By René Ferrán
The Oregon high school football playoffs continue this weekend. Here’s a look at each Class 6A semifinal and the Class 5A-1A finals.
Photo by Leon Neuschwander
6A Semifinals | Bracket
No. 9 Jesuit Crusaders (11-1) vs. No. 4 Central Catholic Rams (13-0)
5 p.m. Friday, Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: Central Catholic won 35-6 in Week 1 of the spring season, but Jesuit leads the all-time series 23-16-1.
Jesuit’s road to the semifinals: Def. Liberty 62-6 in first round; def. Clackamas 19-7 in second round; def. Lake Oswego 56-49 in quarterfinals
About the Crusaders: Jesuit coach Ken Potter hoped that these Holy War rivals, who didn’t play in the regular season for the first time since 2009, would meet in December. Instead, they’ll face off a week early after Jesuit got past its playoff nemesis in the quarterfinals, outlasting top-seeded Lake Oswego in a back-and-forth game in which the Crusaders didn’t take the lead for good until early in the fourth quarter. Jesuit won its eighth consecutive Metro League title and has 11 consecutive wins (including a forfeit) since losing 17-3 at home to West Linn to open the season. Potter is 16 wins behind Dayton’s Dewey Sullivan, the state’s all-time winningest coach. Senior RB Michael Rincon ran for 212 yards and five touchdowns in the quarterfinals and has gained 1,237 yards in the eight games since returning to lead-back status against Westview in Week 4. Sophomore QB Jacob Hutchison has come on the second half of the season, cutting down on the interceptions while throwing for 1,084 yards and 15 touchdowns in the past seven games — including 206 yards and two TDs vs. Lake Oswego.
Central Catholic’s road to the semifinals: Def. Oregon City 49-0 in first round; def. Mountainside 48-17 in second round; def. Sherwood 63-21 in quarterfinals
About the Rams: Central Catholic’s bid to become the first back-to-back 6A state champions since the Rams turned the trick in 2013-14 remains alive after they ended Pacific Conference champion Sherwood’s run from 0-4 to the quarterfinals. They’ve won 27 of their past 28 games, with an overtime loss to Sunset in the final week of the spring season their only blemish, and are one of five teams remaining in the playoffs (and the only 6A team) still undefeated. QB Cru Newman hasn’t looked like a sophomore in being named MHC offensive player of the year, throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns against the Bowmen. Senior RB Ellis Bynum’s return from injury has provided a boost to an offense that was already humming — he rushed for 109 yards and three TDs in the quarterfinals. The defense allowed 21 points last week, matching the highest point total an Oregon team has scored against the Rams this season, but did get three turnovers, and Central Catholic returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
No. 3 Tualatin Timberwolves (11-1) vs. No. 2 West Linn Lions (11-1)
Noon Friday, Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: The Timberwolves romped to a 49-14 victory in Week 5, keeping the Lions offense out of the end zone (a first for a West Linn opponent in four years) in ending a seven-game losing streak to their Three Rivers League rivals.
Tualatin’s road to the semifinals: Def. Mountain View 48-17 in first round; def. Westview 58-25 in second round; def. Summit 42-13 in quarterfinals
About the Timberwolves: Tualatin is in the semifinals for the first time since 2010, which also happens to be the last time the Timberwolves played for a 6A title. After a midseason lull that followed their big win over West Linn, when they lost to Lake Oswego 35-26 and escaped against Lakeridge with a 24-21 victory, the Timberwolves have rolled their past five opponents by an average winning margin of 33.6 points. Senior RB Malik Ross, a Three Rivers co-offensive player of the year, followed his school-record six touchdowns against Westview with a 150-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Storm, who entered the game allowing 10.6 points per game. Ross has 27 touchdowns this season, including 21 on the ground. Senior QB Jackson Jones, who missed 2½ games with a shoulder injury, threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the quarterfinals — the eighth game this season in which he’s had multiple touchdown passes.
West Linn’s road to the semifinals: Def. Bend 35-15 in first round; def. South Salem 55-9 in second round; def. Lakeridge 10-7 (OT) in quarterfinals
About the Lions: West Linn survived another down-to-the-wire matchup with Lakeridge to advance to the semifinals for the first time since winning the 2016 title. The Lions have cycled through three starting quarterbacks this season, with junior Earl Ingle earning the start against the Pacers and going 10 of 18 for 105 yards and a touchdown. Their depth at the skill positions has allowed whoever has taken snaps behind center to shine save for that Week 5 loss to Tualatin. Leading the way is junior WR Mark Hamper, who has more than 1,200 yards of total offense and eight touchdown catches. He also has a team-high five interceptions. The defense, led by its standout linebacking corps, has rounded into form since the first matchup with Tualatin and hasn’t allowed more than 14 points over the past five weeks.
5A Final | Bracket
No. 5 Thurston Colts (10-0) vs. No. 2 Silverton Foxes (11-1)
3 p.m. Saturday, Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: The Colts won 44-14 in the 2019 state semifinals en route to their second consecutive Class 5A title.
