6A Oregon high school football playoff races: What’s at stake in Week 9

By René Ferrán | Photo by Leon Neuschwander

Here’s a league-by-league look at the playoff possibilities in Class 6A entering the last week of the regular season. (The top three in each league make the playoffs, plus 11 at-large qualifiers based on OSAA rankings.)

Portland Interscholastic League

League title

Grant (5-4 overall, 5-0 PIL, No. 20 OSAA ranking) has wrapped up a share of the league title and the PIL’s No. 1 seed in the state bracket. It needs only a win over Jefferson (4-4, 3-2, No. 29) in their rivalry game Friday or a Roosevelt (6-2, 4-1, No. 27) loss to Lincoln to take the title outright. The Generals and Roughriders are the only teams that can win a piece of the title.

Automatic qualifiers

Grant and Roosevelt have clinched the PIL’s Nos. 1 and 2 seeds no matter what happens in their respective finales. Jefferson has the No. 3 seed virtually wrapped up, even if it loses to Grant and Lincoln (3-5, 2-3, No. 45) and Franklin (2-6, 2-3, No. 41) win their finales. The PIL uses the OSAA rankings as its tiebreaker if head-to-head results don’t resolve a tie, and the Cardinals and Lightning would need a lot to go right for them to vault over the Democrats for third.

At-large berths

None

Eliminated

McDaniel (2-5, 1-4, No. 42) and Wells (1-7, 1-5, No. 47) are out.  

Metro League

League title

Jesuit (7-1, 5-0, No. 9) has clinched a share of its eighth consecutive league title, and with a win Friday against Sunset (5-3, 3-2, No. 24) would deliver coach Ken Potter his 333rd victory, breaking a tie with former Roseburg coach Thurman Bell for No. 2 on the state’s all-time list. If Jesuit loses and Westview (7-1, 4-1, No. 16) beats Beaverton (3-5, 2-3, No. 34), the Wildcats would claim a share of the title — their first since 2007.

Automatic qualifiers

The top two spots go to Jesuit and Westview, even if the Wildcats lose to Beaverton. Mountainside (4-4, 3-2, No. 19) owns the tiebreaker over Sunset for the third automatic spot; the Apollos would finish third only by beating Jesuit while the Mavericks lost to winless Aloha (0-8, 0-5, No. 44). 

At-large berths

The top four teams are in for sure, although the Wildcats can’t afford a loss at Beaverton if they want a first-round home game. Beaverton and Southridge (1-7, 1-5, No. 35) are currently on the wrong side of the cut line, but the Beavers could still get in with a win over Westview. The Skyhawks finish with a nonleague game at South Salem (OSAA ranking: 17), and a victory could move them into one of the final spots. 

Eliminated

Aloha

Pacific Conference

League title

It comes down to Friday’s game in Hillsboro between Sherwood (4-4, 4-0, No. 26) and Liberty (6-2, 4-0, No. 21). The winner claims the championship; the loser is the No. 2 seed. No other team is in contention.

Automatic qualifiers

Sherwood and Liberty are in. Newberg (2-6, 2-2, No. 28) gets the No. 3 seed if it beats Century (1-7, 1-3, No. 43) on Thursday. The Jaguars finish third with a win if McMinnville (3-5, 1-3, No. 37) loses to Glencoe (3-5, 0-4, No. 36). If Century and McMinnville win, the No. 3 seed goes to the team with the highest OSAA ranking, which right now favors Newberg. 

At-large berths

Only Newberg can feel semi-confident that it would earn an at-large bid should it lose and not get a top-three spot, although in that scenario, the third-place team would be a “bid stealer,” dropping the final at-large OSAA ranking to No. 31 and meaning a few nervous hours until the rankings freeze. Century is definitely out with a loss; McMinnville and Glencoe would need a win and lots of churn in the rankings to have a chance.

