GLIDE — There’s not much better than football practice in the brisk chill of a November evening.
At least there isn’t to the current Glide Wildcats, who are experiencing it for the first time.
“It’s so special,” senior Zach Holland said. “It’s been a long time since anyone from Glide has made it to the second round of the playoffs. We’re a tight-knit family around here and it’s really fun to make memories with this group.”
Glide hasn’t been in a state quarterfinal playoff since 1982, so there’s a lot of memories for the Wildcats to make this week. GHS plays at Santiam of Mill City on Friday in the Class 2A quarterfinals. Game time is 7 p.m.
“A number of years ago we had a team come through that we thought had a chance to do something and I said many years ago I got the opportunity to practice on Thanksgiving and I’d like to do it again,” Glide coach Jody Doty said. “It’s a little early for us to talk about it yet, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to be practicing in this. We told the kids the other night there’s only eight teams left in 2A still practicing.”
In order to practice on Thanksgiving this year, the Wildcats will need to win this week and next, so it’s very early to think about that.
Santiam (8-1) is the No. 2 seed from Special District 2. The Wolverines played for the 2A championship in 2017. They opened the playoffs with a 60-0 victory over Toledo.
“They look like they (played for a title),” Doty said. “They have some nice looking boys up front on the offensive and defensive lines and their backfield has some skill out there. It’s something we have to contend with.”
Santiam has the Wildcats’ attention, though there’s also a strong belief they can go toe-to-toe with the Wolverines.
“They run a lot of power stuff, cut the back side, and the offensive and defensive lines look like the best we’ll see,” senior Dillon Towne said. “They’re there for a reason, but if our defense flows really well and controls the cutback, we’ll have a good night.”
Holland said: “They’re a very quick team that on their homefield is going to come fast and hit hard. I believe that if we play our game, we can beat them.”
Glide (6-4) made the playoff field as an out-large team after suffering an injury-marred three-game losing streak to end the regular season. The Wildcats upset fourth-seeded Knappa 48-42 in overtime last Friday as Holland scored six touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Holland missed the two previous games with an injury and was a game-time decision against Knappa.
“He’s feeling better,” Doty said. “He’s still not 100 percent. The Knappa coach asked me who our injured back was and I said No. 10 (Holland) and he said, ‘That’s not an injured back.’ Even when he’s not 100 percent, he looks good on the field and he makes our team better.”
Towne added: “We had Zach back and he added a completely different dynamic to our team. Knappa was supposed to beat us, but we live and die on Friday night and hopefully we go out there and work really hard and get a W and keep moving on.”