Thurston’s road to the final: Def. Ridgeview 31-2 in first round; def. Canby 20-0 in quarterfinals; def. Wilsonville 34-14 in semifinals
About the Colts: Thurston got past Wilsonville in the playoffs for a third consecutive postseason, and after starting the season by missing the first two weeks because of COVID quarantine, the Colts find themselves one win from achieving a rare three-peat — Marshfield (1954-56) and Scappoose (2000-02) are the only teams in the state’s top two classifications to win three state titles in a row since the state went to four classifications in 1952. The Colts have outscored opponents 386-75 this season, with the Wildcats just the third team to post multiple scores against a defense that has shut out five opponents. Senior RB Gavin Knights, the Eugene area’s offensive player of the year in the spring, completed his return from injury as part of a three-back rotation that includes senior Brycen Indell and junior Vaun Halstead. The three combined for 179 yards and three touchdowns last week. Arizona State-bound senior Jacob Newell is a two-way threat, catching a team-high 49 passes for 766 yards and nine touchdowns and making 11 tackles for loss and a team-high 6.5 sacks.
Silverton’s road to the final: Def. McKay 42-7 in first round; def. North Salem 22-0 in quarterfinals; def. West Albany 44-14 in semifinals
About the Foxes: Silverton is in the final for the fifth time in school history and first time since 2014, seeking the program’s second title — the Foxes won their only championship 30 years ago. They advanced by romping past West Albany in a rematch of their Week 8 meeting. Senior QB Jordan McCarty, the Mid-Willamette offensive player of the year, threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinals, all to senior WR Austin Ratliff, who has 11 TD catches this season. Fellow senior WR Vandon Fessler had a quiet night (three catches for 31 yards) but has caught a team-high 74 passes for 1,299 yards and eight TDs. The defense, which gives up 9.4 points per game, allowed more than one touchdown for only the third time this season — although the second came with just three minutes remaining against the second-stringers. Fessler had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and Ratliff made a game-high eight tackles.
4A Final | Bracket
No. 7 Marist Catholic Spartans (10-2) vs. No. 1 Marshfield Pirates (14-0)
7 p.m. Saturday, Herald White Stadium, Cottage Grove
Last meeting: The teams met four weeks ago in the regular-season finale, with the Pirates pulling out a 48-41 victory to secure the Sky-Em League championship.
Marist Catholic’s road to the final: Def. Baker 42-7 in first round; def. Cascade 62-35 in quarterfinals; def. Estacada 42-8 in semifinals
About the Spartans: It took Marist Catholic a while to take control of its semifinal against the Rangers, but the Spartans pulled away in the second half after trailing 8-6 at halftime. They are in the final for the 10th time but first since 2012, seeking their first title since 2009. Senior RB Lucas Tuski ran for 180 yards and four touchdowns to lead the way in the semifinals, giving him 1,627 yards and 30 touchdowns for the season. Senior QB Carter Greene was his usual steady self, throwing for 153 yards and a touchdown — he has a 27-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing more than two-thirds of his passes (95 of 142 for 1,521 yards). The Spartans average 37 points per game and have not scored fewer than 33 in a game this season. The defense has been up and down during the second half of the season, and after a stout effort in the semifinals will look to improve upon the 426 yards allowed (402 through the air) to Marshfield in their first meeting.
Marshfield’s road to the final: Def. Madras 43-0 in first round; def. Henley 42-7 in quarterfinals; def. Mazama 36-0 in semifinals
About the Pirates: Marshfield has been the consensus No. 1 team in Class 4A the entire season and now looks to cap a dominant fall with its first state title since 1992. The Pirates advanced to their ninth final by defeating the spring 4A Showcase champion Vikings, holding them to a season-low 153 yards of total offense and handing Mazama its first shutout loss since 2012. Senior LB Ezra Waterman led the defense with 15 tackles, giving him 126 (24.5 for loss) for the season, while senior Maddux Mateski intercepted two passes among the Pirates’ four takeaways. Senior QB Dom Montiel has thrown for 3,228 yards and 45 touchdowns (seven interceptions) this season, and he’s moved into 16th place on the state’s career list with 6,901 yards. He’s spread the wealth among six receivers who have 10 or more catches, led by senior WRs DJ Daugherty (62-1120-19) and Mateski (46-716-11).
3A Final | Bracket
No. 3 South Umpqua Lancers (11-1) vs. No. 1 Siuslaw Vikings (11-0)
11 a.m. Saturday, Herald White Stadium, Cottage Grove
Last meeting: The Lancers romped to a 54-7 victory in Week 7 of the 2017 season. The Vikings lead the all-time series 14-4-1 — with the tie coming in the 1981 Class AA state championship game.
