Wetview moves down in its division, while West Albany moves up to highlight the state championships for Cheerleading, which begins the Winter series of state events. Also, Benson's varsity basketball team gets quizzed on its awareness of social issues.
Oregon's big foray into the college football signing day phenomenon actually happened five days late - or later - in terms of news the rest of the nation could focus on.
Monday, the Ducks extended the contract of head coach Mark Helfrich to the 2020 season, with the specifics being $17.5 million over five seasons. Oregon put a tattoo on its coach for the rest of the decade, unless he wants to bolt for the NFL - and the $3 million buyout. Doesn't seem likely, though.
Then, later in the day, the Ducks announced they had landed Vernon Adams, the three-year starting quarterback at FCS power Eastern Washington, as a potential replacement for Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
Adams joins a crowded group - at least until someone transfers - of players awaiting their shot at becoming the next standout at Autzen Stadium.
Adams threw for more than 10,000 yards while guiding the Eagles on their red turf. He'll graduate from EWU in June, then be able to join the Oregon football team in time to get ready for another run at a national title.
COLUMN: Timbers show great potential for televised entertainment in win
March 12, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Wow, did the Portland Timbers completely dominate the Philadelphia Union in their season opener Monday at Jeld-Wen Field.
After conceding an early second-half goal, they sent ball after ball up the left and right flanks and created scoring opportunity after opportunity, which turned into a goal midway through the half. And, then another goal. And then another, each of the three being sent home by a different player. With all the chances the team was creating, you could sense the urgency of other team members to get in on the feeding frenzy.
"I want mine, too, dammit!"
Especially as the goals were all scored in front of the rabid Timbers Army.
What might make the goals fabulous for the non-rabid fans is how they were scored - through those constant attacks, something Philadelphia just couldn't counter. The Union had a steady ball-control mentality, which regularly directed the ball backward, away from where it needed to go to score. This regularly happens with matches televised by ESPN or another sports channel.
Ball control might be sound soccer, but it's not so enjoyable to watch. The Timbers just shellacked the steady ball-control offense with its lightning quick outside midfielders, and, of course, Scottish newbie Kris Boyd.
What a game to be at, even in the constant rain. The people with the best seats all got absolutely soaked.
Boyd, in just two games - one a preseason affair, has put an offensive jolt into the Timbers, one that has to have the rest of the league taking notice. He scored tons of goals in Scotland, but Scotland isn't a truly memorable country on the European club stage. Every goal he scores is going to lift the prestige of Scottish soccer.
And, he's great at celebrating. All the Timbers are. Monday's game was a fabulous event for photographers, myself included, as the goals were celebrated wildly in front of the Timbers Army. "Wildly" means emotion, which is great for photos.
The team seems ready to provide plenty of good emotion shots this season.
EPISODE 1: What if he just played with pain, a lot of pain?
March 5, 2012 / By Kokoma Ika and Cliff Pfenning
As much as the public can make fun of Greg Oden's career, or cringe at the thought of Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge playing alongside one another, or even shake a fist at the NBA Salary structure that has paid out so much for potential, you have to feel a little for the guy.
If there's one thing worse than playing poorly, it's not playing at all.
And, Portland seems to have given up on him, or at least his knees.
If the only future career he's going to have in Portland is fictitious, here's our version:
THE BIG HURT
Written by Kokoma Ika and Cliff Pfenning
THE ICE MAN RETURNETH
INT. ROSE GARDEN (OUTSIDE LOCKER ROOM) - MID-MORNING
BLAZE, The official Portland Trail Blazers mascot, paces back and forth, in front of the Blazers locker room as a package delivery driver walks up, looks both ways, then hands him an envelope.
CLOSE-UP - ENVELOPE
In huge block letters - VAIL COLORADO ORTHOPEDIC CENTER - is stamped in the left hand corner. In the center, Greg Oden.
Blaze looks around and sees no one. He opens the package and pulls out a plain brown 9 X 12 envelope with X-RAY written in block letters in the center. He frees the clasp and pulls out a single sheet of medical information, which he holds up to a light.
