Top high school football games to watch in Valley Zone in 2022
Newberg vs. Grant, Thursday, Sept. 1
The Tigers will open up their season with a stiff test in the reigning Portland Interscholastic League champions. Newberg will look to test a solid Grant offensive frontline with its tough defense, led by all-state caliber linebacker Hudson Davis. Last year, Newberg's season got started on a series of rough notes as the Tigers lost six straight games. It will be important for the Pacific Conference denizen to get a strong start to the season to determine which 6A postseason bracket they'll end up in.
North Marion vs. Harrisburg, Friday, Sept. 2
While still competing at 4A, North Marion's football team was hamstrung by injuries and a small roster. The Huskies were outscored 18-294 over the course of the season. Now playing down a classification North Marion will have a test against Harrisburg, a team that faced similar struggles in 2021. The Eagles went 1-7 as a team independent of a league. If North Marion wants to correct its trajectory from last season, there's no better place to start than against Harrisburg.
Canby vs. Oregon City, Thursday, Sept. 8
While Canby's football team has been competing at 5A since the 2021 spring season, the last win the Cougars got in the 6A Three Rivers League was against Oregon City 35-28 in 2019. Now three years later, Canby has established itself as a 5A playoff threat and will face off against a Pioneers team that finished last season 2-8 and on a six-game skid. Canby's offense figures to remain as potent as last year and will get an appropriate test against a former league adversary.
St. Paul vs. Santiam, Friday, Sept. 9
When St. Paul was competing as a 2A team in 2017, the Buckaroos ran up a 10-0 record to reach the state semifinals. It was there that Santiam ousted them from the postseason 23-22. This will be the first time the two teams have crossed paths since that postseason encounter, with 2A Santiam hosting the 1A juggernaut. St. Paul figures to get a stern test in the Wolverines, who went 6-3 last season and made it to the first round of the 2A playoffs.
Kennedy vs. Siuslaw, Friday, Sept. 9
Kennedy's first big test as a 3A football squad will come in the second week against reigning 3A state champion Siuslaw. The Vikings went 12-0 to win the state title. Meanwhile the Trojans, who elected to move up a classification to continue playing 11-man football, lost to Coquille in the 2A state championship game. Both teams figure to be power players at 3A, and this early season clash will help to sort out the power structure heading deeper in the year.
North Marion vs. Rainier, Friday, Sept. 16
North Marion's week three clash against Rainier will be against a team that went 10-2 in 2021, reaching the 3A state quarterfinals before dropping a 14-6 contest to Vale. Rainier is the reigning champion of Special District 1 East and has some all-state caliber players returning. The Huskies will have a real test on their hands to figure out how far they have come from last season.
St. Paul vs. Lost River, Saturday, Sept. 17
One of St. Paul's closest victories last year was week one against Lost River. At that point the Bucks won 36-24 in an afternoon contest on the road. After that defeat, Lost River rattled off 10 straight wins before falling to eventual state champions Adrian in the semifinals. St. Paul also made it to the semifinals, losing to Powder Valley in a rematch. Both St. Paul and Lost River will look to defeat the other to prep themselves for postseason action.
Colton vs. Regis
The Vikings put together a 4-4 record last year, marking the seventh time in the last nine seasons Colton has posted a .500 record or better. Colton has also routinely been a middle-of-the-road team in league play as well, posting 23-25 conference record since 2013. In the team's first league game of the year against Regis, the Vikings will have an opportunity to start its postseason quest with a win. Regis won't be easy, though; the Rams went 6-4 last season and beat Colton 42-14 en route to a playoff berth.
Kennedy vs. Dayton, Friday, Sept. 23
In its second league game at 3A, last year's 2A state finalists will face off against a top 10 3A squad last year. Dayton put together an 8-2 record and claimed the Special District 1 West league title. While the Pirates were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Santiam Christian, they still figure to pose a formidable test for the Trojans.
