BADGERS FOCUSED, BUT BATTLING FLU VIRUS
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
The Powder Valley football boys are heading into the game of their lives a little banged up, eating plenty of chicken soup and drinking lots of fluids.
But, they're excited and focused, according to coach Alan Stanfield.
The unbeaten and barely challenged Badgers will play for the Class 1A state championship Saturday against unbeaten Powers.
This will be a battle of two juggernauts. Powder Valley is 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state. Powers is 10-0 and ranked No. 4. Powder Valley has outscored its opponents 682-226. Meanwhile, Powers has outscored its opponents 486-176.
Simply put, Powder Valley's average margin of victory is 41 points per game, while Powers' margin of victory is 31 points.
The game will be played at Hillsboro Stadium at 3 p.m. It will be broadcast on KCMB 104.7 FM.
This is the fourth straight year Powder Valley has made it to at least the state semifinal. This might be the Badgers' best shot at a state title, with nine seniors on the squad literally obsessed with winning a state title.
Of concern to Stanfield is a nasty flu bug that's been doing its best to dent Powder Valley's style. Stanfield said Wednesday that at least nine players, including five starters, have come down with the flu this week.
"If we're still this sick Friday, I'll be really concerned," he said. The front line has been hit especially hard with the pesky virus. Linemen Thomas Weems, Rylie Wendt and Rick Stephens have all been sick, and quarterback Todd Baxter had the bug last week, but played well in a 58-12 semifinal win over Mohawk.
Stanfield said the good news is that several of the sick players were able to practice Wednesday. "We had a better turnout today," he said.
"They're really excited. The flu is a little bit of a distraction. But, they're pretty focused ... and they're respectful of Powers."
Stanfield also expects running back Deven Thompson to play, but with a brace on his knee. He has a partially torn MCL.
Powers beat Cove 16-8 in the state quarterfinals, which was one of the Cruisers' closest games of the year. Powder Valley, meanwhile, beat Cove 54-20 in midseason.
Stanfield said he has talked to Cove coach Skip Pereira about Powers, and has viewed a tape of the Cove-Powers game, though he isn't sure how much this tape really tells him about the opponent. The game was played a couple of weeks ago on the coast, and soggy conditions and an extremely muddy field pretty much dominated the play.
Stanfield said that by the end of the game, it was impossible to tell which team was Cove, and which was Powers because all the players were covered head-to-toe in mud.
Powder Valley 2003 results
Powder Valley 36, Perrydale 20
Powder Valley 74, Adrian 30
Powder Valley 61, Crane 24
Powder Valley 76, Wallowa 50
Powder Valley 62, Prairie City 20
Powder Valley 54, Cove 20
Powder Valley 50, Pine-Eagle 6
Powder Valley 68, Mitchell 16
Powder Valley 86, Prairie City 28
Powder Valley 57, Jewell 0
Powder Valley 58, Mohawk 12
Powers 2003 results
Powers 42, Dufur 40
Powers 54, North Lake 6
Powers 72, Paisley 32
Powers 58, Prospect 8
Powers 48, Butte Falls 30
Powers 66, Days Creek 16
Powers 46, Gilchrist 0
Powers 42, Camas Valley 12
Powers 16, Cove 8
Powers 42, McKenzie 24