He stares at the X-RAY for a moment, then puts it back into the envelope. His head slumps as he heads for the door to the locker room.
INT. WEIGHT ROOM - CONTINUOUS
GREG ODEN, a 7-foot, 285-pound basketball player, pedals vigorously on a stationary bike. He watches a television showing a replay of the 2007 NCAA final between Ohio State and Florida. A determined focus, a driven stare, occupies his demeanor. Sweat cascades down his face.
A BLAZER TRAINER enters and heads straight over to Oden.
BLAZER TRAINER Man, you were a beast in that game. I love the dunk that’s about to come up.
Greg slows down his pace, wipes his brow, and stops pedaling.
GREG ODEN (smiles) Those were good times...
BLAZER TRAINER Seen anything yet?
GREG ODEN Just 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
BLAZER TRAINER A delivery guy is supposed to be here soon.
He points at Oden’s knees
Make sure you ice those down when you’re done.
GREG ODEN The ice machine. I’m about ready to give it a first name.
The Blazer Trainer walks away. Oden grabs the remote control off a stool next to him and increases the volume on the TV. He pedals harder and harder as the game nears its conclusion with Florida winning. As Florida celebrates, Blaze appears. Oden slows down and stops.
Blaze walks over to Oden and pauses for one second, two seconds, three seconds. Then, he hands Oden the envelope.
GREG ODEN That bad, huh?
Oden takes hold of the envelope so the contents can slide out. He raises the X-RAY to the light and takes a deep breath. Then, he looks down at his knees.
GREG ODEN Man, the media is going to eat this up. Sports radio is gonna eat this up. My agent’s gonna hate me.
This probably won’t even make Sportscenter.
He glances back down at his knees.
GREG ODEN Why do you guys hate me so much?
Oden looks fixedly at Blaze.
GREG ODEN Hey, get me some ice...
He casts his attention away for a moment, then looks back at Blaze scooping ice out of the ice machine.
GREG ODEN Those guys from 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, you think their knees hurt after a game? Moses. Kareem. Mikan. Wilt. Those guys probably would’ve thought a micro-fracture was something that happened to a pencil. You think Bill Russell ever missed a season because his knees hurt? Or his team sat him down because he was an investment? He probably would have told some writer the team didn’t want him to play because it didn’t want to sell tickets. Then, he would’ve put on a jersey, walked onto the court and grabbed 30 rebounds. Walton had major problems and he still won a title.
What if I just played?
I gave myself the summer to heal as much as possible from this ...
He picks up the X-ray and glares at it.
... and then just played? I get paid whether I play or not. Think they’ll sit me out because I grind my teeth when I run? Or I look like a convict when I’m not on the bench with ice on my knees? That would be a look for those point guards coming down the lane. “Hey boy, you don’t want to be coming down here because I’m not a center, I’m a defensive tackle! So you just stay out there in three-point land!”
Blaze looks at him and shakes his head
GREG ODEN What? You saying I can’t act?
The public would love me do death if I get on the court, even if I had to play with ice bags on my knees instead of knee pads.
Oden shakes his head slightly and grins
GREG ODEN I could run for President if I could play 10 games. “Ice Man!” I already got my nickname.
He fixes his stare intently at Blaze.
GREG ODEN I know. There’s already an “Ice Man” in the Hall. “The Ice Man Returneth!” Sports Illustrated cover right there. Refrigerator companies will be begging to get me as a spokesman.
His head slumps, he looks at the floor and then back at Blaze. Blaze shoots a look back at him and tips his head down slightly.
GREG ODEN Think I can do it? Ten games? If I could just play ten games. All those surgeries. All that time off. I bet no one even remembers the last time I played. I barely remember.
You know, I have 41 different suits - one for each home game I can’t play in.
Blaze shakes his head slightly
GREG ODEN Yes, I’m only using 33 this season. I don’t want to wear those suits at games. I want to suit up in Nike, not Armani.
If I could just play 10 games, I’ll bet they’d make a movie about me. You know that football movie ... “Rudy”? That guy didn’t play 10 games.
Oden gets off the exercise bike and walks gingerly to a nearby couch and sits down. Blaze returns with two large bags of ice. Oden puts them on his knees.
