosts Lebanon, which came in 5th in the Mid-Willamette Conference.
■ Pierre’s take: Running back Connor Dye has thrived behind standout offensive linemen Sam Keen and Nate Williams, wearing down opponents over the course of games. Defensively, Springfield attempts to slow down a potent Lebanon offense that’s averaging 33.5 points a game.
(9) DALLAS (6-3) AT (8) THURSTON COLTS (7-2)
■ Game facts: Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Game at Willamette HS, 1801 Echo Hollow Rd., Eugene. Tickets: Adults ($10), students ($6)
■ What2Know: After last season’s first-round game where rain affected Thurston’s grass field, coach Justin Starck and the Colts played Dallas at Cottage Grove in the quarterfinals. This season, Thurston chose to host its first-round game at Willamette, which has a turf field that should hold up better in a forecast that calls for more rain.
■ Pierre’s take: Thurston handled Dallas 27-14 last season in the quarterfinals. Now, the two teams match up in the first round as the Colts try to advance to their 5th-straight quarterfinals. Quarterback Noah Blair finished the year as one of the top QBs in Class 5A, leading an offense that averaged nearly 43 points a game – 3rd-most in 5A.
Creswell 43, La Pine 7
■ Recap: Creswell ended the season with a dominant win on Senior Night. Creswell led 29-0 heading into the fourth quarter before La Pine even scored. Darien Dewey got the party started with a 4-yard TD run, then a Victor Giffen 11-yard run and FG gave Creswell a 16-0 lead at halftime. Jaydon Warthen scored twice in the second half, once on a 46-yard pass from Dewey and once on a 33-yard fumble recovery. Creswell finished its season 3-6 and in fifth place in the Mountain Valley Conference.
■ Top performers: Dewey, 11-of-15, 110 yards, 1 TD, 60 yards rushing, 2 TDs; Giffen, 17 rushes, 105 yards, 1 TD, 10 tackles; Warthen, 1 catch, 46 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble recovery for TD; Tyler Bowers, 1 INT ret. for TD; Colton Kaiser, 5.5 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 FR.
Hidden Valley 57, Cottage Grove 41
■ Recap: Hidden Valley won a high-scoring affair between two 1-7 teams. Cottage Grove’s run game piled up 211 yards and 5 touchdowns, and Kaeden Grogan added an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Cottage Grove finished its season 1-8.
Siuslaw 51, Pleasant Hill 7
■ Recap: Pleasant Hill and Siuslaw faced off for the final Mountain Valley Conference playoff spot. No. 14 Siuslaw left no doubt who the playoff team was, racing out to a 44-7 halftime lead. Jacob Neely had 109 yards passing for the Billies, but the big deficit proved too much and the Billies finished the season 4-5.
Tidbits from our area teams’ conferences:
Chase, Marist begin state run
■ Springfield native and UO commit Cloe Chase and the No. 1 Marist girls soccer team begin their state championship defense this week. Marist’s potential path to repeat – if all the favorites win – would be (16) Astoria, (8) Henley, (4) Hidden Valley, (2) Scappoose. Marist finished the regular season 14-0-1, Chase leading the way with 47 goals – tied for 5th-most all time in a single season. In her career, Chase is up to 113 goals, 9th all time in the state.
Marist holds of Junction City for Sky-Em title
■ No. 2 Marist Catholic football and No. 9 Junction City faced off last Friday for the Sky-Em League title, with Marist holding on 22-16 behind 3 TD passes from Nick Hudson. Marist led 22-8 after a 10-yard TD pass from Hudson to Aiden Hazen with 4:18 left, but Junction City answered with Cooper Rothenberger’s 36-yard TD pass to Eli Walker.