Another golden opportunity awaits the South Umpqua football team.

The third-seeded Lancers (9-1) will host No. 11 Santiam Christian (5-4) on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A playoffs on Friday at Kent Wigle Stadium at Frosty Loghry Field in Tri City.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

In the other quarterfinal game Friday, No. 8 Cascade Christian (5-3) travels to Florence to meet No. 1 Siuslaw (9-0).

Saturday, No. 4 Warrenton (7-2) hosts No. 5 La Pine (6-3) at CMH Field in Astoria and No. 7 Vale (9-1) faces No. 2 Rainier (10-1) in Kelso, Washington.

The Lancers, who won the Special District 2 South title, are seeking to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1981, when they finished as Class AA co-state champions with Siuslaw.

“I think the people are excited,” South Umpqua coach Steve Stebbins said of the matchup with the Eagles of Adair Village. “This will be fun.”

The Lancers decided playing on their grass field, which is usually muddy during this time of the year, would be to their benefit.

“We asked the kids what they wanted to do, and they wanted to play on it (instead of turf),” Stebbins said.

South Umpqua whipped No. 14 Yamhill-Carlton 35-6 at home last week in the first round. Santiam Christian went to No. 6 Dayton and pulled out a 7-6 victory.

The Eagles, coached by Matt Bain, have been a successful postseason team in recent years. They defeated Hidden Valley 41-34 in the 2019 3A state final, and were the state runner-ups in 2017 and 2015.

Santiam Christian finished fourth in the Special District 2 North this season, losing to league champion Siuslaw, La Pine and Junction City.

“They’re a good team,” Stebbins said of the Eagles. “They’re good up front, have an outstanding running back (junior Jayden Christy) and two good wide receivers (seniors Jackson Risinger and Jackson Hughes). Their quarterback (junior Jared Mehlschau) is solid and throws a good ball.”

Christy scored the lone touchdown in last week’s win, a 54-yard run in the second quarter. The Eagles only average 17.7 points while allowing 18.4 points a game.

“They’re solid defensively,” Stebbins said. “Their linebackers (junior Campbell Henderson and senior Heston Bain) are bigger than the defensive tackles and are quick. It’s going to be an interesting challenge for our guys.”

South Umpqua has scored the most points in 3A this season (383) and is one of the top defensive clubs, giving up 14 points a game.

Junior quarterback Jace Johnson has passed for 1,849 yards and 28 touchdowns. The top receiver is his cousin, senior Kade Johnson, who has 11 TD catches.

Junior Isaac Real and senior Andrew Christensen did some heavy damage against Yamhill-Carlton last week, combining for 11 receptions. Christensen hauled in two scoring passes and returned a punt 47 yards for a score.

Senior Caj Simmons leads S.U.’s running game.

“We started slow, but played well,” Stebbins said. “We exploded in the third quarter and I was pleased with our defense.”

What does Stebbins see as some keys to Friday’s contest?

“Don’t turn the ball over, win the big play battle and control their running game,” he replied.

The game can be heard on DouglasCountySportsOnline.com, with Kenny Sherman calling the action.

Tom Eggers can be reached at teggers@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4220.

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Sports Editor

Tom Eggers is the sports editor for The News-Review. He can be reached at teggers@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4220.

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