South Salem carries an 8-1 record into the first round of the OSAA Class 6A football state playoffs, just a win away from the quarterfinals.
It’s a new playoff setup this season with just 16 teams in the 6A championship bracket, and the Saxons open at 7 p.m. Friday at Sherwood in the Statesman Journal Game of the Week.
South Salem finished No. 8 in the OSAA rankings, and Sherwood was No. 11.
However, Sherwood is the home team as the No. 8 seed, with the Saxons at No. 9 because Sherwood won the Pacific Conference.
“Was definitely disappointed to see us not have a first round home game,” South Salem senior quarterback Daschel Smith said. “But we’ll take it in stride, and we know we can win tough games on the road.”
The Saxons are 3-0 on the road this season, and 5-1 at home. That includes the win over Roseburg, which was moved to South Salem because of poor air quality in Roseburg.
South Salem is scoring 41.6 points per game this season, which is fourth-most in the state at 6A, behind Sheldon, West Linn and Jesuit.
Smith has completed 69% of his passes for 2,783 yards, 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The Saxons are allowing 17.2 points per game, which is third-best in Special District 1, behind Sheldon and North Salem.
Sherwood is 7-2 this season, with losses to Clackamas and Jesuit. Sherwood is 3-1 at home.
Sherwood is scoring 32.8 points per game, and allowing 18.8 points per game.
With a victory, South Salem would advance to the state quarterfinals against the winner of No. 1 West Linn and No. 16 Grant.
“Sherwood has been really, really good this year and it’ll be a test for us,” Smith said. “It’s only gonna get harder. If we do our job, stop the run and protect up front, it’s going to be a fun game competing with this team.”
Class 6A — championship bracket
Grant at West Linn, 7 p.m.
South Salem at Sherwood, 7 p.m.
South Medford at Central Catholic, 6 p.m.
Tigard at Jesuit, 7 p.m.
Grants Pass at Tualatin, 7 p.m.
Nelson at Mountainside, 7 p.m.
North Medford at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m.
Barlow at Sheldon, 7 p.m.
Class 6A — Columbia Cup
Reynolds at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Clackamas at Roosevelt, 7 p.m.
North Salem at Newberg, 7 p.m.
McMinnville at Jefferson, 7 p.m.
Ida B. Wells at Oregon City, 7 p.m.
Sandy at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.
Sunset at Sprague, 7 p.m.
Century at Westview, 7 p.m.
Hood River Valley at Summit, 7 p.m.
Eagle Point at Central, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Putnam, 7 p.m.
West Albany at Thurston, 7 p.m.
Hillsboro at Bend, 7 p.m.
Mountain View at South Albany, 7 p.m.
Springfield at Silverton, 7 p.m.
North Eugene at Wilsonville, 7 p.m.
Seaside at Mazama, noon Saturday
Marshfield at Scappoose, 7 p.m.
Junction City at Estacada, 7 p.m.
Crook County at Henley, 7 p.m.
Gladstone at Marist, 7 p.m.
Woodburn at Tillamook, 7 p.m.
Stayton at Pendleton, 7 p.m.
Cascade at La Grande, 6 p.m.
Lakeview at Kennedy, 7 p.m.
Siuslaw at Vale, 1 p.m. Saturday
St. Mary’s at Santiam Christian, 7 p.m.
Sisters at Banks, 6 p.m.
Yamhill-Carlton at South Umpqua, 7 p.m.
Coquille at Dayton, 7 p.m.
Warrenton at La Pine, 1 p.m. Saturday
Ontario at Cascade Christian, 7 p.m.
Clatskanie at Oakland, 7 p.m.
Umatilla at Nestucca, 1 p.m. Saturday
Bandon at Regis, 7 p.m.
Monroe at Heppner, noon Saturday
Toledo at Colton, 7 p.m.
Taft at Gold Beach, 7 p.m.
Culver at Weston-McEwen, 1 p.m. Saturday
Knappa at Lowell, 1 p.m. Saturday
Class 1A (8-player)
Camas Valley at Perrydale, 1 p.m. Saturday
Sherman at Myrtle Point, 1 p.m. Saturday
Dufur at Adrian, noon
Cove at Enterprise, 6 p.m.
Class 1A (6-player)
Eddyville Charter at Powers, 1 p.m. Saturday
Siletz Valley at Spray/Mitchell/Wheeler, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Elkton at South Wasco County, 1 p.m. Saturday
Prairie City at Triangle Lake, 1 p.m. Saturday