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Thursday, Friday night high school football preview | USA Today High School Sports

Regis' Josh Scrocca runs the ball during a game with Dayton on Sept. 11.

Regis’ Josh Scrocca runs the ball during a game with Dayton on Sept. 11.

Greater Valley Conference

Game of the week

North Salem at West Salem, 7:15 p.m. Thursday

On the air: Radio on KYKN 1430 AM.

A turnaround season: North Salem is 3-2 in the Greater Valley Conference and is fourth place in the conference, the team’s best league position at this point in the season in years. Though the Vikings’ 33-21 loss to Forest Grove to snapped their three-game winning streak, the team still has the potential to place in the top four in the conference and reach the state playoffs. A win in this game would go a long ways towards the state playoffs.

Losing streak: West Salem’s current three-game losing streak is the program’s longest such string since 2004. The Titans (2-3, 2-2 GVC) have played a tough schedule as represented by being No. 14 in the OSAA’s power rankings.

Multi-threat Maciel: North Salem senior running back Cristian Maciel showed he can do a lot of things in Friday’s 33-21 loss to Forest Grove. He rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, returned a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown and kicked three PATs.

McNary at Forest Grove, 7:15 p.m. Thursday

Still looking for respect: McNary is 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the GVC, but the Celtics have yet to get much love from outside of Keizer. A No. 35 position in the OSAA’s power rankings probably doesn’t help that much. After this game McNary plays league heavyweights West Salem, South Salem and Sprague in consecutive weeks to close the regular season.

Big-time comeback: After being slowed significantly in a loss to McKay the week before, McNary senior quarterback Trent Van Cleave rolled up 336 yards of total offense and three touchdowns – two passing and one rushing – in last week’s 27-21 win against McMinnville.

McKay at Hood River Valley, 7 p.m. Friday

Nonleague game: This is the only nonleague game of the season for the Royal Scots, and it came at the perfect time. McKay (1-4 overall) lost 39-20 Friday against West Albany after giving up 240 yards rushing to the Bulldogs. McKay junior running back Matthew Jarding has rushed for 343 yards and six touchdowns – including two against West Albany – on 70 carries this season.

West Salem receiver Nate Okada has the ball knocked loose by Sprague’s Carter James last week.

West Salem receiver Nate Okada has the ball knocked loose by Sprague’s Carter James last week.

Mid-Willamette Conference

Game of the week

Central at Lebanon, 7 p.m. Thursday

Share of league lead: These are two of the five teams tied for first place in the Mid-Willamette. Lebanon (4-1 overall) is No. 17 in the OSAA’s power rankings and Central (3-2 overall) is No. 18 at 2-1 in league. Of course they’re both tied with Crescent Valley, South Albany and Silverton for the top spot.

Mendazona coming of age: Central sophomore quarterback Peter Mendazona has grown dramatically in the first five weeks of the season. He has completed 66 of 117 passes for 626 yards and seven touchdowns, including going 17-for-30 for 208 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 36-33 loss to Crescent Valley.

Tough defensive assignment: One of the tasks Central faces in this game is trying to stop senior tight end John Bates. The 6-6, 210-pound commit to Oregon State has been difficult to stop as a receiver, wildcat quarterback or defensive end this season.

Woodburn at Crescent Valley, 7 p.m. Thursday

Trying to get something going: The Bulldogs (0-5, 0-3) have yet to score more than 14 points in a game this season. Woodburn is No. 32 of 32 teams in the OSAA’s power rankings and has a lot of room to grow.

No. 10 Silverton at South Albany, 7 p.m. Thursday

Comeback game: When the Foxes (3-2, 2-1) lost 28-18 to Corvallis last week, it ended a 14-game conference winning streak that dated back to 2013. The Foxes were held to 159 yards rushing against Corvallis without running back Jonas Dahl.

Dallas at Corvallis, 7 p.m. Thursday

In need of an offensive infusion: The Dragons (1-4, 1-4) struggled offensively in the past two games, being shut out against Central and held to 12 points by South Albany last week. Dallas showed flashes of getting things moving this year, but has a lot of work to do against the top teams in the league.

No. 8 South Salem plays No. 9 Sprague for top spot in GVC

Oregon West Conference

Game of the week

North Marion at No. 5 Stayton, 7 p.m. Thursday

A surprising star: Of all the standout players the Eagles (5-0, 1-0) have had this season, the biggest surprise is senior running back Bryan King. He has rushed for 411 yards and eight touchdowns on 50 carries (8.2 yard per carry average). Stayton has done well in a lot of things on the football field this fall, but his production has been a boon.

Ariel attack: The Huskies’ most consistent player this season has been junior quarterback Tanner Scanlan. Even when opponents have loaded up the box, he’s found ways to get over it. He was 8 of 17 passing for 78 yards in last week’s 27-7 loss to No. 2-ranked Philomath.

Yamhill-Carlton at No. 4 Cascade, 7 p.m. Thursday

Itching for a win: The Cougars (4-1, 1-1) haven’t won a game on the field since Sept. 18. After a loss to Philomath the team was ready to get some momentum going again against Newport, but a win by forfeit changed that. Winless Yamhill-Carlton (0-5, 0-2) shouldn’t pose much of a challenge for Cascade.

