PHS football: Brody Hiner

Brody Hiner

Hey Warriors fans, today is Friday, Sept. 13.

For those who haven’t noticed, the Philomath High football schedule features only three home games. At least, that’s the case as we head into the season.

It’s a topic that I wanted to bring up with head coach Tony Matta, who doubles as the high school’s athletic director. Basically, Philomath obviously should have four home games but the Warriors gave up one of them — it was to be against Elmira — to help with a 4A scheduling issue.

As a result, Philomath will travel to Madras on Sept. 20 in Week 3 to play against McLoughlin. The Warriors were among the schools that stepped in to help a Class 4A scheduling issue.

“We should have four but we gave up a home game for what would’ve been Elmira,” Matta said. “We’re playing McLoughlin in Madras in Week 3 and that was essentially a bunch of teams revamped their schedule a little bit when McLoughlin went independent.”

Greater Oregon League schools responded that it’s not realistic to play McLoughlin twice as if they were still in the conference.

“A bunch of teams made some sacrifices and we were one of those,” Matta said. “I actually like that trip because when we in the playoffs, I don’t want that to be the first time we’re on a bus for three or four hours.”

Making that sacrifice, Matta said, is just a one-year commitment. Siuslaw, the team Philomath plays tonight, is among the schools that agreed to play McLoughlin. The Vikings will also play them in Madras.

By the way, Philomath and Elmira will still play at the junior varsity level.

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Right now, Philomath’s schedule also shows eight games. But Matta said no matter how the season unfolded, the Warriors will add a ninth — and he hopes it will be at Clemens Field.

Last year, Matta did have a ninth game on the schedule. Philomath had been mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration last in the season and students had their minds set on going up against rival Cascade in the season finale.

“I had teams reach out to us last year interested in potentially playing a ninth game,” Matta said. “I met with the kids and they really felt like, ‘hey, we were eliminated last week, we really want to finish with that rivalry game.”

This year, the athletes know that the ninth game will be played. It could be a play-in game or just another game added when the dust clears on what potential opponents are doing.

“It’s on the calendar as to be determined and we’ll determine if it’s a play-in or just an additional game but that week of practice, we need that experience for our young guys,” Matta said.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the next game.

— Brad Fuqua, Philomath Express

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