High School football game preview capsules

Thursday’s games

McMinnville at West Salem, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio

West Salem (5-0 Greater Valley Conference, 5-1 overall) has a tough schedule to finish the regular season with McMinnville (3-2 GVC), South Salem, (2-3 GVC) and McNary (4-2 GVC) the rest of the way. The Titans have made a huge and important jump in the OSAA’s power rankings to No. 6 in the past few weeks. West Salem has a tough road to win the GVC championship, but the league crown is in their control.

West Salem's Jared Oliver looks for an opening as the Titans fall to Sheldon 35-8 in a non-league game on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

West Salem’s Jared Oliver looks for an opening as the Titans fall to Sheldon 35-8 in a non-league game on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

South Salem at McKay, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio on KBZY 1490 AM; television on CCTV at 11:59 p.m.

It’s been a tough few weeks for South Salem. The Saxons (2-3 GVC, 2-4 overall) have lost three straight and proved vulnerable in last week’s 23-22 loss to North Salem with an injury depleted lineup. A McKay (1-4 GVC, 1-5 overall) team that is still trying to earn respect can go a long way towards that with a win against the team that won the last two league championships.

North Salem at Sprague, 7 p.m.

On the air: Television on CCTV2 at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

There is no doubt that the Olympians (4-1 GVC, 5-1 overall) are one of the hottest teams in the state, but the Vikings (2-4 GVC) are coming off their biggest victory in years in winning the Mayor’s Trophy last week and showed significant defensive improvement.

West Albany at McNary, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio on KSHO 920 AM.

This is one of those games that could determine which team makes the state playoffs automatically and which one has to get in on its power rankings.

Central at Lebanon, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio on KAJC 90.1 FM and KGAL 1580 AM.

The good news for Central (3-0 Mid-Willamette Conference, 4-2 overall) is that they are getting healthy and should have back starters like Marlon Tuipulotu and Alvin Berroa after missing them the past few games, and that the Panthers have won four straight despite missing some of their stars. The bad news is Lebanon (3-0 MWC, 6-0 overall) is one of the top teams in the state and this game will likely determine the league championship.

Corvallis at Dallas, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio on KYKN 1430 AM.

Any lingering doubts about whether Dallas (2-1 MWC, 5-1 overall) is for real were erased after last week’s 35-14 win against South Albany, but the Dragons can’t get complacent against anybody, even a 1-5 Corvallis team.

South Albany at Silverton, 7 p.m.

On the air: Radio on

There have been two versions of the Foxes (2-2 MWC, 4-2 overall), the version that started the season 2-0 and won its past two games and the version that lost two close games to start the league season. A win in this game would pretty much put the Foxes in the state playoffs.

North Marion at Stayton, 7 p.m.

Last summer no one would have predicted this game would be for the Oregon West Conference championship. Yet both teams are 2-0 in the league and tied for the top spot with only this game and next week left in the regular season.

Taft at Santiam Christian, 7 p.m.

This game between the Eagles (2-1 West Valley, 4-2 overall) and Tigers (2-2 WVL, 3-3 overall) should determine which team gets into the state playoffs automatically and which has to hope their power ranking is good enough.

Gervais at Jefferson, 7 p.m.

This should be a close game between evenly matched Cougars (1-2 PacWest Conference, 2-4 overall) and Lions (1-3 PWC, 2-4 overall).

Sheridan at Salem Academy, 7 p.m.

This non-league game seems inconsequential, but Salem Academy (4-2) needs to keep the momentum up after defeating its past two opponent by a combined score of 119-0.

Friday’s games

Woodburn at The Dalles, 7 p.m.

These are the two independent Class 5A teams this season, but Woodburn (2-4) is the first 5A opponent for The Dalles.

Willamina at Dayton, 7 p.m.

Willamina (1-2 West Valley, 3-3 overall) has made progress with wins against Gervais and Horizon Christian the last few weeks, but playing the No. 2 ranked team in the state in 6-0 Dayton is a completely different test.

Scio at Blanchet Catholic

Where: McCulloch Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

This is a game of strengths: Scio (4-0 PacWest, 6-0 overall) has the No. 3 scoring offense in Class 3A delivering an average of 46.6 points per game; Blanchet (2-1 PWC, 4-2 overall) has the No. 2 scoring defense in Class 3A by holding opponents to an average of 5.8 points per game.

Chemawa at Colton, 7 p.m.

The Braves (0-3 PacWest, 0-4 overall) are still trying to score their first points this season and with Blanchet and Scio to finish out the season this may be the team’s best opportunity.

Regis at Central Linn, 7 p.m.

Regis (1-0 Tri-River, 4-2 overall) is newly minted as No. 1 in the OSAA’s power rankings, but make no mistake about Central Linn. The Cobras may be 0-2 in the Tri-River and 2-4 overall, but they are a dangerous team that could go winless the rest of the way and still make the state playoffs.

St. Paul at Kennedy, 7 p.m.

Yes, the Buckaroos (1-0 Tri-River, 4-1 overall) have won four straight, but this league game against the Trojans (1-1 TRC, 5-1 overall) will be its best test yet.

Santiam at Gaston, 7 p.m.

The Wolverines (5-1) get to regroup after their first loss of the season, and this will be a good chance for them to demonstrate of what they’re really capable.

Triangle Lake at Falls City, 7 p.m.

This is the final game in 1A Special District 3 West Division for the Mountaineers (3-0 SD3, 3-3 overall) and a win against the Lakers would help the team’s postseason outlook.