Porous Tillamook defense could be a meal for a Tribe team that puts up points for breakfast.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior quarterback Taylor Loss warms up before the Tribe's game in Independence. Coach Sean McNabb has been happy with the way Loss has dealt with adversity over the last few weeks.Tillamook senior quarterback Matt Strang may have put up more numbers through six games as he did all last season, but the Cheesemakers haven't had anywhere near the same amount of success. Tillamook (0-6, 0-2 Cowapa) has had only one close game this season, a 7-6 loss to Newport on Sept. 13. The rest of their games have been lop-sided, and with a game coming up on Thursday Oct. 10 at home against Scappoose, their troubles won't be going away any time soon.

Though Strang has been better than a year ago, the strength of the Cheesmaker attack isn't through the air. The ground attack has outgained the pass in every contest this season, including the 46-40 loss to Taft in which Tillamook rushed for 300 yards and threw for 176. Taft hasn't proven to be particularly strong on defense – having given up 62 points to Seaside and 55 points to Philomath – making the 476 yards of offense lose a little of it's luster.

Last week, they lost 42-24 to Astoria, who managed just nine points against Yamhill-Carlton on Sept. 27. Contrast the Indians' most recent result against Yamhill-Carlton, and the future looks pretty dark for the Cheesemakers. Though Thursday’s contest seems heavily balanced in favor of Scappoose, the Indians will need the confidence boost of proving they can play perfect football, especially facing a run to the playoffs that doesn't leave much room for error.

   What the Indians need to do:

The offensive gap between the wins and losses for Scappoose is stark, to say the least. Their two losses weigh heavily on the run, putting up an average of just 57.5 yards on the ground. The Tribe gets 167.5 rushing yards when they win, highlighted by a season-high 230 yards against Yamhill-Carlton. That trend is important to keep rolling, especially in a week where the Indians won't be facing one of the top-tier teams in the Cowapa league. While Scappoose may not need a huge performance on the ground to beat Tillamook, they will need it down the road, and getting as much experience as possible from a game like this is vitally important.

Throughout the season, Quarterback Taylor Loss hasn't had many rushing attempts. The most attempts came in the loss to Banks, where the senior rushed' seven times and took seven sacks. Because Loss is so important to the success of the Indians, his health and safety are key to making the playoffs. With the exception of scrambles during broken plays, Loss usually only rushes when the Indians are within the 10 yard line. Most of his six touchdowns are for extremely short yardage, and he averages just over four attempts per contest for about 13 yards per game. While Scappoose might be able to pull off a victory over Tillamook without him, that reality isn't pretty.

Defensively, Scappoose has had three games in which they've allowed only one touchdown apiece. In two of those instances, their opponent scored late in the second half, negating the shutout. For confidence reasons, a shutout would be a good boost. It doesn't change the result in the win/loss column but it does big things for a defensive unit that struggled to stop the running game in the road contests against Central and Banks.

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