GREG ODEN If I could just play 10 games. We could pick the games, too. Home games. Important home games. Why do I need to play against the Hornets or Bobcats ... or the Spurs when they sit their starters? The team really only needs me for big home games and the playoffs.
They could sell it as a 10-game package. We could make it a big deal when I do play. Tweet to the world - Oden on the floor tonight! I could appear ... yeah ... like a bullfighter! My own dance team ... “The Odenettes!”
They could dress like nurses!
Blaze looks at the floor and puts his paw over his eyes Oden pauses and rubs his forehead with the back of one hand.
GREG ODEN I had this dream the other night where the inside of my house had been transformed into the ice planet Hoth. And, this tall dude walks in and over to me and ... and it’s Wilt. He says to me, “Greg, I am your father.”
Oden looks at Blaze and shakes his head
GREG ODEN This not playing is killing me. I’m goin’ nuts. I gotta get on the court. Play in front of people. Talk to reporters while I’m still sweating. Get a highlight on Sportscenter! There’s barely any centers in the league anymore. I could be an All-Star on 10 games.
Man, I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna play no matter how much it kills me. Ten games. We can film it as a documentary and then donate the proceeds from the DVD to a charity that helps kids walk.
Blaze and Oden stare at each other. Then Oden looks away and slowly shakes his head.
GREG ODEN Gonna play. I’m gonna play. Man, I’m gonna play. Ten games. I’ll get my face back on that grain elevator across the street from the Garden.
Oden looks back at Blaze
GREG ODEN Hey, tonight, get me a photo of Wilt and one of Russell. And Walton. And the name of his surgeon. We don’t want that guy. And, look up the history of ice ... get me some background so I can dazzle all those bloggers who work out the salary cap in their Cheerios.
”The Ice Man Returneth.”
I’ve got a college buddy who can start that onto the web.
Blaze nods his head slightly
GREG ODEN My body is gonna hurt like hell, but I’m gonna play.
Blaze holds the envelope forward and slowly rips it in two. Then he and Oden clasp forearms.
GREG ODEN I’ll ask Obama to be my VP. He can do that, you know?
John Warren left a significant mark on the state's sports landscape
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
John Warren built the Astoria High basketball program into a state power, helped coach the University of Oregon to the 1939 NCAA title and earned the nickname “Honest John” during a three-decade coaching career at the school.
Born in LaGrande in 1904, Warren excelled as an athlete in football, eventually earning a spot on the University of Oregon roster in 1926 and ’27, each of which went 2-4-1.
After graduating with a business degree, Warren moved to Astoria, became basketball coach and led the Fishermen to a second-place finish at the state tournament in 1929. Astoria then won state titles in 1930, ’32, ’34 and ’35, using Warren’s up-tempo style, which contradicted the established style of play during the era of the center jump following every basket.
After the ’35 title, new Oregon coach Howard Hobson recruited him to Eugene and Astoria standouts Bobby Anet, Wally Johansen and Ted Sarpola followed. Anet and Johansen were two of the starters on the 1939 NCAA Tournament championship team.
During World War II, Warren coached the Oregon football team to a 2-6 record in 1942 and the basketball team to a 30-15 record and third-place finish in the NCAA Tournament West Regional in 1944-45.
Warren officially took over for Hobson in 1947 and guided the Ducks for four seasons, serving as an assistant on the football team for two of those seasons.
Warren coached track and field as an assistant at Oregon into the 1950s, when he became a business owner in Eugene. He helped raise funds for the school to build Autzen Stadium and later helped create a Hall of Fame for the UO athletic department, contributing numerous historic photos to the school library.
Warren fathered Charlie Warren, who became an athletic standout in Eugene and the University of Oregon as a basketball player.
John and Charlie Warren were inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
John Warren was inducted to the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Former Grant standout makes waves nationally at UNLV
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
If you remember prep standout Mike Moser of Grant and followed him only casually, you probably remember him landing at UCLA two years ago.
He stayed there a year.
He showed up on the national radar this week, though, at UNLV after the Runnin' Rebels beat North Carolina over the weekend in the championship game of a tourney in Las Vegas.
