# 6 Jesuit (9-3) vs # 2 Lake Oswego (12-0)
KEY WINS/LOSSES: Jesuit- Wins (#5 Central Catholic, #3 Tigard) Losses (#1 Sheldon, #2 Lake Oswego, #10 Southridge)
Lake Oswego- Wins (#5 Central Catholic, #1 Skyline WA 4a, #6 Jesuit, #7 Roseburg)
POINT SPREAD: LO -4
PREDICTION: Lake Oswego 31 Jesuit 27
Analysis: I don’t see how this game isn’t close. Jesuit is playing there best football of the year and they are healthy. Lake O is one of the top teams in the country with a #42 ranking. The Lakers run defense is one of the best in the state so you know the number one focus will be to stop the Jesuit run. Lately the Crusader O line, that averages 6-5 270 across the board, hasn’t made it a secret that they are going to run…a lot! AJ Glass has gone for over 2000 yards and 25+ Tds sharing the load with talented senior back up Morgan Sellers. Junior lineman Max Rich and Andrew Kirkland were both recently invited to the Army All American Combine in San Antonio.
With a successful run game early it opens up the pass for Jesuit. If they can’t get it going they will be in serious trouble. Adam Winterling may be the best WR in the state, recently being ranked by ESPN the #6 recruit in the entire state. Winterling should get the ball when in single coverage, as he’s big and athletic and can dominate 1 on 1. Nick Rothstein is the X Factor, If he plays well the Crusaders have a legit shot, if not its over. The defensive leader has to play lights out on both sides of the ball. He must be mistake free on offense and hit his passes, and also make sure Long doesn’t get loose. This is the game Rocky has been waiting for.
Lake O will continue to do the same thing they have been doing. The smack down they delivered to Roseburg on their home field was impressive. Alex Matthews has managed football games better then any QB in the state and is one of the top players in the Northwest without an offer. Stevie Coury is statistically the best WR in the state and no one has been able to guard him. He took Jesuit for 4 Tds earlier in the year. Zach Walen and Mitch Lomax have been completely shutting down offenses from their linebacker spots, and that is where the game will be won or lost.
The Undersized Lake O D line has been phenomenal (T.Young, Rufai, Faunce, K.Peterson, Royster). If the Lake O backers and D line can stop the Jesuit run they will be looking good. So far they have had shown no signs of weakness.
# 5 Central Catholic (10-2) vs #1 Sheldon (12-0)
KEY WINS/LOSSES: Central Catholic- Wins ( Canby, Thurston, Oregon City???) Losses- (#2 Lake Oswego, #6 Jesuit)
Sheldon- Wins (#6 Jesuit, #4 S.Medford, #7 Roseburg, #9 Grant)
POINT SPREAD: -14 1/2
PREDICTION: Sheldon 34 Central Catholic 20
Analysis: Sheldon is one of the top teams in the country currently sitting with a #22 ranking. They have won three state titles in the last decade and average 6-4 across the board on their line. They are averaging a 49-8 win each game and have shown very few signs of weakness. QB Dillon Miller is 23-1 as a starter over the last two seasons and has thrown 76 Tds for over 6500 yards. To say he is comfortable would be accurate.
All everything athlete Connor Strahm has accounted for 27 Tds and leads the state in interceptions. He was named offensive player of the year for the conference and been the most impressive kid in Oregon. His 13 Tds in the last 4 games have dictated the outcome, so you can bet Junior D1 commit (BYU) Dallin Leavitt will be all up in Connor’s grill Saturday evening. This will be one of a few D1 match ups to pay attention too. Both Strahm and Leavitt were named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year on the NEI All Underclassmen Team. Leavitt is just coming back from an injury, so we will see if that effects his play. He will always let you know where he’s at so it won’t be in question.
Some of the top matchups will come from the line as it looks more like a college roster. Oregon Commit Alex Balducci, and PSU Commit Jake Nall will try to break the chemistry of an offensive line from Sheldon that is fundamentally as sound as any we have ever seen. The Irish passing attack has been ruthless and no one has come close to stopping it. That said the Rams have 4 D1-D1aa projected DB’s who are still young. (T.Collier Sr, Leavitt Jr, Duronslet Jr, Wilder So- if he plays D).
The Rams have an up hill battle as they play in an extremely weak conference and haven’t beaten a ranked team this year. The last time they advanced to a state title game was 58 ago. That said the lineup they have is ridiculously talented with college athletes everywhere. The big question will be if the Rams can get any offense going. Hayward Demison has run for over 200 yards in all three playoff games and that will not be happening this week. Dawson Housley, Sam McCaskill, and Kameron Canaday have treated ball carriers like yesterdays news. No one has run on them all year. In the end CC has the talent to beat anyone, but I just don’t see anyone having a legit shot other then LO.
NEI was the only AP voter out of 14 to give Sheldon a first place vote to start the year so we will stick with the Irish.
5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
# 3 Mountain View (11-1) vs #2 Sherwood (13-0)
KEY WINS/ LOSSES: Mt View- Wins (#1 Marist, #7 Lebanon) Losses (#2 Sherwood)
Sherwood- Wins ( # 1-2 Skyview WA 4A, Wilsonville #4, #5 West Albany,)
POINT SPREAD: Sherwood -7
PREDICTION: Mt View 28 Sherwood 27
Analysis: Its tough to beat anyone 3 times in a row especially when they are good. That is the task that Sherwood has ahead of them going into Saturday’s State title game. Mountain View is (22-2) over the last two seasons with both losses coming to the Bowmen. They beat up on #1 ranked Marist last week raising eyebrows all across the state. The Cougars are healthy and have one of the top perimeters at any classification level. Oregon St commit Joel Skotte leads a defense that has shut people down, and when you look at Mt View you see a lot of speed and size (Skotte 6-3 225, Jacob Hollister 6-3 200 QB/FS, Cody Hollister 6-3 195 WR/FS, John Carroll 6-4 190 (Jr) WR/S/LB, Nick Gentry 6-3 230 TE/DL, and co Defensive Player of the Year Dimitre Dillard 5-9 180 RB/CB.
Marist would admit that Mt View was much more physical and athletic then anyone they had seen all year long. They have really put things together and are looking for their first state title in school history.
Sherwood has been dominant and beaten a Washington team that may win a state championship this weekend in Skyview. Sherwood’s system is difficult for anyone to stop without seeing it a few times, but fortunately for Mt View they have. The Bowmen have had 16 different people score on the season which is a testament to how much talent they have. That said they have shown some vulnerability with close wins against Wilsonville 28-23, and Ashland 14-3. Last weeks beat down of West Albany wasn’t a shock, but it reaffirmed how talented they were.
This will be an epic game with two communities who are extremely supportive of their athletes. The defending state champions from Sherwood are on a 26 game win streak and will be very tough to beat, but Mt View has the athletes to win this ball game. I will take Mt views athletes by a point over Sherwood’s system.
NEI had Mt View ranked #1 at the beginning of the year so we will go with that.