Bruins fired up for semifinal showdown
Barlow's football team takes on a familiar foe in Friday's 12 p.m. semifinal game at Hillsboro Stadium where No. 4-seed Central Catholic awaits.
It marks only the third time that Mount Hood Conference teams have clashed this late into the playoffs.
"Central Catholic runs a great football program with some of the best talent, but if you want to play in a state title game this is the type of team you have to beat," Barlow coach Terry Summerfield said.
The teams met in late October with Central coming away with a 53-14 win that was decided in the first quarter.
"We need to play cleaner football," Summerfield said. "Four minutes into that game, we had a short punt, an interception and a high snap. We gave them 21 points immediately, and we can't be doing that."
Barlow has reason to expect a different style of game this time around after having three starters out with injury in the first matchup — that includes two-way all-league player Josh Nomie and left tackle Jesse Wilson, who has been playing with a cast protecting his left arm.
"Those guys have made a huge impact on what we are doing since they came back," Summerfield said.
Meanwhile, the injury bug hit Central Catholic last week when all-league offensive linemen Andrew Gross was taken off the field on a stretcher with what appears to be a leg injury.
"We want to take care of ourselves and do what we do well," Summerfield said. "We are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence."
This playoff push hasn't only been a magical ride for the players suiting up each game day, but also a Bruins' coaching staff that features eight of Summerfield's past players.
"We have coaches who have put in a lot of time and preparation," Summerfield said. "It's not about yelling and screaming. These guys are great with the kids, and it's all about how can we get better."
The extended season means a busy week of practices during Thanksgiving week, which includes a walk-through on Thanksgiving morning, as a way to help the players adjust their body clocks for the early Noon kickoff.
Amalfi's, one of numerous area restaurants which has sponsored team dinners this season, is putting on a Thanksgiving feast for the players and coaches following Wednesday's practice.
Times that two Mount Hood Conference teams have reached the semifinals in the same season. That includes Barlow and Central Catholic, who will square off at Noon on Friday at Hillsboro Stadium. The other duos to advance this far were Clackamas and Central Catholic in 2016, along with David Douglas and Reynolds in 1965.
Years since Barlow's only other push to the big-school semifinals. The Bruins fell to eventual-champion Ashland 46-14 in 1991.
Passing yards for Barlow QB Jaren Hunter over three playoff games. He has completed 49-for-73 (67.1%) of his throws with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also rushed for 237 yards and three scores.
Previous trips to the semifinals by East County schools — the last to do so being Centennial in 1993. Here is an all-time list of those results ...
'93 — Ashland 42, Centennial 26
'91 — Ashland 46, Barlow 14
'89 — Roseburg 42, Gresham 20
'88 — Benson 21, Gresham 14
'82 — *Gresham 10, Medford 7
'72 — *Centennial 31, Hillsboro 28
'68 — Marshfield 16, David Douglas 14
'65 — *David Douglas 19, Grants Pass 7
'65 — Reynolds 20, Pendleton 0
'60 — David Douglas 20, Medford 14
'59 — Jefferson 33, David Douglas 0
'55 — Gresham 6, Jefferson 0
'48 — Jefferson 20, Gresham 6
'44 — Medford 6, Gresham 0
* state champion
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