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By René Ferrán 

Here is a look at the top high school football games across Oregon this week (Oct. 6-8).  

Photo by Leon Neuschwander  

Thursday 

Nelson (3-1, 2-1 Mt. Hood) at Barlow (3-2, 3-0), 7 p.m.

The Hawks might be a year ahead of schedule, but here they are, sitting No. 11 in the OSAA rankings with four weeks left. A win over the Bruins, who sit tied atop the MHC standings, could help propel Nelson to a spot in the 6A championship bracket.

South Albany (4-1, 4-1 Mid-Willamette) at West Albany (2-2, 2-2), 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs have won 16 in a row over their crosstown rivals, but this year’s matchup takes on added significance. West Albany hasn’t lost three in a row since 2017, while the RedHawks haven’t been 5-1 since 2008. Something will have to give.

Thurston (3-2, 3-0 Midwestern) at Eagle Point (4-1, 3-0), 7 p.m.

Can the Colts find a way to slow down Eagles running back David Brown, who’s averaging more than 200 yards per game this season? If not, Eagle Point could notch its first win over Thurston since the 1995 playoffs and seize control of the league title race.

Yamhill-Carlton (4-1, 3-0 Coastal Range) at North Marion (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m.

The Tigers can’t afford to overlook the Huskies with next week’s showdown with unbeaten Banks looming. Yamhill-Carlton will try to slow down senior running back Marcus Ledesma, who has rushed for 601 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Friday 

Grant (3-2, 3-0 PIL) at Franklin (4-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.

Franklin hasn’t won the PIL title outright since 1996, but if the Lightning can keep their high-octane offense revving against a Generals defense that has allowed one touchdown in its past two games, they’ll be well on their way to ending that drought.

Jesuit (4-1, 1-0 Metro) at Westview (1-4, 0-1), 7 p.m.

The Crusaders are well-known for their power running game, but this week, they’ll go up against one of the best running backs in the state in Wildcats senior Jordan Fisher, who last week became the school’s all-time leading rusher.

McMinnville (3-2, 1-0 Pacific) at Sherwood (3-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.

The schools are separated by 22 miles of Highway 99W, but until the Bowmen moved up to 6A four years ago, they’d met only once (in 1942). Sherwood is 5-0 against the Grizzlies, who bring the top scoring defense in the conference to this matchup.

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South Medford (5-0, 3-0 SD1) at Sheldon (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.

A year ago, the Panthers were in the midst of a two-win season, their fewest since 1999. Now, they travel up Interstate 5 to tackle SBLive Oregon’s top-ranked 6A team in a massive Special District 1 matchup. Can the Irish bottle up South Medford big-play receiver Andrew Walker (28 catches for 505 yards and seven touchdowns)?

West Linn (4-1, 1-0 Three Rivers) at Tualatin (5-0, 1-0), 7 p.m.

Our pick for the best game of the 2022 season hasn’t lost any of its luster through five weeks. The star power in this game is unrivaled by any other matchup statewide, and the winner gets a leg up in the league title chase — although Tigard (5-0 and playing Lakeridge this week) could have a lot to say about the matter.

Bend (5-0, 1-0 Intermountain) at Summit (4-1, 1-0), 7 p.m.

The potential game of the year so far in 5A matches two Central Oregon heavyweights who boast fearsome defenses. The Storm look to stop the Lava Bears’ run-heavy attack (more than 284 yards per game, 24 touchdowns), while Bend hopes to slow a balanced offense led by senior quarterback Hogan Carmichael. 

Tillamook (3-2, 1-0 Cowapa) at St. Helens (3-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.

The Lions struggled the past three seasons as a 5A school (4-17), but they’ve nearly matched their three-year win total this season since dropping to 4A. They’ll play host to the Cheesemakers in their biggest game since they last made the playoffs six years ago.

Pendleton (4-1, 1-0 Greater Oregon) at Crook County (3-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.

Both teams notched convincing wins to open league play last week and look to keep the momentum going as they renew acquaintances after the old Intermountain Conference broke up in 2009.

Monroe (4-1, 3-0 Valley Coast) at Lowell (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.

The Dragons have found the fountain of Young — junior Nate Young, the brother of the state’s fourth-leading all-time rusher, Zach Young (7,253 yards from 2016-19), who has run for 1,113 yards and 13 touchdowns through five games. Can the Red Devils find the formula to slow him down?

Regis (4-1, 1-1 Tri-River) at Culver (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m.

Both teams look to maintain contact with conference leader Colton as they enter the season’s final month. The Rams are led by junior Kollin Schumacher, who has shined in first-year coach Alex King’s spread attack, throwing for 1,141 yards and 18 touchdowns as a first-time quarterback in an offense that has averaged 46.6 points per game.

Weston-McEwen (3-1, 1-1 Blue Mountain) at Heppner (3-2, 2-0), 7 p.m.

The Mustangs have struggled outside the conference, but they’re still the king of the Blue Mountain until someone can end their 23-game win streak against BMC foes. They’ve won 11 in a row against the TigerScots, including a 40-0 playoff victory last fall, and have posted four consecutive shutouts in the series.

Adrian (4-1, 3-0 1A SD2-East) at Elgin (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m.

The Huskies have matched their win total from last season, when they had to forfeit their matchup against the Antelopes, who have bounced back from a Week 1 loss to Lost River and worked their way back atop the division standings.

Our complete high school football preview:

Breaking down every 6A, 5A, 4A team in the state

Complete Week 5 recap:

Top stars, best games, biggest wins