Week 1 prep football preview, picks

Predicting high school football winners can be challenging enough. But in Week 1, it’s even more difficult.

We can watch team at practices, look at this list of returning starters and talk to coaches. But we really don’t have a clear indication of how good (or bad) teams will be until they step onto the field.

There is no preseason in high school football.

We’ve had coaches tell us “We hope we can have a competitive team this season” and finish the season 9-0. And we’ve had coaches tell us “We think we can compete for the league title” and finish 1-8.

So until we see results on the field, we can’t really be sure of anything.

But this season, we’re going to raise the stakes a little bit by not just picking a winner, but predicting a score.

Now these predicted scores won’t mean much (not that any of this means anything, really).

But if we pick a team to win 35-7 and they ended up winning by a field goal, as long as we picked the right team to win, it’s a win for us (or at least our prognostication record).

The same is true if we pick a team to win by one point and they end up playing with a running clock in the second half. A win’s a win. The predicted score just adds a little flavor to the mix.

So, here’s we go with Week 1 previews and picks.


Skyview vs. Central Catholic

When, where: 7 p.m., Hillsboro Stadium.

Records (2011): Skyview 11-3; Central Catholic 10-3 (Non-league game).

Live chat: www.columbian.com

Game notes: Plenty of new faces in key places for Skyview, sort of. Even though there will be new starters for the Storm, because of the number lopsided wins last season, most saw plenty of playing time during the team’s run to the state title game, including QB Jordan Berni. … The Storm will try to regroup after the dismissal of WR Reilly Henderson during preseason practices. … Central Catholic reached the Oregon 6A state semifinals last season. … The Rams return several key starters, including DB Dallin Leavitt, a BYU recruit. … Rams QB Aidan Walker can pass and run and has three years of varsity experience.

Columbian’s take: Skyview does not like to shy away from tough non-league opponents. Perhaps that’s why the Storm haven’t won a season opener since 2006 with losses to Sherwood, Ore. (twice), Union (twice) and Westview, Ore. We expect to the Storm to have a strong season, but this week 1 assignment seems pretty tough Prediction: Central Catholic 27-20


Fort Vancouver vs. Evergreen

When, where: 5 p.m., McKenzie Stadium.

Records (2011): Fort Vancouver 0-9; Evergreen 0-9 (Non-league game).

Radio: KKOV, 1550 AM.

Game notes: This will be the first varsity game on the new turf at McKenzie Stadium … Somebody’s long losing streak will end. Fort Vancouver is riding a 15-game skid. The Trappers’ last win came on Sept. 17, 2010 vs. Washougal (31-14). Evergreen has lost 13 in a row. The Plainsmen’s last win came on Oct. 1, 2010 vs. Battle Ground (38-14). … This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2003.

Columbian’s take: With both teams going winless last season, the 2012 season opens with plenty of questions. But it looks as if Evergreen is closer to turning things around. Prediction: Evergreen 20-6

Battle Ground vs. R.A. Long

When, where: 7 p.m., Longview Memorial Stadium.

Records (2011): Battle Ground 4-5; R.A. Long 2-7 (Non-league game).

Game notes: The Tigers started 2011 strong, going 4-1. But a four-game skid ended their postseason hopes. … The Tigers bring back experience in the skill positions led by seniors QB Ian Humphrey, RB Kevin Haynes and WR Trevor Ingram. … This is the first meeting between the Tigers and Lumberjacks since 2002. … The Lumberjacks, young last year, are year older and should be improved. … Junior QB Ryan Peerboom leads R.A. Long’s fast-paced offense.

Columbian’s take: Lots of experience back on both sides, but we’ll side with the 4A team over the 2A team. Prediction: Battle Ground 30-20

Camas vs. Oregon City

When, where: 7 p.m., Oregon City High School.

Radio: KFXX 1080 AM.

