By Jeremy McDonald
So I approached this was solely focusing on preseason/non-league games going through the first four weeks of the season (September) in the general Greater Salem-area. Some schools like Sheridan and Amity I included since I cover them ever so often to the best of my abilities.
I did a ‘Good Travel To See Game’, a simple Friday night drive or in a rare incident it may be a overnight trip if you want to make a little weekend trip out of it who knows. With the Mid-Willamette Conference (Silverton, Central, North Salem, McKay for football), that is it’s own category.
This does not mean I’ve decided where I’m going to yet, we’re still a month away and I like to stay as fluid as possible until week of like I normally would do and this is all opinion-based and I tried to make it my own off an idea I got from reading a fellow writer’s similar piece from California.
I do know I might have left off a game or two along the way so my apologies.
So here it is:
Week 1- Cottage Grove at Cascade. The Cougars narrowly lost to the Lions in Cottage Grove to start last season as their running game help hand them a 19-15 lead late in the game. With a new offensive system in place for Cascade, the Cougars are looking to snap their two-game skid against Cottage Grove to kick off the 2019 season in Turner.
Other good games locally (Greater Salem-Area): Molalla at Scio. Lake Oswego at West Salem. St. Mary’s at Amity.
Good Travel To See Games: South Salem at Newberg. Sheridan at Monroe.
Mid-Willamette Conference Game: Silverton at Central
Week 2- West Linn At McNary. With West Linn’s Chris Miller leaving after this season to go the revived XFL, West Linn will still be a force to be reckoning with in 6A under his guidance regardless how many more years he has left. McNary, who has the firepower on offense with Erik Barker and Junior Walling as pieces to lead the offense plus Walling and Dyamni Rios in the linebacking core, the Celtics match up well with the Lions entering the second week of the season.
Other good games locally: Dufur at St. Paul (1A State Finals Rematch). Junction City at Woodburn. Umatilla at Salem Academy.
Good Travel To See Games: West Salem at Bend (non-league). Sprague at Sherwood.
Mid-Willamette Conference Game: Lebanon at Dallas.
Week 3- 1A Salem Academy at Amity. It’s a match-up between the high-tempo offense that first-year Head Coach Jed Leeper wants to run versus the Wing-T and 33 that the Warriors are well-known to run. Amity quickly scored in raised havoc on the Crusaders in 2018, but with a new scheme and coaches at Salem Academy, it may be a much closer game than the 47-7 game that it was last season.
1B Central Linn at Chemawa. Chemawa, who starts school when most teams kick off their season, will host their season and home opener Week 3 on campus when Central Linn comes to town. The Braves scored their first Varsity points in two years against the Cobras last season, making the game interesting late in the match-up.
Other Good Games Locally: Tualatin at McNary. Grant at West Salem. North Marion at Cascade. Glendale at Perrydale
Good Travel To See Games: Jefferson at Coquille. Willamina at Yamhill-Carlton. Blanchet Catholic at Riverside.
Mid-Willamette Conference Game: North Salem at Dallas
Week 4- West Salem at Sheldon. The tough preseason schedule for the Titans continue with Sheldon, and though the Irish lost Michael Johnson Jr. and Patrick Herbert to graduation from their 6A State Runner-Up apperence last season, Sheldon will still be on the forefront of the 6A landscape for the title with the Jesuits, Lake O’s and Central Catholics this season. The Irish will be the Titans fourth playoff team in four weeks and they close out their preseason slate with Beaverton the next week, their fifth straight playoff opponent, before kicking off League Week 6.
Other Good Games Locally: Coquille at Amity. Scio at Regis.
Mid-Willamette Conference Game: Lebanon at McKay