Molalla vs. Estacada, Friday, Sept. 30
The toughest test of Molalla's first five weeks comes against Estacada. While Molalla has no easy outs against the likes of La Grande and Stayton, the Rangers will be far and away the toughest out. Estacada reached the states semifinals last year, and defeated Molalla 25-14 along the way.
Woodburn vs. Gladstone, Friday, Sept. 30
Woodburn will continue to battle it out at 4A, moving from Special District 3 and the schools of the Oregon West Conference to the Special District 2 and the Tri-Valley Conference. One of the biggest tests in the new Special District will be Gladstone, a team that last year finished second behind Estacada with a 4-1 record. The Gladiators had a 5-5 overall record however, and a plus-minus of -76. If Woodburn wants to challenge Estacada for the league title, they'll have to go through Gladstone first.
Gervais vs. Culver, Friday, Sept. 30
Gervais has had a rough last nine years. Since 2013 the football team has collected a maximum of two wins on five separate occasions. Last season the Cougars went 0-9, with their highest-scoring performance coming against Culver in week six. Culver wound up winning 41-21. The Bulldogs have had similar struggles in recent years. Last year Culver went 1-11 between the spring and fall seasons. This clash between two programs trying to find the winning column will make for some interesting action.
Kennedy vs. Salem Academy, Friday, Oct. 7
The Trojans aren't the only team to move from 2A on up to 3A to compete in 11-man football. Salem Academy will tangle with its former 2A Special District 2 neighbor in week six. The Crusaders wound up being defeated 40-7 in that contest but finished the season 4-5 with a 3-3 league record.
Newberg vs. Sherwood, Thursday, Oct. 13
The Tigers tangle with last year's Pacific Conference champions in week seven. Sherwood went 7-5 over the course of the season, including a 5-0 league record and a trip to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. In last season's matchup between the two, Sherwood edged Newberg 23-17. If Newberg can stay healthy by the time they clash with the Bowmen, the matchup this time around figures to be one to watch for and likely one that will decided who wears the league crown this year.
Colton vs. Santiam, Thursday, Oct. 13
The Vikings' last home game of the regular season will be against Santiam in a Tri-River Conference clash. The Vikings were stifled by the Wolverines last season 20-6, snapping a two-game win streak.
Kennedy vs. Amity, Friday, Oct. 14
In 2021 Amity went to the 3A state playoffs after collecting a 4-1 league record. Kennedy will have a tough test ahead of them in week seven with the Warriors, who collected wins last season over Yamhill-Carlton, Philomath, and Willamina en route to their first round matchup against La Pine.
Canby vs. Putnam, Friday, Oct. 21
The eighth game scheduled for Canby will feature a new opponent in Putnam. The Cougars put together an 8-3 season and challenged Wilsonville for the Special District title, as well as making a push into the state quarterfinals. Putnam, meanwhile went 4-5, alternating wins and losses for the majority of the season. Canby is scheduled to face just three league foes in the course of the regular season, with Putnam being the last among them.
Molalla vs. Parkrose, Friday, Oct. 28
Molalla will face off against four 5A football squads playing down a classification in Milwaukie, Woodburn, La Salle Prep and Parkrose, with the latter being the regular season finale. The Broncos have struggled since the 2019 season that saw them reach the 5A quarterfinals against Crater. Molalla could take advantage of a sputtering program if it stays healthy and shows up on game night.
Woodburn vs. Estacada, Friday, Oct. 28
If the Bulldogs expect to lay claim to a Special District championship, they'll have to beat the ever-difficult Estacada Rangers to get there. The Bulldogs put together a 6-3 record last season but narrowly missed the playoffs. Estacada meanwhile punched its ticket to the semifinals after piling up 11 straight victories. This game will be pivotal in deciding where in the playoff bracket teams will end up.
St. Paul vs. Perrydale, Friday, Oct. 28
St. Paul will face off against rival Perrydale in the final regular season game of the season. The Pirates were a playoff team, but they were manhandled by the Bucks last season to a tune of 58-22. St. Paul was an elite offensive juggernaut last season, scoring more points over the course of the season than any other team playing 8-man football. This matchup will be important for both as they look to return to the postseason.
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