The OSAA Class 3A championship football game will be the only game this week to feature two unbeaten teams as No. 1 Kennedy plays No. 2 Cascade Christian.
It will also be a clash of styles. Cascade Christian has eclipsed 600 points this fall and is averaging 50.9 points per game offensively. Kennedy has the state’s best defense, allowing just 5.2 points per game.
The Class 3A title game will be on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Cottage Grove High School.
Take a look at the two teams competing in Saturday’s contest:
No. 1 Kennedy (12-0)
The Trojans were the Class 2A runner-up in 2021 and are back for their first shot at a 3A title.
And the strength of the team in 2022 has been the defense.
“They are fast and physical and give up very few points,” said Kennedy coach Joe Panuke. “We are stout against the run and can get after the quarterback on passing downs and have great coverage in the back end.”
After previously playing in Class 2A, Panuke said the Trojans returned a lot of talent from last season’s roster and felt confident that the team could be competitive in 3A.
“At any level things have to go your way to make a state title run,” he said. “You need to have a good draw, stay healthy, and execute at a high level week in and week out.”
In order to take home the state championship on Saturday, Panuke said the Trojans need to limit the big plays on defense and make Cascade Christian face long third downs. Offensively, he said Kennedy needs to take care of the ball and have a balanced attack.
No. 2 Cascade Christian (12-0)
For the Challengers, the key to the season has been selflessness.
“Each player has willingly given their time, commitment, effort and personal accolades for the betterment of the team,” coach Jon Gettman said.
Cascade Christian has had a balanced attack on offense. In the semifinal win over Dayton, the Challengers gained 261 rushing yards and 201 passing yards, a combination that has been impossible to stop this season.
While Cascade Christian has shown that it has a lot of weapons this fall, Gettman said he has been pleasantly surprised with the play of sophomore Drew Hall, who has made several big plays this season.
For the Challengers to come out of Saturday with the win, Gettman said the key will be winning the turnover battle and winning the line of scrimmage.
— Nik Streng, email@example.com, @NikStreng