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Mail Tribune football forecast

Friday, October 23

Klamath Union (1-5) at South Medford (0-6) Tonight, 7:30, at Spiegelberg Stadium Radio Broadcast 6:30 p.m. on KTMT (880-AM)

Each team views this game as its one legitimate shot at victory in the SOC, so emotions should run high. Panthers may need a win here to dodge their first winless season in school history. South must put the clamps on Klamath RB Danny King, who leads the SOC in rushing with 793 yards and 6 TDs. Panther offense could spring loose against KU defense that yields 426.8 yards and 43.8 points per game. South Medford by 7.

North Medford (4-2) at No. — Marshfield (6-0) Tonight, 7:30, at Coos Bay Radio broadcast 6:30 p.m. on KRTA (610-AM)

Injury-riddled Black Tornado could be in for a long night. Marshfield has won 42 straight regular-season games under veteran coach Kent Wigle. Pirates are rolling up a whopping 448 yards and more than 50 points per game. Running back Travis Burgher is Marshfield's most dangerous player: He averages 11 yards per carry and has scored 18 TDs in six games. If North Medford had its health and played an error-free game, it might be able to hang tough. But Tornado is missing a half-dozen starters and, more than anything, is trying to get healthy for its Nov. 6 matchup against Eagle Point that will likely determine a state-playoff berth. Marshfield by 28.

Roseburg (3-2) at Crater (3-3) Tonight, 7:30, at Dutch Meyer Stadium

Two of the most physical teams in the state prepare to slug it out in what should be a close game. Comets have a good shot at pulling upset if they can avoid turnovers -- their 19 giveaways lead the SOC -- and if QB Brent Foster can keep the Roseburg defense honest with an effective passing attack. Foster missed last week's win over Eagle Point with a bruised kidney but was cleared to play Monday. Roseburg by 7.

Eagle Point (2-4) at Grants Pass (4-2) Tonight, 7:30, at Mel Ingram Field Radio broadcast 6:30 p.m. on KOPE (103.5-FM)

Red-hot Cavemen take aim at fifth straight victory and appear destined to make the playoffs for the eighth time in 11 years. Anchored by inside linebackers Len Nuanez and Matt Major, GP's defense has fused into an ornery, knock-your-socks-off unit. In their last three SOC games, Cavers have shut out South Medford and yielded just one touchdown each to Crater and North Medford. Eagle Point will have trouble getting first downs, let alone touchdowns. Grants Pass by 27.

Phoenix (1-5) at North Valley (2-4) Tonight, 7, at Josephine County Fairgrounds, Grants Pass

Phoenix is going through growing pains with an inexperienced team. The Pirates haven't shown much offensive firepower, but seem to be improving week to week. Underclassmen Nick Metcalf, Bryan Monical, Chris Loftin and Bobby Dawson are gaining valuable experience. North Valley junior quarterback Luke Godfrey has been a bright spot in a bleak season for the Knights. North Valley by 8.

Hidden Valley (5-1) at Mazama (4-2) Tonight, 7, at Klamath Falls

Both teams enter with 4-0 Skyline records and the winner here should have a clear road to the conference championship. Hidden Valley boasts a powerful ground attack fueled by senior tailback Tim Orr. The Mustangs have a stingy rush defense, but haven't been tested through the air. Mazama comes off an impressive shutout of cross-town rival Henley. Senior running back Chad Hickel is the Vikings' biggest threat. Hickel had a 99-yard touchdown run against Henley to break open last week's game. Hidden Valley by 6.

Rogue River (1-5) at Lakeview (1-5) Tonight, 7

Both teams are looking for first Skyline victory. Rogue River has shown some offensive punch with quarterback Jarrod Garwood, fullback Tony Roberts and tight end Ron Wessels. The long bus trip east usually has a bad effect on teams. But Rogue River should be focused knowing this is a winnable game. Rogue River by 3.

Illinois Valley (5-1) at Henley (4-2) Tonight, 7, at Klamath Falls

In past seasons, this game would have little significance. Henley is a perennial Skyline power, while IV has been a cellar-dweller. But this year's game could decide a state-playoff berth for one of these squads. Coach Perry Sheehan has turned around the Cougars' program. Senior wingback Mike Melton has put up some big numbers on the ground, but so has Henley's Ryan Juhl. The Cougars don't have enough all-around talent to knock off the Hornets. Henley by 12.

St. Mary's (3-3) at Bonanza (2-4) Tonight, 7:30

St. Mary's was riding high until last week's 46-6 shellacking by Chiloquin. Bonanza was a state-playoff team last year and might be there again. Bonanza by 24.

Cascade Christian (1-5) at Chiloquin (4-2) Tonight, 7

Cascade Christian's offense finally awoke last week to the tune of 47 points against Gilchrist. This week we'll find out if the Challengers were on to something with their offense. Chiloquin by 18.

ELSEWHERE IN THE SCL: Lost River by 50 over Gilchrist, at Gilchrist.

Prospect (1-4) at Mapleton (5-1) Tonight, 7

Prospect should be well-rested since its game with Powers last week ended at halftime when trailing 82-14. It's time for Mapleton to begin playing other Class 2A schools and leave 8-man football to the 1A level. Mapleton by 35.

Butte Falls (0-5) at Elkton (4-1) Today, 4 p.m.

Butte Falls moved its best lineman Charlie McLauchlan into the backfield last week and he responded with a 70-yard touchdown run.

It's been a tough season for the Loggers, who had only 13 players in uniform last week, and that included freshmen. Elkton by 45.

ELSEWHERE IN THE SKYLINE A -- Camas Valley by 12 over Paisley, at Camas Valley; Days Creek by 25 over North Lake, at Silver Lake.

Southern Cal (5-2) at Oregon (5-1) Saturday, 3:30 p.m., at Eugene Radio broadcast — p.m. on KCMX (580-AM)

Ducks are still stinging from a 41-38 loss in overtime to UCLA. They are also nursing an assortment of injuries, including tailback Reuben Droughns' season-ending broken leg. USC tailback Chad Morton returns full time this week, and freshman phenom Carson Palmer is expected to make his first start at quarterback for SC. Ducks must be fired up early, play good defense and not let down to beat much-improved Trojans. Ducks may be distracted enough to get beat by a very dangerous USC team, which leads the Pac-10 in total defense and may have the best young talent in the league. USC by 7.

Oregon State (4-3) at Washington (4-2) Saturday, 12:30 p.m., at Seattle Radio broadcast 11:30 a.m. on KTMT (880-AM)

Beavers will try to rebound from a 28-7 loss to Arizona in one of the nastiest, unfriendly environments in the Pac-10. Washington should punish the Beavers.

But you never know how seriously the Huskies will take OSU. That's a coaching issue. Husky quarterback Brock Huard will pick Beavers apart after Washington running game softens up OSU defense. Washington by 28.

ELSEWHERE IN THE PAC-10 -- UCLA by 17 over California, at Cal; Arizona by 21 over Northeast Louisiana, at Arizona.

Willamette (4-2) at Southern Oregon (3-3) Saturday, — p.m., at Ashland Radio broadcast 12:30 p.m. on KOPE (103.5-FM)

Raiders have lost two of their last three games, including a 31-14 setback to Central Washington last Saturday in Ashland. Now, in comes 1997 NAIA national runner-up Willamette. To make playoffs, Raiders can't afford another loss. Former Ashland High receiver Tim Blair would love to come home and knock off Raiders. Bearcats learned to win big games away from home last year on the way to the NAIA national finals. That helps them here. Willamette by 3.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CFA -- Central Washington by 31 over Western Oregon, Humboldt State by 7 over Azusa Pacific.