BAKER CITY — The Powder Valley High School football team is back in the state title game for the first time since 2003.
Facing a powerhouse Adrian team that is ranked No. 1 in the OSAA Class 1A state standings, the Badgers are aiming to bring a championship back to North Powder. After being blanked 38-0 against the Antelopes in the regular season on Friday, Oct. 1, Powder Valley will be looking for revenge in the biggest game of the season.
“We’re excited. We’ve wanted a rematch all season,” Powder Valley head coach Josh Cobb said. “We got embarrassed the first time we played.”
Adrian and Powder Valley have been on a collision course all season, holding the top two spots in the OSAA Class 1A rankings for the majority of the year. The Badgers come into the matchup 11-1, averaging 45.3 points per game and holding opponents to just under 21 points per contest. In the team’s last two playoffs matchups, Powder Valley held Myrtle Point and St. Paul to a combined eight points.
In a 46-8 semifinal victory over St. Paul on Nov. 20, the Badgers limited the Buckaroos to eight points and 217 yards. Powder Valley was stout on several fourth-down stops, holding off any potential comeback. The Badgers held a 10-minute advantage in time of possession and controlled the tempo of the game from the very first snap.
“St. Paul is a great program,” Cobb said. “They’re very good at what they do.”
For Adrian, the top-ranked 1A team has cruised past its playoff opponents with ease. The Antelopes shut out Imbler 58-0, dominated Dufur 88-6 and topped Lost River 62-20. Adrian is averaging 51.5 points per game en route to a perfect 12-0 record.
“They’re good. They’re well coached. They’re fast,” Cobb said of the reigning state champions. “They’ve been here before and they’re seasoned. They’re a really tough foe, but we will do our best.”
Adrian tallied 504 total yards in the semifinal victory and allowed just 278 total yards to Lost River. The Antelopes rely heavily on their rushing attack, running for 437 yards as a team in their latest contest. Senior quarterback Conley Martin broke loose for 227 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the semifinal victory.
Powder Valley quarterback Reece Dixon will look to match Martin’s production, coming off a three-touchdown performance against St. Paul.
Adrian is no stranger to the championship game, winning in 2014 and 2019. Powder Valley’s last state title came in 2003.
Cobb remarked on the community’s excitement about the football program this season.
“It kind of gives you goose bumps every day because everyone is buying in,” Cobb said. “Players, coaches, the school, parents and the community are all behind us. Right now, Powder Valley has a true football family.”
The two east-side schools are set for a clash at Baker Bulldog Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27.
“We know it’s going to be a tough football game,” Cobb said. “Everybody’s really excited. We know how good Adrian is.”