I thought week one would be difficult for the Salem-Keizer football teams but the road was even tougher than I expected. Area squads went 1-5 and were outscored 210 to 97.
Can they rebound in week two?
South Salem at Sunset
The Saxons were the only Salem-Keizer squad to win their season opener, defeating Newberg 21-14. And their week two opponent is coming off a 24-point loss. But Sunset played one of the best teams in the state in Tigard and allowed two touchdowns on interception returns. After last week, I need to see more from the Salem-Keizer schools in general before I pick one to win in Portland.
Prediction: Apollos 30, Saxons 17
Bend at West Salem
Speaking of Salem teams playing in Portland, the Titans went to Lake Oswego last week in a game billed as a battle of two of the top teams in the state and were never really competitive, trailing 41-7 at halftime. Lake Oswego’s new quarterback threw for 298 yards and five touchdowns. West Salem’s secondary will obviously have to improve if the Titans are going to make a playoff run. West Salem is the first Salem-Keizer team to play one of the three Bend schools new to the Mountain Valley conference, although in a non-league game. Bend is coming off an impressive win over Barlow in its 6A opener but I expect an angry Titans squad to begin to turn things around at home.
Prediction: Titans 44 Lava Bears 34
Corvallis at North Salem
The Vikings found out playing in 5A, especially in Special District 3, may not be much easier than 6A, getting shut out at Crescent Valley 34-0 in week one. Now, North Salem hosts Corvallis, who also had a difficult time last Friday, falling 49-25 to Lebanon. The Vikings should be more competitive but can they get their first win?
Prediction: Vikings 20, Spartans 14
McKay at Central
The Royal Scots also struggled offensively last Friday, getting shut out at home 24-0 against West Albany. McKay gets Central next. The Panthers are also coming off a bad loss, getting blown out at Silverton 51-14. I see points being a premium in this one. Picking a winner was more difficult.
Prediction: Royal Scots 17, Panthers 13
Sprague at Lakeridge
I don’t know what to think of the Pacers. Last season, Lakeridge won a league game for the first time in four years, playing in the brutally tough Three Rivers League, and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Pacers then opened this season with a 50-point road win at Jefferson, Portland. All signs point towards Lakeridge being a program on the rise, the Olympians opened the season losing at home and I started these predictions saying I needed to see more from the Salem-Keizer schools before I picked one to win in Portland. Would I back off of that statement jut four predictions later? Maybe.
Prediction: Olympians 35, Pacers 27
McNary at West Linn
Looking at the Celtics schedule at the beginning of the season, North Medford was supposed to be one of the easier games, which probably says more about McNary’s loaded schedule than it does about the Black Tornado. After losing 55-27 at home, the Celtics now travel to play one of their toughest games against one of the best teams in the state, coming off an overtime win at Central Catholic, another elite program. McNary will have to improve drastically in all three phases of the game to have any chance of avenging last season’s playoff loss at West Linn.
Prediction: Lions 50, Celtics 21
Derek Wiley is associate editor of the Keizertimes.
Last week: 4-2
Overall record: 4-2