The 6-0 Newport football is about to face its toughest challenge to date on Thursday as it looks to make it seven wins to start the season.
And it's not just because the Cubs are facing a tough Cascade team on the road with a conference championship and playoff positioning on the line.
It’s what to do at quarterback with Luke Losier being cleared and able to play again.
The case can be made for both players. Losier was the starter and quarterbacked the Cubs to its first three wins, with Justin Plechaty being one of the primary targets at wideout. The passing game might be more dynamic with Losier because Plechaty can beat defenses deep and win jump balls — something the team is lacking with him under center.
And in Losier’s absence, Plechaty filled in to win three games — all against league opponents. He brings a little more athleticism and a threat of running to the table. He did throw four touchdowns in three games, but against Stayton, he didn’t complete a pass.
It’s not an easy decision and one that I am more than happy that I don’t have to make. Do you roll with what has been working? Or make a change that could throw off the groove of the team, even if, on paper, it looks like the right move?
College and professional coaches botch this move all the time. It will be a move that’s praised as long as works, then as soon as it doesn’t...well.
Another wrinkle is that Luke Losier is the son of head coach Rod Losier. You can’t have the players thinking that there is any favoritism going on. It has to be purely a football decision without a whiff of nepotism.
If there is one thing that I’ve picked up from successful teams in just about any sport it’s this: The goal is bigger than the role. Teams that put individual praise and accolades aside and buy into team goals typically find success.
It’s something I hope the players keep in mind. The Cubs have had a special season up to this point and a chance to cement itself as one of the school’s top football seasons. That’s really what’s at stake the next couple of weeks.
This is a nice segway into this week’s pick, happening on a Wednesday. Yep, a Wednesday. Football games will be played on Thursday this week.
Newport at Cascade
Here’s what’s at stake in Thursday’s game between the Cubs and the Cougars: If the Cubs win, they will play for the conference championship the following Friday when they host Sweet Home — also undefeated in conference play. Lose, and the best that can happen is to play for a tie
I’ve picked Newport each and every week in the picks column. I’m not jumping ship now.
Taft at Willamina
The Tigers showed some signs of life in the first half against top-ranked Amity on Friday, but that performance didn’t carry over into the second half.
Playing on the road, possibly with a backup quarterback against another top-five team might be too much to overcome. The tough season continues for Taft.
Toledo at Bandon
To say the Toledo offense is clicking would be an understatement. During the three-game winning streak, the Boomers are scoring 53 points per game. I don’t think Toledo will score that much against on Thursday against Bandon,
I’ll even throw another pick out there, the Boomers won’t lose another game this regular season
Waldport vs Falls City
After Falls City gave Siletz Valley its first loss of the season, I have a hard time thinking that Waldport will be able to keep pace. But hey, with it being senior night, crazy things can happen.
Pick: Falls City
Eddyville at Crow
The Eagles are coming off a nice victory over Jewell, winning 58-24 for their second win of the season. Now they are taking on a Crow team that couldn't always field an eight-man team this season.
I think Eddyville takes care of business and finishes its first year back with a respectable 3-3 record.
Siletz Valley at St. Paul
St. Paul is currently beating teams by an average of 42 points per games. And that’s including a 1-0 forfeit win over a winless Crow team, so that number could be even higher. One of those wins came against a Fall City team that handed Siletz Valley by 12 points last week.
St. Paul looks like an eight-man juggernaut.
I expect the Warriors to put up a fight, but St. Paul might be too much to handle, especially playing at home.
Pick: St. Paul
Washington at Oregon
“Hate Week” is an appropriate nickname for the Washington/Oregon game because I hate both teams. Okay, that might be a bit harsh. I really like Oregon’s Justin Herbert and love Washington’s coach Chris Petersen. A more accurate statement would be that I’m not a fan of the section of each school’s fanbase that seems to be in a one-upmanship on which can be more obnoxious.
As far as the game goes, I like Oregon playing at home, coming off a bye week. But, I have a hard time picking against Petersen in an important game.
Georgia at LSU
I considered breaking the rules and going with LSU because they are playing at home and coming off a devastating loss to Florida last weekend. But I put these rules in place for a reason, so I’m sticking to my guns. LSU gives up 343 yards per game and the Georgia defense is as balanced as can be, 240 yards passing and 245 yards rushings.
Baylor vs Texas
Sure, this could be a letdown game for Texas after taking down Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. But to the people who say that, I’ll respond with:
TEXAS IS BACK!
Chargers vs Browns
My goodness, I’m taking the Browns again. The Chargers just aren’t the same without defensive standout Joey Bosa. Plus, Baker Mayfield and the Browns are a pretty fun watch these days.
Buccaneers at Falcons
The Falcons are in danger of falling to 1-5 on the season. That would be a deep hole to climb out of if they want to reach the postseason, especially in the loaded NFC South. I the Falcons beat the Bucs at home, especially since the Fitzmagic has worn off a bit.
Cardinals vs Vikings
A rookie quarterback (Jose Rosen) on the road against a top defense (Vikings) in one of the more hostile environments (US Bank Stadium)? Easy pick. Although, this is a top defense, (Vikings) got torched by a rookie quarterback (Josh Allen) in a hostile environment (US Bank Stadium) already this year. I don't’ think it happens again.
Panthers vs Washington
I’m taking the Panthers here purely based on I kinda know what to expect from them. I have no clue how to gauge this Washington team.
Bears vs Dolphins
My early season Super Bowl pick was the Packers; I haven’t given up on that completely because it’s only October. But, I also feel like Green Bay could be in danger of not making the playoffs because the Bears have the potential to be a really scary team down the road.
Pick: Daaaa Bears