A nonleague trip to Illinois Valley was just what Bandon’s football team needed to get some momentum heading into a road game against one of the top teams in Class 2A.
The Tigers beat the Cougars 48-22 last week, outscoring Illinois Valley each quarter in a good offensive showing.
"Overall, we played well," Bandon coach Aaron Freitag said. "The guys played hard and worked together.
"The O was in sync with minimal mistakes and the D played tough and physical.
Now they will look for similar offensive output while hoping to slow Toledo’s potent offense when they visit the Boomers on Friday night in a key Sunset Conference game.
Since Bandon already lost to Coquille, the Tigers need to beat the Boomers to get one of the league's two guaranteed playoff sports.
"We need to be the more physical team on Friday and pound the ball," Freitag said. "Controlling the clock and not getting penalties will be important.
"Defensively, we need to put pressure on the QB and force him to throw the ball quick. We have to force turnovers and capitalize on them."
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The Tigers never trailed against the Cougars after Brynn Green scored on a 2-yard run just less than four minutes into the game. Wyatt Dyer added the first of three touchdowns with 3:41 to go in the first on a 13-yard run
By the end of the night, he had added scoring runs of 6 and 66 yards and quarterback Bryadon Freitag had a 66-yard TD run of his own, along with a touchdown pass to Coby Smith for 20 yards. Shaun White scored Bandon’s other touchdown from 9 yards out.
Dyer finished the night with 178 rushing yards and Freitag ran for 106 yards and White 52. Green added 46 yards as the Tigers ran for more than 380.
With the running game so successful, Freitag only passed nine times, connecting four times (three to Smith) for 74 yards.
Toledo figures to provide a stout challenge for Bandon, though. The Boomers pounded Gold Beach 64-16 and have moved back up to No. 1 in the OSAA power rankings (Coquille is No. 2).
Last year, a win over Toledo sparked Bandon’s run to second place in the Sunset Conference and a second trip to the playoffs. They would love a similar effort this year.
"Everyone is aware of what's at stake," Aaron Freitag said. "Hopefully we all rise to the challenge."
Bandon is up to No. 17 in the power rankings, meaning the Tigers still can move up enough to get an at-large bid to the playoffs if they don’t finish first or second. The top two teams in each league plus the four highest-ranked teams that aren’t first or second in their league. Entering this week, only one team ranked outside the top 16 is in first or second place — No. 19 Grant Union.