HS Blitz Preview: It's early, but we have some top matchups on tap
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 is Rossy's look ahead at the final week of HS Blitz!
It's good to be back talking football. And after three decades of dodging big boys on the sideline, hamming it up with the home crowd and beating traffic to bring back the best video we like to think we're real good at what we do. But you know that, because you're here on the top web site, playing along very nicely.
2013 is opening with a bang as we begin another season of the High School Blitz! That bang is the collision of some elite teams for the season opening kickoff. September has become a month of playoff previews in the past few years under the current format and this year is no exception. But I like to give you games that will propel you out of the house and into the exciting and nostalgic, for some, environment of Friday football.
Example No. 1: Do you get fired up over the Oregon vs. Washington rivalry? Well, how about a match between the 2012-13's best 4A athletic program in Washington against the best 6A athletic program in Oregon? Friday night at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, be in one of the 4,000 or so seats for a great contest between the home team, the Camas Papermakers, and the Jesuit Crusaders. Both teams were semifinalists last year and return enough big boys to be rated preseason #1s in their respective states. You'll see top talent on both sides of the ball, premier coaching, young guys who will play to the whistle - well, doesn't get better than that.
Example No. 2: Defending 2012 5A champion, the Sherwood Bowman, preseason #1, host the West Albany Bulldogs, ranked #4, in a compelling game that could have a sequel in November. The Bowman have a deep senior core of more than 30 that can run the wing system that Coach Greg Lawrence has perfected and ridden to finals games five different times, winning 2 of the last 3. West has an experienced group led by Jake LaCoste, a prolific running back who can score every time he gets a touch. Here's a hint - the scoreboard guy will be busy.
Example No. 3: A matchup of two schools that have each played deep into the playoffs for eight consecutive years, sometimes versus each other. Southridge travels to Tualatin for their second games of the season. The Skyhawks got handled by defending champ Sheldon at home last week and Tualatin came from behind on the road at Crater. It is tough to pick this game because Southridge returns many skill players and a good line, they will contend in the Metro, and Tualatin had some holes to fill. You have to consider that both schools have a deep pool of talent to draw from and will be playoff teams in November.
Our opening "Game of the Week" takes us into 5A territory, a meeting between the visiting Franklin Quakers and the Milwaukie Mustangs. The Quakers of the PIL were competitive but unlucky last season, but look to take advantage of lessons learned and make a run in league. The Mustangs had some success in 2012 with some transfers and a good offense - a good base for new coach Jeff Thomas, last year's OC, to work with. Our ace road crew, led by Nate Bynum and Tim Hurtt, will go live each week with the game winners as they celebrate on live TV.
Those are the headliners but there are many entertaining games to check on. Centennial lost on the road to McMinnville and needs to break loose AJ Weinke and clean up some penalties to have a chance at Lakeridge, where Coach Tom Smythe has what he likes. A real good QB in Eric Dungey and a playmaker at RB in Holden Catlett, who averaged 22 yards per carry against Reynolds. The Eagles face a tough challenge at Pacer field and hope their veer offense surprises the home team.
Oregon City won at Gresham in week one. Now they face the Crater Comets, who will travel five hours up I-5 to meet the Pioneers at Old Pioneer Memorial stadium. The Pio's figure to be a contender in the tough Three Rivers and need a home win to make that happen.
From Salem, two teams who opened with losses at home meet at South Salem's cozy little field. David Douglas vs. South is a match of two teams with a history of late season success and the winner gets a leg up on continuing that trend. Glencoe lost on the road to Dallas and goes on the road again to play North Salem. Middle of the pack teams in 2012, the Tide and Vikings need an infusion of youngsters to jump up, but that's why we watch. This could be a breakout game and we'll have the highlights for you.
A 6A versus 5A match takes place at Lincoln's turf field when Grant hosts Marist of Eugene. The Generals were a speed bump for Central Catholic last week but have the athletes to compete with Marist, who are in their second season at 5A after dominating 4A for a decade. This is an interesting match when you consider that 2014 realignment will probably put these two teams at the same level as the entire PIL gets a makeover.
From SW Washington's Greater St Helens league at 4A, two teams who are looking to knock off Camas and Skyline and make the playoffs - Columbia River meets Heritage at McKenzie Stadium. Both are relatively young teams are awaiting their playmakers to step forward and put on a show. It's just what we're looking for, too.
For those who are going to the games and want to share your fun on The Blitz, send in your smartphone pictures to us at hashtag #K2Blitz and our crack producers will plug you in for all the world to see. Send us big smiles and happy faces to add some flavor to our heady brew of highlights.
There you have it - get out and see a game then hit the living room for The Blitz! We're live at 11:30 p.m. after the award winning KATU news and brimming with action and excitement. See you from the sideline.