4A Oregon high school football at midseason: surprises, MVPs, all-state teams

By René Ferrán | Photo by Leon Neuschwander

Class 4A Oregon high school football at midseason …

Most pleasant surprise: Estacada

The Rangers have played second fiddle to Gladstone the previous four seasons in the Tri-Valley Conference, but their 43-14 rout of the Gladiators in Week 5 was the latest in a series of impressive victories — including trouncing Banks and La Grande, the teams that met in the 2019 state final — that has Estacada on track for its best season since 2016, when it went 9-2 and reached the semifinals.

Biggest headscratcher: COVID

Not the pandemic itself, but the effect it’s had on the Class 4A schedule, where it has wreaked havoc on a number of teams’ plans this season. Nearly every team has had at least one game canceled, either because it went into quarantine or an opponent did. Keep your fingers crossed that the final seven weeks are untouched by the pandemic’s effects, because the 4A playoffs figure to feature some outstanding matchups.

Game of the Year: Cascade 38, Marist Catholic 33

The Cougars pointed to this season with this senior class as the year they would climb back atop the 4A mountain after their last state title in 2015. They already had a victory over last season’s 4A Showcase champion (Mazama), and last week’s win in Eugene over the Showcase runner-up Spartans cemented Cascade’s status as one of the title favorites.

Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Dom Montiel, Sr., Marshfield

The Marshfield signal-caller has nearly double the passing yards of any other player in 4A, having thrown for 1,661 yards and 27 touchdowns with just three interceptions through six games. The Pirates will ride his hot right hand as far as they can — they hope to win the program’s first state title since 1992.

Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Ezra Waterman, Sr., Marshfield

Waterman makes it a clean sweep of the midseason awards for the Pirates. The two-time all-state selection is having another fabulous season, with his 58 tackles second in 4A through Week 6 and 13½ tackles for loss third in the classification, to lead a defense that has allowed 9.3 points per game, second-fewest in 4A.

Midseason All-State Team

Offense

QB Dom Montiel, Sr., Marshfield

RB Blake Lewis, Sr., Cascade

RB Lucas Tuski, Sr., Marist Catholic

WR DJ Dougherty, Sr., Marshfield

WR Brady Nichols, Jr., Sweet Home

TE Charlie White, Sr., Banks

OL Devin Gotchall, Sr., Estacada

OL Dominic Nacoste, Jr., Estacada

OL Braxton Tucker, Sr., Cascade

OL Hayden Murphy, Sr., Marshfield

OL Nathan Tramp, Sr., Mazama

Defense

DL Aiden Johnson, Sr., Tillamook

DL Conner Langmo, Sr., Seaside

DL Santi Roque, Sr., Woodburn

DL Chris Woods, Sr., Hidden Valley

LB Blake Lewis, Sr., Cascade

LB Owen McOmber, Sr., Marist Catholic

LB Ezra Waterman, Sr., Marshfield

LB Charlie White, Sr., Banks

DB DJ Daugherty, Sr., Marshfield

DB Jamar Flippen, Sr., Banks

DB Aaron Hutchins, Sr., Marshfield

DB Colton Smith, Sr., Henley

What we’re looking forward to down the stretch: The 4A playoffs

Class 4A is loaded, going seven or eight teams deep in terms of contenders. The top tier includes Marshfield, Cascade, Estacada and Marist Catholic, but there’s not much of a drop to the next tier of teams — Hidden Valley, Mazama, Banks, La Grande and Seaside. This classification also seems to have at least one surprise semifinalist every year. In 2015, it was 9-seed Cascade. The following year, it was Cascade again, this time as a No. 15. The next year, No. 7 Ontario. In 2019, No. 10 The Dalles. Only twice in the past decade did chalk hold and the top four seeds get through.

Our complete high school football preview:

Breaking down every 6A, 5A, 4A team in the state

Week 6 football recap:

Top stars, best games, biggest wins from sixth week

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