Ready to go

Marshfield’s possible path to the Class 4A football championship is going to involve some heavyweights along the way.

The top-ranked and unbeaten Pirates host Henley at 6 p.m. Friday at Pete Susick Stadium, hoping to reach the semifinals next weekend, a game that would be played at a neutral site.

The Hornets are 9-1 and finished second in the Skyline League behind defending state champion Mazama. That is one of two teams that could be waiting for Marshfield in the semifinals, the other being Banks, which three times recently knocked Marshfield out of the playoffs.

First up, though, is trying to crack the stout defense of Henley, which has only given up more than two touchdowns once, the 41-14 loss to Mazama back on Oct. 1.

Of course Marshfield’s offense has been soaring. The Pirates scored at least 43 points in all but two outings this year — a 35-20 win over Mazama in the season opener and an 18-8 win over Prairie High School of Washington two weeks later.

Marshfield is coming off a 43-0 shutout of Madras in the opening round.

In the other quarterfinal on Marshfield’s side of the bracket, Mazama faces Banks at Beaverton High School on Saturday.

Mazama lost to Marshfield and No. 2 Cascade early in the season before coming on with seven straight wins.

Banks, meanwhile, also has won seven in a row since its only loss, to Estacada back on Sept. 10.

The Braves knocked Marshfield out in the first round of the 2019 season on the way toward the championship game, which they lost to La Grande. Banks also beat Marshfield in the 2018 semifinals at Cottage Grove before winning the title and topped Marshfield in 2016. All three of those games were decided by a single score.

On the other half of the Class 4A bracket, Marist Catholic faces Cascade on Friday at Scio High School in a rematch from an earlier game when the Cougars handed the Spartans one of their two losses, the other coming to Marshfield in the Sky-Em League finale.

The other quarterfinal game is another rematch, featuring No. 3 seed Estacada, which is unbeaten like Marshfield and Cascade, and La Grande, which suffered its only loss at the hands of the Rangers back on Sept. 23.

La Grande was not selected for the final four by the coaches during the spring season, when the postseason was not sponsored by the Oregon School Activities Association. Mazama beat Marist Catholic for the title and Marshfield topped Gladstone for third place. 

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