Moser had 16 points and 18 rebounds in the 90-80 win and was named national Player of the Week by ESPN. Wednesday, he went off for 34 points and 10 rebounds in a 94-88 double-overtime win at UC Santa Barbara.
Not too shabby for someone who basically disappeared at UCLA.
It's great to see the accolades for a person who is now in the same draft class as former Jefferson standout Terrence Jones, regarded as one of the top players in the nation by numerous sources. Moser might not yet be in the same class as Jones in terms of pro potential, but he's making some great strides and putting up numbers that'll keep him moving there. Wednesday, he hit five three-pointers.
Moser left Grant as something of a raw talent, a player who could score and play defense, but mostly because he was taller and had longer arms than opponents. He hadn't yet grown into the muscular player who could handle opponents near a basket, on offense or defense. That seems to have changed.
What makes Moser's strides most notable is that he's in a different class in terms of reputation for a lot of people who knew both players in North and Northeast Portland. Moser played on both ends of the court, while Jones regularly didn't cross mid-court to play defense as a junior or senior. Jefferson still won the state title both seasons, but that only made those people close to the teams it beat angrier with his apparent lack of interest.
Moser didn't play that way - give some credit to his coach Tony Broadous for that.
Now that UNLV is ranked in the Top 25 and is 8-0 with potential, Moser is likely to start drawing some comparisons to Jones as both are small forwards in the NBA. Jones might be the better player, currently, but Moser might be the hungrier player and that has a way of turning into a longer career.
Oregon State can rule the rivalry for years with an upset
Imagine the state of disbelief University of Oregon fans will be in if Oregon State were able to somehow win in Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
Oregon State. The Beavers. The team that lost to Sacramento State this seaon.
Oregon was on a path to the national championship game until its 38-35 loss to Southern Cal Saturday in Eugene and now needs a win over the Beavers to secure its spot in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game, which would be played at Autzen, Dec. 2. A win in the title game will boost the Ducks into the Rose Bowl, Jan. 2, which would be the program's third straight appearance in a BCS Bowl Game under coach Chip Kelly.
OSU was on a path to getting creamed by the Ducks, but got some momentum going with a 38-21 win over Washington at Reser Stadium Saturday, beating the Huskies by the same margin as the Ducks did earlier in the season, 17 (34-17). Quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 339 yards and receiver James Rodgers became the school's all-time leading receiver with 222.
Oregon struggled with turnovers against USC, with three, including two inside the Trojans' 20-yard line. Trailing 38-20 in the fourth quarter, though, the Ducks were able to rally and nearly tie the game with a field goal in the final seconds.
A loss Saturday would drop Oregon out of the Pac-12 title game and into a second-tier bowl game, and be a historic/legendary win for Oregon State.
Game time Saturday is 12:30 p.m., with ABC set to cover the Ducks for the third straight week.
Beavers get bumped to third in state's football rankings
It's Fan Appreciation Day at Reser Stadium in Corvallis Saturday, and that'll be especially true this season as the Oregon State football team tries to build some momentum for the Civil War next week with a win over Washington.
The Beavers, who enter the game just 2-8, beat Northwest rival Washington State earlier in the season, so a win over Washington would be another small bit of inspiration heading to Eugene to play the BCS-bound Ducks, Nov. 26.
Oregon State's season has been such a struggle that local fans are starting to look at Portland State, which is 8-2 in FCS play, as being the second-best team in the state, especially after the Beavers opened the season with an overtime loss to Sacramento State of FCS.
The Oregon State-Washington game begins at noon.
Saturday is a rarity in which all three Oregon Div. I teams play at home.
Portland State is host to Weber State at 1 p.m. in a must-win game for the Vikings if they have any chance of reaching the FCS playoffs. It's also a chance to win nine games in coach Nigel Burton's second season.
No. 4 Oregon plays host to Southern Cal at 5 p.m. in a nationally-televised game, which the Ducks need to not only win, but win convincingly to impress Eastern voters in the build-up to a BCS title game dependent on Oklahoma State losing to Oklahoma next week.