MILTON-FREEWATER — The Mac-Hi Pioneers suffered a brutal start to their season last Friday when they lost to Madras 53-7, but this week, they’ll face a different kind of challenge when they play Tillamook.
“Looking at Tillamook’s offense — they’re just like us,” said Mac-Hi coach Gary Robertson. “They’re about the same size, and they play with the same offensive strategies.”
Robertson says his team has been working all week to right the wrongs committed during their season opener, focusing particularly on their offensive line.
“The last game was a little rough for us,” he said. “The guys are young, and after a five-hour trip and a team lean in numbers, it took a toll on us. Madras was also playing with all-new offensive and defensive lines.
“This week has been all about getting the guys focused and training in the back field – it’s all about the timing and adjustments.”
Friday’s game will coincide with Mac-Hi’s Family Fun Day – an annual tradition started just last year. Along with their game against Tillamook, the event will feature activities such as face painting, a dunking contest, an inflatable obstacle course presented by the National Guard, and a chance for kids to meet with Mac-Hi’s athletes.
“We want to generate a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd for this game,” Roberston said.
Clatskanie at Umatilla: The Vikings not only suffered a 58-6 loss to Rainier last week, but they lost two key players in the process.
Senior Josh Brown (linebacker/defensive end) broke a bone in his back and has a body brace. Sophomore running back Eric Hoyos dislocated his shoulder.
“We are light (on players) to begin with,” Umatilla coach Dan Durfey said. “Three turnovers didn’t help either. We will be OK, but it is not looking great.”
Santiam at Heppner: The Mustangs will have their hands full with the Class 2A runner-up from last year.
“They bring back a lot of kids,” Heppner coach Greg Grant said. “We can’t worry about how good they are, we have to go out and do our best.”
The Mustangs are coming off a 46-0 loss to Clatskanie last week.
“We have a tough schedule,” Grant said. “Last week’s team was highly ranked. I feel we will be better. We had a tough first quarter and a half adjusting to their speed. I feel good about how we finished. We have to be better than last week. We hope to come out of it healthy and understanding what we need to get better at.”
Stanfield at Central Linn: The Tigers, who lost their opener to Irrigon last week 34-8, will try and get on track this week.
“We’ve had a good week of practice, and I think we are a little more prepared,” Stanfield coach Davy Salas said. “We had some young man jitters. We have an experienced line and some size up front, but we have a freshman quarterback and a sophomore running back. They got thrown into the fire. The faster they grow up, the better we will be.”
Also on tap for Friday: Riverside, which was idle last week, will play at Portland Christian. ... Echo (0-1) will be at Dayville/Monument for a 1A Special District 5 matinee. ... Ione, which opened with a 34-6 non-league loss to Powder Valley, will open 1A Special District 3 play at Enterprise. Weston-McEwen (0-1) will travel to Irrigon (1-0). Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii (1-0) will host Sherman (0-1), coming off of Sherman’s 0-66 loss last Friday against Elkton.