PENDLETON — When Scappoose football coach Sean McNabb saw the 5A state playoff pairings Saturday, he welcomed the chance to play Pendleton for the third time this season.
“There was always a potential for this,” McNabb said of the matchup. “I thought going to bed that it would be Silverton. I almost did a backflip when I saw Pendleton. We are on the road, but it feels like home. We know our locker room, we know the field and we know the lighting.”
Pendleton (6-2) and Scappoose (6-3) will meet for the third time this season at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Round-Up Grounds. The Bucks won the first two home contests 32-14 and 41-21 just last week.
“Beating a team twice is hard,” Pendleton coach Erik Davis said. “Beating a team three times in a year is uncharted territory. You lose, you are done. It will come down to who wants it most to continue their season. Scappoose has nothing to lose. I think they will throw everything but the kitchen sink at us.”
While the Indians have dropped four games in a row to the Bucks dating to last year, McNabb said they have time to fix the mistakes they had last week.
“Every team is 0-0 at this point,” McNabb said. “You win, you are in the round of eight. You lose, you are done. It comes down to mistakes. We had two turnovers and blown coverages last week. You have to make plays, and you can’t make mistakes.”
Davis said last week’s game, in which his team had to rally to win, was physical. He knows they are in for another battle.
“Scappoose is very big up front and that can wear you down,” Davis said. “If you keep a high pace and keep your offense on the field, you can wear them down.”
The Bucks have worked with a balanced offense this season, getting good production from their quarterbacks and their running backs.
“Zaanan (Bane) has been a wonderful surprise,” Davis said of his top back. “He is efficient with his carries. Nat Hunsaker is quick, and Kyle Liscom comes out of the slot. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands. You get those 1,000-yard rushers in a one-back system. I’m of the camp where you run a kid like that, you run the risk of injuries. We like to keep them fresh.”
The Indians know the value of a good back. They recently got Josh Rice back in the lineup after he missed several game with an elbow injury.
“He has the ability to move the football and move the chains,” McNabb said.
As the coaches plot their game plans and plan for a cold November night, Davis said he has faith in his team.
“We have 37 on our playoff roster, and we are going to go out there and try to win this game.”