With West Albany’s 31-7 Class 5A state quarterfinal victory over Mountain View on Friday night, the high school football season came to an end for Central Oregon teams.
On the surface, it was a down year for local football teams. For the first time since 2005 no Central Oregon squad advanced past the state quarterfinals. Two area teams finished the season winless. And just three area teams — Bend High, Mountain View and Gilchrist — advanced to the state playoffs.
But the 2009 Central Oregon prep football season was not without highlights. Mountain View won a share of its fourth consecutive Intermountain Conference championship and played in the 5A state quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row. The Cougars, who finished the year 9-2, did not lose at home this season and for the regular season allowed just 12.6 points per game — the fewest in all of Class 5A.
Mountain View’s longtime rival, Bend High, also enjoyed a highly successful season. The Lava Bears, who shared the IMC title with the Cougars, were league champions for the first time since 2003. Bend finished the 2009 season with a record of 8-3 after falling to Glencoe 36-24 in the second round of the postseason. Lava Bear senior running back Kyle Brown set regular-season school records for most touchdowns (30) and most points scored (180).
At Gilchrist, the Grizzlies registered another strong year under their head coach, Steve Hall, going 6-2 in the regular season before losing to St. Paul 54-38 in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. (St. Paul plays Imbler this Saturday for the 1A state title.) The Grizzlies, who have reached the playoffs each of the past two seasons, scored 39.1 points per game. Led by quarterback Ryan Stinson, Gilchrist finished third in 1A’s Special District 2.
While only three area football teams advanced past the regular season in 2009, several other programs showed signs of improvement this fall.
Despite finishing 2-8, Crook County was playing for a spot in the playoffs in its final game of the season. And Sisters, which ended the year with a 5-5 mark, rebounded from a slow start to win four of its last five games.
The Oregon School Activities Association’s championship committee has released information from its second meeting, which was held on Nov. 23. According to an OSAA press release, the state’s governing body for high school athletics is looking at reducing the number of playoff berths each league receives while adding a number of “at-large” berths for each sport in classes 6A through 2A.
Additionally, hybrid conferences — leagues made up of schools from multiple classifications — would have their playoff berths determined by power ranking. This would have a direct impact on Central Oregon schools Redmond (Class 6A), Bend High (5A), Mountain View (5A), Summit (5A) and Crook County (4A), which will all compete together in the Central Oregon Hybrid League starting in fall 2010.
According to the OSAA’s most recent discussions, Bend High, Mountain View, Summit, and Southern Oregon’s Ashland and Eagle Point — the only 5A schools in hybrid leagues — would all compete for two automatic postseason berths between the five schools in a “5A Hybrid District.” Because the five schools represent two different leagues (Bend, Mountain View and Summit in the Central Oregon Hybrid; Ashland and Eagle Point in the Southern Oregon Hybrid), under the OSAA’s most recent proposal the two teams that would receive automatic playoff berths would not be determined on the field but by some sort of power ranking system.
Redmond would be placed in a similar “6A Hybrid District” with Grant and Lincoln high schools of Portland and Eugene-area schools Sheldon, Thurston and South Eugene. Those six schools, which represent three different leagues (Redmond in the Central Oregon Hybrid; Grant and Lincoln in the Portland Interscholastic League Hybrid; Sheldon, Thurston and South Eugene in the Midwestern Hybrid), would be awarded two automatic postseason berths between them, based on power rankings.
Class 1A’s playoff system would be left unchanged.
For the OSAA’s most recent update on its championship committee meetings, go to www.osaa.org.