The Knappa Loggers are three years removed from a Class 2A Oregon state championship and have played back into the semifinals of the state playoffs in each of the last two years. But 2011 brought the graduation of much of the core of that group and the Loggers (4-5, 3-2 NWL) aren’t cutting down teams the way they were in past years.
This year’s Astoria-based Loggers are a shell of that powerhouse program, but there’s still a reason they’ve advanced into the playoffs this season, said coach Kenzie Hansell, whose Weston-McEwen TigerScots (9-0, 6-0 BMC) will host Knappa in postseason action Saturday at 1 p.m. Knappa has made a dangerous habit of winning late in the season.
“They’ve been here before and they know how to win, so we expect an exciting game on Saturday,” Hansell said.
The TigerScots, a No. 3 seed, and Loggers, a No. 6, play similar styles of offense. Both teams like to spread the ball around, with the passing game playing a larger role in the play calling than most teams at the 2A level. Hansell said he’s expecting both teams to throw on around half of their offensive plays, especially if the weather remains decent during the scheduled day game.
That offense has put most teams in a chokehold, but the TigerScot defense has acted as the killing blow with six shutouts to their name this season. They’ll also have the advantage of lining up across from a Knappa team that holds a similar look to the TigerScots they practice against every day.
“It’s one of those things where you are prepared and whether it’s offense or defense you are seeing the same type of schemes,” Hansell said. “That could play into our favor.”
Despite being located more than 300 miles apart, the squads share a common opponent in 2011. Competing at a neutral location in Irrigon, Knappa fell on Oct. 1 to the Blue Mountain Conference’s Enterprise 28-22, the same team Weston-McEwen shutout 37-0 last week to clinch the league title. Enterprise (5-3, 4-2 BMC) finished second in the conference and plays at Oakland (9-0, 7-0 MVC) on Saturday as well.
Hansell said he tries not to take opponent’s scores against common foes into account if many weeks have passed. It’s hard to learn too much from a game that happened over a month ago, he added.
“I know a lot has changed since then,” Hansell said. “We’ve changed a lot since our fourth game, I know that. We’ve got some new wrinkles in our game, so I’d expect that out of Knappa as well.”