Cleveland is seeking to win three games in a row for the first time since 1988, but the Warriors will be on the road tonight after home victories over Woodburn and Crescent Valley.
'Willamette's going to be our best opponent yet,' coach Todd Pasche says.
The Wolverines are 0-2 after losing 55-0 to 6A Sheldon and 45-13 to 5A Lebanon.
The 5A Warriors have had big production from their defense - two shutouts thanks largely to the line and senior middle linebacker Donte' Whitaker -and from an offense that features 5-10, 185-pound senior running back Taylor Avritt. He ran 39 times for 253 yards against Crescent Valley, is averaging 7.5 per carry and has scored four of Cleveland's six touchdowns.
'He's one of those runners who seems to get stronger as the game goes on,' Pasche says. 'He starts turning two- and three-yarders into seven- and eight-yarders. He worked hard in the offseason in the weight room and ran track, so he got faster. He did everything you want a guy to do.'
nMadison got its first win since 2004 on Friday, 19-14 at Woodburn. The Senators made it interesting, though. Late in the game, instead of knocking down a long fourth-down pass into the end zone, the defense intercepted, which led to a punting situation for Madison deep in its territory.
The Senators elected to run the snap out of the end zone for a safety, which pulled Woodburn within 19-14 and gave the Bulldogs the ball back. Woodburn got to Madison's 35-yard line but couldn't score.
'The kids played with a lot of heart,' says Ken Duilio, Madison's new coach. 'We're making a lot of mistakes and turnovers, but we've gotten over the hurdle of believing we can win.'
Madison, which is at Springfield tonight, has moved the coach's son, Jordan Duilio, from running back to quarterback. He is 13 of 24 passing for 208 yards, with two TDs and four interceptions.
The Senators start about eight sophomores on each side of the ball, including 5-7, 145-pound tailback-safety Ronald Briggs. The team has only four seniors, two of whom start, including middle linebacker Meshaud Johnson (24 tackles, 13 solo).
nGrant QB Andre Broadous leads all PIL schools in total offense after two games (188 rushing, 398 passing, 586 total).
Cleveland's Avritt is second at 556 (449 rushing, 45 returning punts, 62 receiving).
Roosevelt's Isaiah Johnson is third with 515 (359 rush, 25 return, 131 receiving). Madison's Briggs is at 470 (206 on the ground, 143 returning kicks, 121 catching passes). Kasseem Osheroff of Grant has 364 total yards (237 rushing, 28 on returns, 99 receiving). Lincoln QB Connor Kavanaugh has 310 (251 passing, 59 rushing). Franklin's Tim Range is at 192 (136 on returns, 56 on pass receptions).
• Several players for defending state champion Jesuit are looking forward to tonight's home game against Tigard. Offensive linemen Nick Lewis, Adam Kleffner and Brian Timmins; starting linebacker Zach Sanchez-Vitale; and others attended St. Anthony School in Tigard before enrolling at Jesuit. They played youth football in Tigard for years with several current Tiger players, including Keoni Rasmussen, whose father coached them in Tigard youth competition.
'We'll get to see how much we've developed and they've developed,' Lewis says.
• The PIL 5A is 3-7, with Roosevelt, Jefferson and Marshall all 0-2. The 6A Metro League, down to five Beaverton schools and Jesuit, is 14-4, with all the losses to unbeaten teams (Lincoln beat Southridge, Tualatin and Grant beat Beaverton, and South Eugene beat Sunset).
• Jaden Kaufman is going back to the backfield, from receiver, for Central Catholic, which has dropped two in a row, albeit to strong teams (Jesuit and Canby). 'It'll give him a chance to touch the ball more often and take some of the pressure off (QB) Jacob Haas,' coach Steve Pyne says.
The Rams open the Mt. Hood Conference season tonight at David Douglas, which puts athletic QB Greg Carradine in the shotgun and lets him pick his spots. Carradine ran 17 times for 235 yards last week in a 21-19 loss to West Linn.
• Time ran out on both Central Catholic and Canby last week, when lightning kept them from playing much more than half of their junior varsity game at Central. The second half kicked off at about 4:25 p.m., and then came the lightning strikes.
Canby took cover in the cafeteria, while the Rams went to their locker room. The field has no lights, and at close to 6 p.m. the game was called, with Canby declared the winner, 21-6. 'We just didn't feel we'd ever get it started in time to finish,' says Jay Wallace, a Central assistant coach. 'We felt it was better to get the Canby kids home.'
• KBPS (1450 AM) will carry the Aloha-Benson game live at 7 p.m. Friday. Aloha is 3-0, Benson 0-2.
• Portland Christian (3-0, second-ranked in Class 2A) goes for its fourth win over a 3A team today, facing Riverdale at Lewis and Clark College. The speedy Royals could find the L and C artificial turf to their liking and could see the return of Charlie Antal, who has yet to play because of a nagging leg injury.
Riverdale junior Evan Peterson has five touchdown catches in two games. The Mavericks (1-1) have seven two-way starters and like to throw the ball, run-and-shoot style.