Lions can beat Spartans on Friday for first time as Northwest Oregon Conference rivals

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Junior tight end Jacob Klein (42), senior linebacker Dylan Kessinger (4) and the Lions can banish Hillsboro to its first 0-5 overall start since it went winless in Class 6A in 2011 and 2012.PHOTO CREDIT: ALYSON BLASIER - Lions senior wide receiver Hayden Laughlin (15) joins senior lineman Dylan Lobby (56) and his teammates pregame for the announcement of lineups at Doc Ackerson Stadium in St. Helens.

The Spartans are winless since last year's Class 5A first-round loss at Lebanon, and the Lions hope to keep it that way.

St. Helens (0-4 overall for the first time since 2014 and 0-2 in the Northwest Oregon Conference) is scheduled to play at Hillsboro (0-4, 0-2 after starting 0-3, 0-1 in last year's Class 5A first-round playoff run) at 7 p.m. Friday at Hare Field.

"We have fixed the mental problems we have been having, making the right blocks and blocking past the whistle," Lions senior running back, linebacker and captain Cody Leanna said. "Don't count us out yet: We are still in this, and there is still plenty more season left for the Lions to show off who we are as a team."

The Spartans teeter on the edge of their first 0-5 start since they went winless in Class 6A in 2011 and 2012, but have won all three conference games against the Lions by an average of 41-27 after sealing a 28-27 overtime win last year at Doc Ackerson Stadium in St. Helens.

"I look forward to cleaning up the little things that have plagued us this season," Lions senior quarterback Chase Parkhurst said. "We are so close on so many plays to breaking one to the end zone, and this game is a really good opportunity for us to showcase our progress."

Hillsboro's all-conference senior wide receiver-turned quarterback Curran Mitzel (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) is the only one of 15 such talents back as he helps the Spartans score an average of 15 points against 50 allowed per game through four weeks.

St. Helens, similarly, puts up eight points and gives up 52.

Hillsboro fell 52-7 at home to Class 6A Liberty in their opener, then gave up a 53-6 loss at Class 6A Barlow, a 52-14 defeat to Wilsonville at Hare Field and found themselves on the short end of a 41-31 loss at No. 4 La Salle Prep in Milwaukie on Friday, Sept. 22.

The Spartans are on the up-and-up, however, as they scored on five of their first seven drives but could not hang onto a second-quarter 31-13 lead over the Falcons last week.


WHERE: Hare Field

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

INTO THE WIN COLUMN: The winner will hope to keep pace with No. 5 Sandy, fourth-ranked La Salle Prep and Wilsonville in the Northwest Oregon Conference

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