Eliminated

None

Mt. Hood Conference

League title

Third verse, same as the first two — except this year, it’s not an official conference championship game between Clackamas (9-0, 7-0, No. 5) and Central Catholic (9-0, 7-0, No. 6) at Hillsboro Stadium, just practically one on full display before a national TV audience on ESPNU’s High School Football Showcase. The winner Friday takes the title outright.

Automatic qualifiers

Central Catholic, Clackamas and the winner Friday between David Douglas (5-3, 5-2, No. 15) and Sandy (6-2, 5-2, No. 14) nab the three automatic berths.

At-large berths

The David Douglas-Sandy loser is still in, although a loss might drop it just enough in the rankings to cost it a first-round home game. Barlow (5-4, 3-4, No. 22) finishes at Centennial and should be in. Nelson (2-6, 2-6, No. 32) currently occupies the final at-large spot in its first season, but the Hawks finish with a nonleague game against Skyview of Vancouver, which won’t do much for their OSAA ranking. They’ll be rooting for Newberg on Thursday to keep the at-large number at 32 and that the teams around them in the rankings falter. 

Eliminated

Centennial (2-6, 1-6, No. 38), Reynolds (1-7, 1-6, No. 40) and Gresham (1-7, 1-6, No. 39) are out.

Three Rivers League

League title

The trophy shop might be busy next week. Four teams could share the title come midnight Friday if all the Rivalry Week underdogs win. If West Linn (7-1, 3-1, No. 1) wins the Battle for the Bridge with Oregon City (2-6, 0-4, No. 31) while Tualatin (7-1, 3-1, No. 2) and Lake Oswego (7-1, 3-1, No. 3) take care of business on the road at Tigard (3-5, 1-3, No. 23) and Lakeridge (6-2, 2-2, No. 10), respectively, it’s a three-way split of the title. If West Linn, Tualatin and Lakeridge win, it’s a four-way split.

Automatic qualifiers

If West Linn, Tualatin and Lake Oswego all win, they grab the three automatic berths. Lakeridge could grab one of the top three spots with a win over Lake Oswego.

At-large berths

Whichever team finishes fourth among West Linn, Tualatin, Lake Oswego and Lakeridge is in the 32-team field. Tigard is also in, win or lose. Oregon City could make it a clean sweep — especially if it stuns West Linn on Friday, but even with a loss, the Pioneers could stay in the top 32 and make the playoffs despite a winless TRL slate. 

Eliminated

None

Mountain Valley Conference

League title

West Salem (7-1, 5-0, No. 8) has clinched at least a share of its first league title since 2017 and needs only a win at home Friday against Sprague (6-2, 3-2, No. 13) to take the title outright. A loss and a Summit (6-2, 4-1, No. 7) win at home against McNary (6-2, 3-2, No. 18) would mean the Titans and Storm share the crown.

Automatic qualifiers

West Salem is the only team assured of a top-three finish. If Sprague and McNary both win, they’ll move into a three-way tie for second with Summit — although all three are assuredly in the field. 

At-large berths

South Salem (4-4, 2-4, No. 17) and Mountain View (3-5, 1-4, No. 25) should find their names on the bracket regardless of Friday’s results. Bend (2-6, 0-5, No. 30) currently is in the field, but a loss to crosstown rival Mountain View could knock the Lava Bears out of the top 32. 

Eliminated

None

Southwest Conference

League title

Sheldon (7-1, 3-0, No. 4) clinched at least a share of a third consecutive conference championship by escaping Roseburg with a 49-47 victory last week. The Irish clinch the outright title with a win against Grants Pass this week; otherwise, they share the crown with Roseburg. 

Automatic qualifiers

Roseburg (7-1, 3-1, No. 11) has secured a top-three spot. The winner of the Black and Blue Bowl between North Medford (4-3, 1-2, No. 12) and South Medford (1-7, 1-2, No. 33) grabs the third spot.

At-large berths

North Medford is in the field win or lose. South Medford likely needs to beat its archrival to qualify, as a loss would probably keep the Panthers below No. 32 in the rankings. 

Eliminated

At No. 46 in the rankings, Grants Pass (1-7, 0-3) is out even if it stuns Sheldon.

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