MILWAUKIE — Both Pendleton and La Salle Prep will hit the field on Friday night with big wins fresh under their belts.
The 5A Special District 1’s top-ranked Bucks (4-1, 3-0 IMC) shut out Milwaukie 47-0 last week, and are ready to continue forth in league play. The Falcons (2-2, 2-0 IMC) escaped with a 54-46 win at Hood River Valley, earning themselves the No. 2 spot in the conference standings.
“They’re coming off a really good win,” Pendleton coach Erik Davis said of La Salle Prep. “We’re expecting a shootout. They’re a great football team.”
The Bucks, who have proven to be unbeatable in district action so far this season, will hit the road to challenge the Falcons in an effort to maintain a spotless league record.
Pendleton, now onto the latter half of the regular season, is vying for its second consecutive playoff berth. The Falcons haven’t made a playoff appearance since 2012, where they fell in the quarterfinals. La Salle Prep’s last state title came in 2011, where they defeated Siuslaw 45-40 at Hillsboro Stadium.
“This is one of the biggest games in the league,” Davis said. “We’re both going for that district title.”
The Bucks haven’t dropped a game since the season opener at La Grande, and are averaging 40.8 points a game.
“(La Salle’s) offense is one of the toughest in the league,” Davis said. “We’re going to have to put points on the board early.”
Although the Bucks are expecting a fight, the shutout over Milwaukie last week has instilled them with the confidence needed to take on such a pivotal game in the season.
“It was a good win for us,” Davis said of the team’s showing at Milwaukie. “The kids went out and executed well in the first half. They took care of business. They’re coming into their own. They’re recognizing that they can perform well at the varsity level. They have a good focus and a good attitude.”
The Bucks and Falcons previously met at the Round-Up Arena in the final stretch of the regular season last year, where Pendleton took down a massive 62-14 win. This year, the game is coming to the Falcons’ field in Milwaukie.
“The kids want that conference title first and foremost,” Davis said. “Any time you get off the bus after a four- to five-hour trip, it can be hard, but our kids travel well.”
The district’s top two teams are set to duke it out 7 p.m. on Friday.