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Two big PIL rivalries loom

League play begins as Jeff eyes Roosevelt, Lincoln faces Wilson
by:  L.E. BASKOW, Roughrider Isaiah Johnson gets past Ashland late last month. He ran even more, a total of 467 yards, Friday at Eagle Point.

Not one, but two Portland Interscholastic League leagues, for lack of a better word, kick off Friday. And the slate includes two big rivalry games.

Roosevelt's Isaiah Johnson, coming off the second-biggest rushing game ever by an Oregon high school player, leads the Roughriders to Jefferson for a PIL 5A showdown.

Unbeaten Lincoln plays host to Wilson in a 6A matchup that Cardinal coach Chad Carlson calls 'the Battle for Council Crest.'

Grant, also undefeated and on course to meet Lincoln on Oct. 27 for the 6A title, opens its league season against Franklin in the first half of a doubleheader at Mike Walsh Field.

Johnson, a 6-1, 220-pound senior, ran 25 times for 467 yards in a 62-51 win Friday at Eagle Point, according to Roosevelt coach Cal Szueber.

The state record is 481 yards, set by Joel Williams of North Douglas against Riddle in 1998. Szueber coached Williams in that game, too.

'But I had no idea Isaiah was that close to the record,' Szueber says. 'After the game, my stat guy, Jerry Campbell, who has been doing it for years, told me Isaiah's numbers. Isaiah had a long run near the end of the game to about the 13-yard line, and we took him out and ran a couple of plays and then took a knee.'

Johnson, who scored six touchdowns, also played most of the game on defense. In four games, he has run for 951 yards (11.6 per carry) out of Roosevelt's double-wing formation.

'He terrifies me,' Jefferson coach Anthony Stoudamire says. 'He's big and strong and fast.'

Johnson is drawing plenty of attention from college scouts. Idaho assistant coach Jonathan Smith dropped by practice last week, and the Vandals watched him play against Ashland.

nRoosevelt and Jefferson both are 1-3. The Democrats beat winless Benson 33-6 on Friday.

'We're coming together,' Stoudamire says. 'And we had higher intensity Friday. I think that had to do with playing somebody we're familiar with and who is a neighborhood rival.'

Jefferson still is a young team, but junior quarterback Kalonji Paschal, a transfer from Benson, is a threat similar to Grant QB Andre Broadous. 'He's a notch below Broadous,' Stoudamire says, 'but he's doing everything well.'

Marlon Miles, Dominic Dixon, Donte Savage and Tremaine Channel also are key skill players. 'Dominic has been consistently getting 100 yards a game, but I'm waiting for a breakout game, like 200 yards, from him,' Stoudamire says.

• Franklin rallied to beat visiting rival Cleveland 20-15 on Friday.

'We were down by two scores and could have checked out, but we didn't,' coach Richard Lex says. 'That will serve us well down the road.'

Clark Ransom, Franklin's starting quarterback last season, returned from a shoulder injury and played both safety and running back, where he replaced Jose Herrera, who is out with mononucleosis. 'Being a quarterback, Clark knows all the plays,' Lex says. 'He's not fast, but he's steady and aggressive.'

Franklin is 16-2 in the past 18 years against Cleveland.

'In my mind, it doesn't constitute a rivalry,' Lex says. 'It's more of a neighborhood rivalry than a football rivalry.'

• Franklin might have won the football game, but Cleveland's alumni team won the first annual golf tournament, defeating the Quaker alumni last Thursday.

• Franklin plays at Wilson Nov. 3, the final night of league action, and that game figures to be for the third of three berths to the 6A state playoffs.

• Lincoln stopped a late two-point conversion attempt by North Medford to survive 28-26 Friday at Mike Walsh Field.

'I don't think our defense played well,' Lincoln coach Chad Carlson says.

It was the most points given up by the Cardinals in their last 25 regular-season games.

