SALEM — West Salem, the only team unbeaten in Special District 6 play, goes from one big game to another one this week.
Titans coach Shawn Stanley doesn’t want any let-up from his team (3-0 in league, 5-1 overall) after its 28-15 victory at home Saturday over Summit (3-1, 4-2).
McNary is 2-1, 5-1 going into its 7:15 p.m. Friday home game against the Titans.
“We’re not the kind of team that can just show up and win,” Stanley said. “We’ve got to be all in with our preparation.”
In the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A rankings, Summit (sixth) remains above West Salem (eighth), with Sprague 15th, South Salem 16th and McNary 18th.
“I was a little surprised we didn’t move ahead of Summit. I’m still trying to do the math to figure that one out,” Stanley said. “Especially since we beat Summit, we have one loss and they have two, and our loss was to (No. 3) Tualatin. But it is what it is.”
The top three teams at the end of the six-game SD-6 season go to the state playoffs automatically, and the 11 other highest-ranked teams from around the state will fill the rest of the 32-team bracket.
West Salem is in great shape to earn a playoff berth, but the rankings are important for what that berth would look like. So every remaining game is doubly important as the Titans also seek a league title.
Certainly the Summit game on Saturday was important.
The Titans took a 7-0 lead with 1:35 left in the first quarter on a seven-yard run by Johnny Withers.
Summit’s Ryan Powell broke off an 81-yard touchdown run less than a minute later, and the teams were tied after the opening quarter.
The Titans took the lead for good midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Brooks Ferguson’s six-yard run made the score 14-7.
After a safety by Summit, West Salem’s Zach Dodsen-Greene scored on a Ferguson pass of close to 40 yards with 25 seconds to go in the half. That gave the Titans a 21-9 advantage.
Withers added a one-yard touchdown run with 10:34 left in the game and finished with 21 carries for 115 yards.
Ferguson threw for another 115 yards.
“He’s maturing and getting better,” Stanley said. “He stepped up in the pocket and made throws. We’re going to need that down the stretch, when we can’t just line up against teams and say, ‘We’re going to run the ball down your throat.’”
Stanley said the Summit defense was “the best we’ve faced outside of Tualatin.”
The Titans’ defense was good, too, allowing a season-low 15 points.
McNary figures to be buoyed by its 21-13 win at South Salem on Friday.
The Celtics have a big-time weapon in Zane Aicher, a 5-11, 195-pound senior who is “one of the best if not the best all-around player in the conference, a go-to guy and running back who is an inspirational leader for them, too,” Stanley said.
Stanley missed Monday’s practice to tend to a family matter in Tacoma, Washington.
“I think it’s the first practice I’ve missed in 39 years of coaching,” he said.
But he plans to be ready on Friday, and hopes to see his team ready again, too.
“McNary has a lot of good athletes,” he said. “It’s going to be a physical battle. It always is when we play them.”