Records (2011): Camas 11-2; Oregon City 8-5 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Many key starters from last season’s Camas team that reached the 3A semifinals are gone, but a few remain, including TE/LB John Norcross. … Junior Reilly Hennessey takes over at QB for the Papermakers. … Oregon City reached the Oregon 6A quarterfinals, losing to Central Catholic 55-33. … The Pioneers return only six starters from last season’s team. … Several key players are juniors, including QB Jacob Tipton and RB Mitch Thompson.

Columbian’s take: Two teams with similar resumes: Playoff teams last season trying to reload with junior-led lineups. Oregon City has the edge by playing at home, but this game may be decided by Camas’ senior K Roldan Alcobendas. Prediction: Camas 23-20

Mountain View at Union

When, where: 8 p.m., McKenzie Stadium.

Radio: KKOV, 1550 AM.

Records (2011): Mountain View 8-3, Union 9-3 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Though from the same school district, this is only the third meeting between Union and Mountain View, with the Titans winning both previous meetings. … The Thunder are coming off a season that culminated in their first playoff win since 2004. … The 2011 Thunder were a senior-led squad, meaning they’ll be looking for stars to step up. … Junior RB Eddie Richardson is coming off a solid sophomore season … With junior Brendin Quinn and sophomore Nolan Henry battling for playing time at QB, there are questions to go along with talent for the Titans. … But success at Union starts and ends with defense, and the Titans should again be difficult to score against.

Columbian’s take: With new players looking to lead both offenses, defense could rule the day in this rivalry game. If so, that favors Union. Prediction: Union 21-10

Heritage vs. Columbia River

When, where: 7 p.m., Chieftain Stadium, Columbia River HS.

Records (2011): Heritage 3-7; Columbia River 5-4 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Heritage made strides under first-year coach Jack Hathaway last season, winning back-to-back games at the end of the regular season to earn a postseason berth. … Junior E’Lon Mack could be one of the area’s top receivers this season. The Timberwolves hope the junior combo of QB Loren Standiford and Mack will produce big results not just this year, but next. … Experience is a strength at River, with three-year starters at QB (Clayton Frank) and RB (Remick Kawawaki). … Chieftains narrowly missed playoffs after tough Week 9 loss to Mountain View.

Columbian’s take: Heritage could be a dangerous team by season’s end. Columbia River should be strong right out of the gate. Prediction: Columbia River 28-10

Washougal vs. Hudson’s Bay

When, where: 7 p.m., Kiggins Bowl.

Records (2011): Washougal 6-3; Hudson’s Bay 1-8 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Bay went winless last season until an 8-7 win over Fort Vancouver in Week 9. … Offense was the problem for the Eagles, having been shutout five times and never scoring more than 15 points in any game. … That included a 41-9 loss at Washougal in Week 1 last year. … Washougal appeared headed for its first postseason berth since 2007 after starting the year 6-0. But three tough losses, including two in OT, derailed those hopes. … Washougal has opened each of the past two seasons with wins over Bay. … The Panthers lost of a lot of senior talent from last year’s team, but senior RBs Austin Tofell and Stephen Camden provide leadership in the backfield.

Columbian’s take: Looking for better things from Bay this season. But we expect it to take time to show itself. We’re looking for three wins in a row for Washougal in this series. Prediction: Washougal 20-13

Prairie at Rainier, Ore.

When, where: 7 p.m., Rainier (Ore.) High School.

Records (2011): Prairie 6-4; Rainier 11-2 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Although known for their high-flying offfense, Prairie recorded three shutouts last season. The Falcons will need that kind of defense while a new class of leaders on offense find their stride. … Rainier reached Oregon 3A semifinals last year. … Columbians scored 58 points or more in seven games last season.

Columbian’s take: A tough season opener on the road for the Falcons. Prediction: Rainier 41-27

Hockinson vs. Elma

When, where: 7 p.m., Elma High School.

Records (2011): Hockinson 7-3, Elma 4-5 (Non-league game).

