ATHENA - Weston Mc-Ewen's TigerScots look to stay undefeated on the season in the Oregon state Class 2A semifinals against two-time defending state champion Scio as the 11-0 TigerScots butt heads with the 10-1 Loggers Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore., at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
Scio runs the double wing T almost to perfection, W-M coach Kenzie Hansell said, using its size and speed to pound the ball up the middle on the run.
The Loggers have only thrown the ball about 20 times this season.
"Scio knows what they do well and they're going to do it," W-M coach Kenzie Hansell said. "It has gotten them this far, back-to-back state championships, and why fix the wheel if it is not broken?"
Hansell attributes Scio's success to a good combination of speed and size. Still, he likes his TigerScots in the matchup.
"Speed-wise, I'd give us the advantage on both sides of the ball, but the game is going to come down to pad level," Hansell said. "We've got to make sure we keep our feet and get a push as much as we can. Our goal isn't to stop them, it is to slow them down. And we also need to take advantage of the opportunities that we get."
Hansell noted that the Astroturf in Hillsboro will be much kinder to the TigerScots than the thick mud of last week's playoff game in Mount Angel, Ore.
"Both offensively and defensively, the Astroturf should help," he said. "Having our footing, being able to fly around and raise havoc will be possible this week as compared to last week's mud. Last week, we couldn't run some of our formations in the weather."
TigerScot players know they will have to show up and play well to win.
"After watching film on Scio," linebacker and wide receiver Nick Lively said, "I think they're a beatable team. We will have to go out and hit. We can't come out lackadaisical and still win."
Scio brings in a high-scoring offense that beat Bonanza, 68-0, and Lost River, 50-0, in the opening round of the playoffs and in the quarterfinals.
The TigerScots bring in the No. 1-rated defense in Oregon's Class 2A ranks, having allowed just 62 points on the season.
And not to mention the high-flying, balanced attack of run and pass that the TigerScots possess on offense. W-M is averaging 43 points on offense over 11 games on the season.
The difference in the game could be who wants it more.
"Scio has a lot of heart and a lot of muscle," wide receiver and defensive end Jared Bond said. "They are strong kids, big kids, but I think we'll be able to win with our speed and heart. We've got a lot of heart, too."
The season's 11 victories have provided many memories for TigerScot players.
Bond remembers his first crack block bringing "oohs and ahhs" from the crowd in Dayton this season, and being checked for a concussion directly following the hit himself.
Lively recalls scoring four touchdowns in the game against Irrigon this season - two on offense and two on defense.
Both Bond and Lively have worked and played almost a decade of football for this chance at a state title, and they aren't about to let that chance slip by without a fight.
"Ever since I was teeny-tiny, I've played football," Bond said.
Lively remembers being dubbed by the parents as a team to watch in the coming years as a youngster in the Pendleton Pee-Wee football leagues on the Athena Bears.
Bond said he's enjoyed his entire football career as the TigerScots try to advance to the state championship game on Saturday.
"All of the time with my friends and coaches," Bond said, "hanging out and being there, forgetting about everything else that is going on besides football. Even though football is dirty, muddy and hard-hitting, it is super relaxing and it's really nice to be out there doing what we all love and having fun."