This time next week, high school football teams will be buckling their chinstraps, lacing up their cleats and will have a dress rehearsal against other teams in their respective jamborees.
The week after that, the games will actually count for something.
Let’s just say, I’m ready for some football.
While coaches and players, smartly, will preach “one game at a time” with their approach to the season, it doesn’t make for good conversations ….
Luckily, I don’t have to follow that approach anymore. With the season kicking off in just a few short weeks, here are four (actually seven) games I have on my calendar this fall.
For the players and coaches who will be competing Friday nights, consider the next 500-plus words as the Terms and Conditions for iTunes or anything like that.
Any game that features teams from the same town
n Klamath Union at Henley, Friday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.
n Mazama at Klamath Union: Friday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
n Henley at Mazama: Friday, Oct. 25
n Triad at Hosanna Christian: Friday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.
I feel like there should be some sort of traveling trophy that is passed around from school to school for the football team from Klamath Falls that finishes with the most wins against the other teams in town. You see this all the time in college football.
Perhaps that will happen at some point.
Since 2014, Mazama has dominated on the gridiron against other Klamath Falls teams, winning 10 of the 11 matchups against Henley and Klamath Union. The Vikings lone loss came in 2017 against Hornets, who won 22-21. However, Mazama would get the last laugh that season, avenging the earlier season loss with a 50-0 beatdown in the state quarterfinals.
The last team to hoist this imaginary trophy was Klamath Union in 2013 when the Pelicans beat both Mazama (35-14) and Henley (27-14) en route to a playoff appearance.
No, we haven’t forgotten 8-man football. Triad and Hosanna Christian square off in the final week of September.
In the seven matchups leading up to this season, Hosanna holds a 4-3 advantage, including the 36-34 win in the state semifinals in 2017.
Hosanna Christian has been the force as of late, winning four of the previous five matchups.
Lost River at Lakeview
The Honkers squeaked out with a one-point win over the Raiders in 2018, winning 13-12. While the Raiders would go on to win their next six games and come within a touchdown of advancing to the state title game against the would-be champs Kennedy in the state semifinals, Lakeview would be the team that won the district title over Lost River.
This has the ingredients of a nice revenge game.
Chiloquin at Bonanza
n Friday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.
It’s always nice when the OSAA gets something right. Moving Bonanza down to compete against 1A teams and play 8-man football was a smart move. From 2013 through 2017 seasons, the Antlers went 4-20, played a year against JV teams and an independent schedule. In 2018, the year of the move, the Antlers won six games and made it to the first round of the playoffs.
If 2019 is anything like 2018, the matchup against Chiloquin should be exciting, that is, if you like offense and lots and lots of scoring. The Antlers and the Panthers combined for 93 points in their 2018 matchup, with Bonanza winning 53-40. Could this game reach triple digits?
Mazama vs. Del Norte (Calif.)
n Friday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.
A year ago, Del Norte handed the Mazama Vikings a 21-point loss, the largest non-league loss in the Vic Lease Era. Del Norte would go on to win nine games and advance to the Division-4 semifinals
At the time of last year’s game, Souther Oregon was blanketed with smoke, causing Mazama to cancel a game leading up to that matchup. It was also the only regular-season loss for the Vikings.