HS Blitz Week 11: It's win or go home in the playoffs

Each week during high school football season KATU sports photographer Mike "Rossy" Rosborough previews the upcoming action on High School Blitz, which airs Friday nights at 11:35 p.m. Here's Rossy's look ahead at the final week of HS Blitz!

We've reached the 11th edition of this season's Blitz package and it's been one of our better rides, speaking as one who has ridden all 28. One of the benefits of this year's competition is that we have one, that is, we have no clear cut favorite in any bracket and the battles for the trophy will be entertaining.

With that in mind, our last program for 2012 features 10 games from the 6A and 5A fields that should give you a good look at the top contenders.

Our "Game of the Week" is a rematch from September of two schools that are old rivals now in different leagues - Canby at Tigard. The Tigers (9-1) won the first game handily but the Cougars (6-4) were just getting to know each other in the season opener and have a four game winning streak with them on the bus. Tigard is a little dinged up (who isn't this time of year) and 502 points scored tells me the Tiger's Lair will be roaring Friday night. Join our GOW crew, led by Nate Bynum and the "Big Hurtt" as they go live with the winners and see their highlights and hear the cheers.

Sprague (9-1) has returned to the post season with a strong entry, matching a stout senior class with an offense that has averaged 41 points a game. Now they travel up I-5 to Tualatin (9-1) where they hang their hats on defense. The Timberwolves have allowed only 132 points so far and rediscovered their air game at the right time. This pretty even game should go to the wire.

Two hot teams meet at Southridge this week. The Skyhawks (7-3), winners of 6 straight, including a sweep of the state's top league, the Metro, look more than ready to host the Jaguars (8-2) of Century. The high scoring Jags, fresh off a squeaker win of a sloppy game, can't afford a single turnover against Southridge, let alone 6. With Reza Aleaziz giving them balance, the Skyhawks look poised for the finals.

West Salem will take a 9 game winning streak into their meeting with Aloha and get their first person look at Thomas Tyner, the #4 blur. At least that is what they will see, Tyner running away from the defense all night if they can't hold the edge of scrimmage or stop the passing option. The Titans have not seen anything like Tyner and I believe his will to win will prevail here. This kid is on a mission.

When you measure points scored against points against and get a negative number, your playoff future is not bright. I say this as Thurston (6-4) packs it's -35 on the bus to Jesuit (8-2) where the Crusaders number is +275. Need I say more? The Colts have a wet ride home to plan for next year.

Another obvious mis-match is at Hillsboro Stadium as Sunset (6-4) plays against host Central Catholic (8-2). The Apollos survived the Metro League with a tough defense and some skill players on offense but the Rams have that and more. Their talent pool is deep, large and fast and should overwhelm Sunset, with the caveat that they must play mistake free, their bugaboo for years.

South Medford (8-2) gets the five hour bus ride to Lake Oswego (10-0) for a rainy night in Lakerland where the host's balanced offense and suffocating defense speak well of their defense of the 6A championship. The Panthers knocked off Beaverton last week at home but the road will not be kind to them this night.

Looking at 5A, how about the best matchup of the bracket? West Albany (9-1) at Silverton (10-0), the second and first place teams from the Mid-Willamette respectively, met on September 9th in a classic battle won by the SilverFoxes 28 to 21. Expect more of the same as 5A's top rushing team meets the top defense (see 68 points in 10 games) once again at the Foxes great little stadium atmosphere. It's just a great venue hosting an entertaining game. I wish I were going to this one.

And the victor gets to meet the winner of Springfield (8-2) at Sherwood (10-0). The Miller's defense only surrendered 204 points so far but the Bowmen have scored an amazing 555 points. That's 55 a game as they look for their third consecutive trip to the 5A finals. The Millers haven't seen the wing-T offense yet this year and it's tough to pick up in a week. I've been looking forward to a Silverton vs Sherwood matchup all fall. Check in at 11:30 p.m. to see if I'm right.

4A has a game at Gladstone (9-1) and we're going to watch as North Bend (9-1) comes to town. They don't get more evenly matched than these two do, right down to the numbers across the board. For example North has scored 400 points to the Gladiators 393. Gladstone has been a second half team all season and probably will take this game down to the wire as well.

All kudos to our fun staff of sideline lensmen as we polish off another great year of highlight mania on the fastest 30 minutes in TV - The Blitz! Join us at 11:30 p.m. after the award winning KATU news! Hats off to Craig Birnbach for doing an energizing job of helming the show and the O-dog for managing the off camera madness. This is Rossy signing off until we meet again. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for watching!