Parkrose needs to beat Pendleton.
The Portland-area high school is third in Oregon’s Special District 1 East division. They’re 4-2 on the season, and they’ll need to defeat Pendleton and La Salle Prep, both above them in the standings, if they hope to continue into the playoffs. Only the top three teams from each of the 5A’s east and west divisions move on to contend for the championship title. If Parkrose falls to Pendleton and La Salle, they’ll fall to fourth.
“Parkrose is gonna have to play for their lives on Thursday,” said Pendleton defensive coordinator Fred Phillips.
Meanwhile, the Bucks are enjoying a return to a No. 1 ranking after their 62-14 home win over La Salle last week. Though Pendleton and Parkrose have faced similar foes on the road to this week’s game, the odds seemed stacked in Pendleton’s favor — while Parkose beat Putnam 17-0, the Bucks beat the Kingsmen,56-14. And Parkrose lost to Hood River Valley 23-16, while Pendleton shut them out 46-0.
“They have good team speed that’ll create some match-up issues,” said Bucks coach Erik Davis. “We have to try to control that. We just have to get better at what we do. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every game. We were real crisp last week.”
Pendleton celebrated homecoming Friday night with a win against La Salle, keeping the top spot in the league. It was a particularly strong game offensively, with quarterback Trent Sorey rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns, running back Aiden Patterson rushing for 92 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Shawn Yeager scoring three times and rushing for 112 yards.
“The kids are excited and are practicing like it,” Davis said. “When you have 17 seniors on the team, you have good leadership. They’ve stepped up their game, and the team’s ready to follow them. They’ve really embraced this idea of being a top contender in the Oregon 5A.”
The Bucks are nearing the end of their season. After Parkrose they’ll host Benson before a league playoff. Davis says that while the season is beginning to wear on them, they’re not letting it get in the way of keeping their record spotless on Thursday.
“They’re a little banged up, but that’s normal for this time of year,” he said. “These kids are tough — they’ll play through anything. Everyone’s ready to rock and roll. Our goals are still intact, and right now, our goal is Parkrose.”
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Parkrose High School in Portland.