Win or go broke

FOOTBALL-Baker betting his last dollar on Sandy to top Hood River

Why do the Pioneers feel fortunate?

Before their final three games of the regular season, they knew they needed to win two. If they did, they believed that would be enough to earn a home game against a beatable opponent in their 5A play-in game.

Two of those games would be against Parkrose and Milwaukie, who had a combined 2-10 record at that time.

Start prepping the Sandy bog for November football, right? That's what the Pioneers thought before their final regular season game against Parkrose.

'We tried different ways to get them to realize that Parkrose is a team that has some speed, some talent, they're back at full strength,' head coach Ray Baker said. 'Earlier in the year they lost some games when they didn't have some of their key players.'

Those key players were back, and they helped lead the Broncos to a 20-12 win over the flabbergasted Pioneers. Baker called it one of his worst losses in his coaching career.

So, again, why do the Pioneers (3-6, 2-5) feel fortunate? Because the draw for their play-in game still unraveled as they had hoped. The play-in games are based on RPI seeding rather than league placing, and Sandy (22nd) remained five spots above Parkrose (27th) on that list.

That allows Sandy to face Hood River (3-6, 1-2) who arrives Friday for the 7 p.m. play-in matchup. The Pioneers trounced the Eagles 38-19 in this year's season opener.

Look for full coverage in the Nov. 2 edition of the Sandy Post.