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Football season still has a long way to go

Lions and Indians both have good chances in playoffs
by: Self-portrait Sports Editor John Brewington

Scappoose and St. Helens still have some decent playoff prospects this season, but it's going to be a few weeks before we know exactly where they are.

For the Indians it's a big week at 3-1 Banks. The Braves have given them some trouble over the past few years, even when the Indians might seem like the stronger team going in.

Scappoose is now 3-2 on the season after losses to top-ranked Central and fourth-ranked Astoria (a Cowapa League match).

They were two different games, but there were some similarities. The Indians seemed to come out of nowhere at Central and it seemed like they would pull the game out. A missed kick cost them and they lost in OT.

This past week, they didn't look and it didn't feel like they were really in the ball game. It seemed like everyone was just watching Astoria quarterback Conor Harber take charge of things.

Then the Indians seemingly awoke from their slumber and for a few moments it seemed like they might pull out an even bigger deficit. It worried Astoria enough that they went into a let's-run-out-the-clock mode.

I don't want to pick on the officials from Astoria, they were at their usual confused best, but they didn't cost Scappoose the game. I don't think they were biased, just a little off on some of their calls.

Scappoose coach Sean McNabb says the Indians are one of the best teams in the state. They've certainly shown the ability to play with the best; they just have to do it for a full 48 minutes. They haven't been able to do that in every game yet, but they've certainly made some of those opponents nervous. They need to stay focused for the entire game.

Meanwhile, St. Helens is a pleasant surprise this season. Last year was something of a disaster, but this season the Lions are showing some fighting spirit.

They are 3-2 on the season overall, and 2-1 in league play. The losses came to Scappoose in the renewal of the 7-Mile War and to the top-ranked 5A team, Sherwood. They clobbered Franklin, won a close game with Sandy, and then this last week easily downed Milwaukie.

It's a good start for the Lions and they're ranked 11th overall in the Oregon School Activities Association power rankings. That's better than any Northwest Oregon Conference team, except Sherwood.

Their foe this week, Parkrose, is hardly a powerhouse. A win is expected, and a loss would be a disaster. St. Helens did lose to them last season, and they can't afford to let it happen again.

St. Helens should beat Parkrose and also Rex Putnam. They also have games with Wilsonville and Liberty. Both those will be tough, but both are doable. If St. Helens wins just two of those games they'll have a winning record in league and on the season. The worse they should do is finish fourth. Win three and they could move up to third. That's a lot of improvement from last season when they struggled in many of their games.

Coach John England says he's taking it one game at a time. That's a good idea. Last year they may have overlooked a couple of teams and it proved costly.

Only five teams go to the play-in round this season in the 5A ranks. St. Helens wants to be one of those and they have a good shot at it.

The same is true of the Cowapa League and we can't imagine Scappoose not making it.

We'll see. Like we said, there's a lot of football left.