“It’s nice to have something to play for, other than pride,” said Douglas football coach Silia Polamalu.
He was referring to Friday’s Far West League game against South Umpqua at Wigle Stadium at Loghry Field in Tri City.
The No. 20 Trojans (4-3, 2-2 FWL) sit in fourth place in the league race heading into the final week of the regular season in Class 4A. The No. 5 Lancers (4-3, 3-1) are tied with No. 9 Marshfield (6-1, 3-1) for second, but defeated the Pirates 42-20 at home earlier this season and are assured of a play-in game based on their ranking.
Marshfield hosts No. 1 North Bend (6-0, 4-0). If the Pirates and Lancers both win, it would create a three-way tie for first place. S.U. lost 30-6 at North Bend two weeks ago. The Lancers’ losses have come to three top 10 clubs — No. 3 Mazama, No. 9 North Valley and North Bend.
Douglas — seeking to beat South Umpqua for the first time since 2013 — is coming off a 43-0 loss at North Bend. The contest was called late in the second quarter due to lightning strikes.
“We’ve got to get our energy back,” Polamalu said. “We came out flat early (in a nonleague loss to Valley Catholic), then caught on fire (versus Sutherlin, Hidden Valley and Siuslaw), but lost it against Marshfield (a 74-13 loss).
“It’s a rivalry game (Friday) and it’s going to be intense. South Umpqua has been playing some pretty good football. They’ve got physical players, speed and play with a certain attitude. We have to match that.”
S.U. coach Steve Stebbins spoke highly of the Trojans following his team’s 40-6 whipping of Siuslaw last Friday at home.
“Both teams will be super excited,” Stebbins said. “Douglas is much better ... they’re dangerous and scare me.”
The Lancers will likely try to establish the run, while the Trojans have been more successful this season through the air. Junior Connor Yates is S.U.’s top ground-gainer.
“They’ll come out and try to stomp on us,” Polamalu said. “We have to get our running game going.”
Elsewhere, No. 29 Sutherlin (0-7, 0-4 Sky-Em League) travels to No. 23 Junction City (2-4, 1-3) in search of its first win.
In 2A, No. 11 Oakland (6-1, 1-0 MVC) travels to Merrill Friday to face No. 16 Lost River (4-3, 2-0) in a key Mountain View Conference game.
The Raiders, who handed the Oakers a 51-16 loss in Oakland last year, can wrap up the conference title with a victory. The Oakers need wins over Lost River and No. 20 Monroe (3-4, 1-1) to take the crown.
“It’s a big game and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Oakland coach Ben Lane. “Lost River is going to be hungry. They’re always tough, well-coached and have good kids.”
Both teams like to run the ball. Lane said the Oakers expect to see senior Gabriel Cobian at quarterback for the Raiders. Cobian, the MVC Offensive Player of the Year in 2015, was injured earlier in the season.
“We have to stop their push (up front) on offense and force them to go to the air,” Lane said.
Elsewhere, No. 9 Reedsport (4-3, 2-1 Sunset Conference) is hoping to hand No. 6 Gold Beach (5-2, 3-0) its first league loss Friday at home.
In 1A eight-man, No. 4 North Douglas (7-1, 3-0) can wrap up an unbeaten Special District 3 East season Friday with a victory over No. 30 Mohawk (2-5, 1-2) in Drain.
Top-ranked Powers (7-0, 4-0) can complete an unbeaten Special District 2 West season with a win over Elkton (3-4, 0-4) at home. Saturday, No. 5 Days Creek (5-2, 3-1) visits No. 6 Camas Valley (6-1, 3-1), with second place at stake.
In 6A, Roseburg (0-7, 0-5 Southwest Conference) can move out of the basement with a win over Willamette (0-7, 0-4) Friday at Finlay Field. The Wolverines are No. 36 and Indians No. 45 in the 0SAA power rankings.
The Tribe is coming off a 43-0 loss at No. 8 South Medford, the Panthers’ largest margin of victory against Roseburg in the 31-year history of the series.
In 3A, No. 26 Glide (3-4, 0-3 Mountain Valley Conference) goes after its first league win Friday at No. 28 Creswell (1-6, 0-3).