It may be hard to believe, but the 2017 prep football regular season is already halfway over.
Five weeks are down and just four weeks remain for Oregon schools, which means that races for league championships and playoff spots are heating up. A few local 4A-1A teams are in the thick of postseason races that are bringing up some key games on Friday night.
Here is a quick look at Friday’s 4A-1A matchups:
ONTARIO (3-2) AT MAC-HI (3-1) — It’s been nearly five years since the Mac-Hi Pioneers last won a game inside Greater Oregon League action, dropping 13 straight since a 42-8 win over La Grande on Oct. 19, 2012.
The Pioneers will try to snap that streak on Friday night as they host the Ontario Tigers, a team that has dominated them in recent years. Ontario has won each of the past 10 meetings easily by an average score of 53-17, most recently a 53-0 shellacking in 2016. But this has the feel of a different Mac-Hi team, one that has reached the three-win mark for the first time since 2012.
Mac-Hi comes into the game off a bye week, having extra time to prepare for the Tigers who defeated Baker 48-20 last week. The Tigers have a solid offense, averaging 37.2 points per game, but have a susceptible defense that allows nearly 35 points per game.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Milton-Freewater.
RIVERSIDE (2-2, 0-1) AT UMATILLA (3-2, 0-1) — Riverside and Umatilla both had forgettable starts to their Eastern Oregon League slate last week, with Riverside getting blanked by Irrigon 50-0 and Umatilla getting pushed around by Burns 42-13.
Both teams will get a chance to right the ship this week as they renew the rivalry on Friday night. Umatilla has won eight of the past 11 meetings, including a 34-0 shutout in 2016. Riverside’s last win came in 2014 when the Pirates ran away with a 38-13 victory.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Umatilla High School.
VALE (2-3, 0-1) AT IRRIGON (3-1, 1-0) — Last season, Irrigon made the trip to Vale and nearly upset the league-champion Vikings but instead came home with a 34-28 defeat.
This year the Knights hope to return the favor as they host the Vikings. Irrigon is riding some momentum behind three consecutive wins, including last week’s 50-0 thumping over the Riverside Pirates. The Knights’ defense has been the team’s backbone, allowing 43 points in four games, an average of just 10.7. Meanwhile, Vale comes in off a 18-12 loss to rival Nyssa
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Irrigon High School.
WESTON-MCEWEN (1-3, 0-1) AT STANFIELD (1-3, 1-0) — With two playoff spots up for grabs in the Columbia Basin Conference and just three league games, each one is crucial in the four-team league. Stanfield has the leg up on Weston-McEwen heading into Friday’s meeting after last week’s 22-20 win over Culver, while the TigerScots were clobbered by Heppner 52-12.
Stanfield will try to get running backs Adrian Renner and Justin Keeney — who combined for 307 yards last week — free on a TigerScot defense that can struggle to consistently stop an opponents rushing attack. Meanwhile the TigerScot offense aims to re-establish its speed rush attack with quarterback Brett Speed and running back Jacob Speed against a Tigers defense that has also been inconsistent.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Horyna Athletic Complex.
POWDER VALLEY (1-3, 1-1) AT ECHO (3-2, 1-1) — After a strong start to 1A Special District 1 play in Week 4 against Pine Eagle, Echo had a setback last week as they lost in a shootout 88-68 to Wallowa.
The Cougars want to get back on track this week against a Powder Valley team fresh off its first win of the season. The Badgers took down Joseph at home 26-8 last week. It was the first time the Badgers offense had scored more than 12 points in a game, as they dropped the first three games of the season by a combined score of 144-30.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Echo.