Bandon’s football team was hard at work Monday. That was especially good this week, since it means the Tigers are in the playoffs.
Bandon, which finished the regular season with a 48-12 loss to Sunset Conference champion Gold Beach last week, is the No. 14 seed for the class 2A playoffs.
The Tigers face Knappa at 1 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be played at CMH Field in Astoria.
“I’m so excited,” first-year Bandon Coach Aaron Freitag said as he watched his team run through its offensive playbook. “I don’t think anybody thought we’d be here.
“Of course it was always the goal. The ultimate goal is the championship.”
Making the playoffs this year is a positive stretch in that direction, especially with how young Bandon is. The Tigers have just three seniors and a bunch of the role players are freshmen and sophomores. There’s another good group due at the high school next fall.
“This is good for our young guys and the eighth-graders coming in,” Freitag said.
Beating Knappa would take an incredible team effort. The Loggers are a perfect 8-0 and have given up just 53 points all season, with three shutouts.
“I’m just going about it like it’s another week,” Freitag said. “We’re preparing the same way.”
That includes cleaning up some of the offensive mistakes that surfaced during Friday’s game at Gold Beach, when the Tigers stayed tough through the first half before falling back in the final two quarters.
Bandon got two touchdowns — on passes from Braydon Freitag to Brennan Boston and Cayton Sinay.
The Tigers also got a big boost with the return of Darian Phommaphat, who had missed several games with a bone chip on his foot.
“He made a pretty good statement on defense,” Aaron Freitag said.
Phommaphat, who rejoins his twin brother Donavin roaming the defensive backfield and as a receiving and running threat on offense, had two interceptions and a number of tackles against the Panthers.
“I’m glad he’s back,” Donavin said. “At first, he was a little sore. As the game went on, he felt more comfortable.”
Donavin also was excited to be going to the football playoffs for the first time.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’m proud of this group.
“This is real big for our seniors and real good experience for our freshmen.”
The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the quarterfinals, where they will face either Oakland or Gold Beach. Those two teams meet Friday in Gold Beach.
Sunset Conference runner-up Reedsport is on the road at Santiam for the first round Friday.