West Salem QB suspended over snap flap

West Valley League

Game of the week

Santiam Christian at Taft, 7 p.m. Thursday

Fallen from their perch: The Eagles (4-1, 2-0) were brought down to earth in last week’s 45-14 loss to Cascade Christian and dropped to No. 3 from No. 1 in the OSAA’s power rankings in the loss. Santiam Christian still has one of the top quarterbacks in the state in senior Daniel Hendrix – who as 8 of 23 passing for 119 yards and two touchdowns – and will need everything he can contribute to take the league lead from Taft.

High flyers: Taft (3-2, 3-0) is soaring under the mighty arm of junior quarterback Everett Thomas, who has passed for 1,202 yards and 12 touchdowns by completing 58 percent of his passes. But he and the rest of the Tigers are vulnerable. Thomas has been intercepted 10 times this season and Santiam Christian has been adept at changing turnovers into points.

Dayton at Willamina, 7 p.m. Thursday

Posing a threat: Dayton’s defense has been tough all year, but they will get a challenge against the Bulldogs and sophomore Brad Milton. He has passed for 757 yards and six touchdowns by completing 65 percent (61 of 94) of his passes this season and has the potential to challenge the Pirates’ athletic secondary.

Amity at Horizon Christian, 7 p.m. Friday

Going again: In the past few years the Hawks have been league championship contenders, but a forfeit for not having enough players against Salem Academy earlier this season wasn’t a good sign. A 40-24 win against Willamina last week was a good sign. The Warriors (2-3, 1-1) need to get something going, but this game will be a challenge.

Blanchet quarterback R.J. Veil hands the ball off to Denver Bogat during their game with Scio on Sept. 18.

Blanchet quarterback R.J. Veil hands the ball off to Denver Bogat during their game with Scio on Sept. 18.

PacWest Conference

Game of the week

Salem Academy at Jefferson, 7 p.m. Friday

Receiving corps: Salem Academy (4-1, 2-1) has put together a passing game that few can rival this season. Receivers including junior Skyler Williams (18 receptions for 310 yards and six touchdowns), junior Rylan Stamback (11 receptions for 321 yards and three touchdowns), senior Kaleb Carmony (13 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns) and Wilson McLean (13 receptions for 179 yards and four touchdowns) has been hard to stop.

Slow start: The Lions (1-4, 1-2) dropped a 48-6 loss to Blanchet last week for their second loss in a row. Jefferson has been inconsistent this season and a mighty Salem Academy team will be as difficult as any the team has faced.

Chemawa at Gervais, 7 p.m. Thursday

A mathematical problem: The Braves are 0-3 overall, 0-2 in the PacWest and have yet to score a point this season, yet Chemawa is still No. 21 in the OSAA power rankings. Gervais is 0-5 overall, 0-2 in the PacWest and has been shut out in its past two games, but is No. 32 of 32 Class 3A teams.

Scio at Colton, 7 p.m. Friday

Playoff implications: Yes, Scio is 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the OSAA’s power rankings behind a monster rushing attack that averages a staggering 575 yards per game. But at 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the PacWest, Colton is a legitimate playoff contender with the potential to upset any team that overlooks it.

Lakeview at Blanchet, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: McCulloch Stadium

Finally really home: This is the first game of the season for Blanchet (4-1, 2-1) at usual home field at McCulloch Stadium, though the Cavaliers did defeat Jefferson 48-6 at Blanchet last week in what was their first home game. Blanchet hosts two more games at McCulloch this season.

Tri-River Conference

Game of the week

No. 9 Regis at No. 1 Kennedy, 7 p.m. Thursday

Battle of No. 1s: Kennedy (5-0, 1-0) is No. 1 in the coaches poll; Regis (3-2, 1-0) is No. 1 in the OSAA power rankings. But which team wins this game will be No. 1 in the Tri-River.

Up-and-down Rams: Regis has yet to win two games in a row this season. Regis quarterback Bryce Piete passed for 243 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 48-8 win against St. Paul and held the Buckaroos to 131 yards.

Monster rushing effort: Kennedy has proven that it has one of the best offensive lines in Class 2A. The Trojans rushed for 238 yards in Friday’s 38-8 win against Santiam, including 129 and three touchdowns by junior running back Bishop Mitchell.

No. 5 Central Linn at Santiam, 7 p.m. Friday

Losing streak: A Santiam (3-2, 0-1) team that was a surprise 3-0 to start the season has now lost two straight, including last week’s 38-8 defeat against Kennedy. It doesn’t get any easier against a Central Linn team that is 5-0 and was the co-league champion a year ago.

Class 1A

Game of the week

Siletz Valley at Falls City, 7 p.m. Friday

Still a glimmer: The Mountaineers (1-4, 1-0 1A Special District 3) didn’t start the season well, but a 44-22 win against Mapleton on Friday showed the team may be a state playoff contender after all. Running back Zach Weems rushed for four touchdowns in the win.

A tough route: The closest route between the schools is 41.7 miles over the coast range, but Google maps says that route takes one hour and 47 minutes. The route down highway 223 to highway 20 is 69 miles, but takes one hour and 19 minutes.

No. 2 Perrydale at Ione, 6 p.m. Thursday

An emerging star: Last year running back Kennan Bailey was mostly an unknown. It’s safe to say the senior is now well-regarded. After rushing for over 300 yards against Dufur, he rushed for three touchdowns in last week’s 80-12 win against South Wasco County.

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