Game notes: Junior Jesse Krahn is in his third year as the Hawks’ starting QB. He could have a big year, given the amount of talent around him in the skills positions. … The Hawks’ development up fron will be the key to success. … Elma has missed the postseason the past six seasons after a nine-year playoff run. … The Eagles return 17 of 22 starters. … Elma’s spread offense is led by junior QB Todd Swinhart.

Columbian’s take: In the past, Hockinson has loaded up with tough non-league foes. So a long road trip to open the season should derail the Hawks against the 1A Eagles. Prediction: Hockinson 34-24

Ridgefield at Rochester

When, where: 7 p.m., Rochester High School.

Records (2011): Ridgefield 6-4, Rochester 1-8 (Non-league game).

Game notes: The Spudders introduce their third head coach in three years, but they have a ton of senior leadership coming back, including QB Gunnar Long and RBs Clayton Farr, John White and Ian Williams. … Ridgefield makes the jump from 1A to 2A this season, but open the season with back-to-back 1A foes. … Rochester is coming off back-to-back 1-8 season. … The Warriors were shut out three times last season and scored just 7 points in two other games. … Like Ridgefield, Rochester also has a new head coach who was an assistant with the team last year, Chris Barnes.

Columbian’s take: Either way, one coach is going to be 1-0 after this game. We’re thinking it’s going to be Dan Andersen. Prediction: Ridgefield 27-7

Stevenson at Toledo

When, where: 7 p.m., Toledo High School.

Records (2011): Stevenson 1-8, Toledo 10-2 (Class 1A Trico League game).

Game notes: The Bulldogs have eight returning players who saw significant varsity action last season … Second-year coach David Waymire is looking for improved results … Toledo returns 14 players from a team that won the Trico League championship last season. .. The Indians reached the Class 1A state quarterfinals last year.

Columbian’s take: The Trico League dives right into league play, so teams will find out quickly what they have to offer. This is a matchup that favors Toledo. Prediction: Toledo 48-6

Castle Rock at Seton Catholic

When, where: 7 p.m., Doc Harris Stadium, Camas.

Records (2011): Castle Rock 4-5, Seton Catholic in first varsity season (Class 1A Trico League game).

Game notes: The Rockets are looking to bounce back after a sub-.500 season in 2011. … Castle Rock is expected to be a playoff contender in the Trico League this season. … Seton Catholic is playing its first varsity football season. A big step considering the school opted up to join the 1A Trico League. … WR/K Erik Powell hopes to play college football as a kicker. … Seton has 29 players out for football this fall.

Columbian’s take: It figures to be a bumpy first season for Seton. Prediction: Castle Rock 34-6

Ilwaco at La Center

When, where: 7 p.m., La Center Middle School.

Records (2011): Ilwaco 3-6, La Center 8-3 (Class 1A Trico League game).

Game notes: La Center has 15 starters — six on offense and nine on defense — back from last season’s team that reached the 1A state playoffs. … Senior Josh McNeal is a four-year starter on the offensive and defensive line. … Junior QB Dylan King returns to lead the offense. … Ilwaco opened 2011 with three straight wins, two against Class B schools and the third against 1-8 Stevenson. … The Fisherman scored just 40 points in their final six games of the season.

Columbian’s take: La Center beat Ilwaco 50-8 last season, and this season should be more of the same. Prediction: La Center 48-6

Kalama at Woodland

When, where: 7 p.m., Woodland Stadium, Woodland High School.

Records (2011): Kalama 6-4, Woodland 5-5 (Class 1A Trico League game).

Game notes: This matchup between neighbors along Interstate 5 takes on a new wrinkle as the two teams are Trico League rivals. … This will be the 10th consecutive season Woodland and Kalama will play in Week 1. Woodland is 5-4 over the past nine seasons in those openers against Kalama. … Woodland won last year 48-33. … Kalama lost Trico offensive MVP Austin Johnson, who transferred to Mark Morris. … Woodland returns to the 1A ranks after struggling at times in the 2A Greater St. Helens League.

Columbian’s take: Winner of this one figures to be in the mix for the league title. Prediction: Woodland 33-24

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