'I don't understand how a team can run on us if Tualatin can't,' Carlson says, referring to the previous week's 28-7 victory over the Timberwolves.

'Guys have got to show up,' he adds. 'They can't play one game and take one game off.'

• How did North Medford lose 44-7 at home to Westview and the next week almost win at Lincoln? The Black Tornado made six turnovers against Westview and had none versus Lincoln.

• Talk about respect -Canby was kicking away from Grant's dangerous return men in the Generals' 44-33 victory Friday.

Grant's Gabe Miller was 21 of 21 on extra-point kicks until his last attempt hit the crossbar and bounced back.

Andre Broadous, in his second year at quarterback, has passed for eight touchdowns and run for eight more.

• Central Catholic is the only undefeated Mount Hood Conference team (at 2-0) going into a game Friday at Gresham, which is one of six MHC teams at 1-1.

The Rams ripped previously unbeaten Barlow 35-7 last week, 'but we're nowhere near where we need to be to compete with the Lincolns, Jesuits or Westviews,' coach Steve Pyne says.

Junior Justin Schmidt filled in admirably for injured linebacker Barry Hood, who is expected to be out until the final regular-season game with a broken ankle.

• The Metro League opens play Friday with defending champion Jesuit at Beaverton.

Jesuit has been relatively healthy, except that fullback-linebacker Owen Marecic missed the Central Catholic and Lake Oswego games with a dislocated left shoulder.

The 6-1, 230-pound Marecic has been the most recruited athlete on the team, even though not many college teams use a fullback. Stanford has offered him a scholarship, he says, and Washington and Boston College have expressed interest in him.

Lineman Adam Kleffner has been offered by Portland State and recruited by Pac-10 schools. Running back Paul Weatheroy has been thinking about Army, Air Force and Princeton. H-back Sean Williams has been contacted by Tulsa, Washington, Princeton and Purdue. Defensive back Jamaine Olson has been evaluated by Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Stanford. Other players have received interest from Ivy League schools, coach Ken Potter says.

• With good reason, Class 2A Portland Christian can call itself the unofficial champion of the 3A Lewis and Clark League. The Royals are 5-0 this season, with four wins over L and C teams (Clatskanie, Rainier, Warrenton and Vernonia 45-6 last week).

'Our defense continues to be the story,' coach Andrew Jannsen says.

Portland Christian held Vernonia to 71 yards and intercepted more passes (five) than the Loggers completed (four). Vernonia's only TD came on a one-yard drive after a fumbled option pitch. Kevin Johnson had two picks, and Greg Thompson returned another one 45 yards for a score.

The Royals' defense has scored six TDs this season while giving up only five (two on one-yard drives).

Portland Christian plays another 3A team, Chemawa Indian School, at the Salem school on Friday.

• The Grant-Franklin and Lincoln-Wilson games will be carried live Friday by KBPS (1450 AM).

• The PIL 6A winner will have a clear advantage over the league runner-up in the state playoffs. The PIL 6A champion opens against the No. 4 seed from the Mount Hood Conference, which is anyone's guess but could be Reynolds, Sandy, Gresham or David Douglas. The PIL champ wouldn't have to face another league's No. 1 until at least the third round (quarterfinals), when it could meet the Three Rivers League champion.

The PIL 6A runner-up, however, would open against the Pacific Conference's fourth seed, also a guess but maybe Clackamas or Lakeridge, and with a win would have to take on the Metro League No. 1 (possibly Jesuit) in the second round.

• Take away Grant and Lincoln, and the other eight PIL teams finished 4-24 in out-of-district play, with two of the wins over Woodburn. The preseason matchups will be the same next season, by the way, as the PIL agreed to two-year, home-and-away matchups, says league Athletic Director Greg Ross. Next year, for example, Lincoln will go to Tigard and North Medford and play host to Southridge and Tualatin.

• Grant's center is Phil Knight. Roseburg's tight end is Bo Jackson. No word on what school has Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

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