South Umpqua’s road to the final: Def. Yamhill-Carlton 35-6 in first round; def. Santiam Christian 28-8 in quarterfinals; def. Vale 24-21 in semifinals
About the Lancers: It’s been 40 years since South Umpqua found itself in a state final, and it didn’t secure its trip until Juri Moros nailed a 28-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to cap a short drive set up by a defensive stand following a blocked field goal attempt with 4:18 to play. Since that 1981 co-championship season, the Lancers had made nine playoff appearances and won three games until this fall. The Lancers built toward this season with a 4-2 mark in the spring, and their 11 wins this season are their most since they finished a back-to-back title run in 1977. Their only loss came in a hastily arranged Week 9 game against Kalama, when they lost 40-0 to the undefeated Chinooks, playing in the Washington Class 2B semifinals this weekend as the No. 1 seed. Junior QB Jace Johnson threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 2,206 yards and 33 TDs this season, and senior RB Caj Simmons ran for his 12th touchdown of the season in the semifinals.
Siuslaw’s road to the final: Def. Blanchet Catholic 45-6 in first round; def. Cascade Christian 28-23 in quarterfinals; def. La Pine 28-26 in semifinals
About the Vikings: Siuslaw hasn’t been to the championship game since falling to La Salle Prep in the 2011 Class 4A final and hasn’t won the title since 2006. The Vikings narrowly escaped La Pine for a second time this season, stopping a potential tying two-point conversion after the Hawks scored a touchdown with 3:41 left in their semifinal. Senior RB Camp Lacouture ran for 168 yards and four touchdowns last week, and he salted away the victory with a clutch four-yard run on third-and-3 on the game’s final possession. Lacouture has accounted for 20 touchdowns this season (17 rushing) to match senior WR Braydon Thornton’s total. Senior QB Beau Erickson, who backed up Elijah Blankenship for three seasons, has made the most of his only season as the starter, throwing for 21 touchdowns and running for eight.
2A Final | Bracket
No. 4 Coquille Red Devils (9-1) vs. No. 2 Kennedy Trojans (11-1)
3 p.m. Saturday, Herald White Stadium, Cottage Grove
Last meeting: This is the first meeting ever between the teams.
Coquille’s road to the final: Def. Monroe 44-0 in first round; def. Jefferson 48-8 in quarterfinals; def. Heppner 8-6 in semifinals
About the Red Devils: After Coquille missed five weeks because of COVID quarantines involving an opponent and then a three-week hiatus after an outbreak at the school, it has gone 7-0 on the field, ending defending champion Heppner’s 29-game win streak with a stellar defensive performance in the semifinals. After the Mustangs broke a scoreless tie with 5½ minutes left, senior RB Gunner Yates tied the score with 2:23 to play with a 7-yard run. Brock Willis’ two-point conversion run put the Red Devils ahead, and they stopped Heppner’s final drive to secure their first trip to the final since 1970, when they won their only title. Yates ran for 129 yards on 26 carries in the semifinal and has 1,815 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. He also has a team-high 68 tackles.
Kennedy’s road to the final: Def. Nestucca 38-0 in first round; def. Gaston 50-16 in quarterfinals; def. Lakeview 21-0 in semifinals
About the Trojans: Kennedy has reached three consecutive 2A state finals, winning the school’s first championship in 2018 by beating league rival Santiam and losing to Heppner in 2019. The Trojans built a 21-0 halftime lead on the Honkers and ended Lakeview’s dream of reaching its first final. Senior QB Riley Cantu threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, and the defense posted its second shutout of the playoffs and fourth this season — the Trojans have allowed 8.1 points per game. Sophomore DB Elijah Traeger and junior DB Owen Bruner each had an interception, and the Trojans allowed just 147 yards of total offense.
1A Final | Bracket
No. 2 Powder Valley Badgers (11-1) vs. No. 1 Adrian Antelopes (12-0)
1 p.m. Saturday, Baker High School
Last meeting: The Antelopes won 38-0 in Week 5, avenging a 70-58 loss to the Badgers in Week 6 of the spring season.
Powder Valley’s road to the final: Def. Perrydale 70-34 in first round; def. Myrtle Point 36-0 in quarterfinals; def. St. Paul 46-8 in semifinals
About the Badgers: Powder Valley’s steady build over the past three years has culminated with its first appearance in the final since winning the 2003 state title. While the Badgers offense has led the way most of the season, it’s been the defense that has carried them the past two weeks, blanking Myrtle Point in the quarterfinals and holding perennial power St. Paul to a single touchdown in beating the Buckaroos for the third time this calendar year. Senior QB Reece Dixon has been a dual-threat force all season, running for 108 yards and three touchdowns and throwing for 108 yards in the semifinals. Senior RB/DB Case Olson caught a touchdown pass and had 11 tackles and four pass breakups on defense.
Adrian’s road to the final: Def. Imbler 58-0 in first round; def. Dufur 88-6 in quarterfinals; def. Lost River 62-20 in semifinals
About the Antelopes: Adrian earned a shot at winning back-to-back state championships (and its third all-time) by blasting Lost River in the semifinals. The Raiders became the first team to score multiple touchdowns against the Antelopes this season, but that doesn’t diminish the dominance they’ve shown on defense — they have five shutouts and have outscored opponents 618-54. Senior QB Conley Martin ran for 221 yards and six touchdowns and threw for another score in the semifinal win, and junior RB/LB Jace Martin ran for 165 yards and two scores while making a game-high 14 tackles. Senior DT Misael Munoz added eight tackles (2.5 for loss) and had two sacks for the second consecutive week.