Eagles Continue to Fly

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Shawn King stiff-arms an Aiea opponent during a preseason game.

Rhys Atkinson, Staff Writer

The Eagle football team has soared to a five-game win streak since their 50-48 loss to the Oregon City Pioneers in week three. Their most recent wins include a 46-40 nail-biter against the Barlow Bruins in week seven, and a 24-12 win against the Reynolds Raiders. 

A win Friday at Clackamas would give the Eagles at least a tie for their first league title since 2009.

Considering the fact that the Bruins were a winless team , the Eagles went into the Barlow game sleeping. Going into week seven, the Eagles were comfortably placed at the 10 spot in statewide rankings, but beating a team that has yet to win a game by only six in overtime will only result in the team decreasing in the ranks. In week eight the Eagles were ranked 14th in the state.

On the other hand, the Eagles handled the Raiders on senior night last week which increased their rank to the 11 spot. This Friday the Eagles play the Clackamas Cavaliers in search of the conference title, their first in seven years. The Cavaliers, a very defensive team while only allowing 170 points this season, ranks first in the Mount Hood Conference, and will be a tough game for the Eagles. However, Centennial leads the MHC in points scored with 340 on the season. Of course, offense doesn’t win games.

“If our special teams are sound, and we play great defense then we can seal the deal, and win a conference championship,” explained Head Coach Chris Knudsen.

It’s easy to say that the winner of this week’s game will come down to whoever wants it more judging by the fact that the Eagles are an offensive powerhouse and the Cavaliers are very sound defensively.

Junior Dylan Arnhold says, “Football is football, and talent is talent, but the mindset of your team makes all the difference.”

One of the side stories for the Clackamas game is that the Cav’s defensive coordinator is a former Eagle.  Jesse Brand starred on Knudsen’s successful teams of the early 90’s and is both excited and cautious about playing his former coach.

“People make a bigger deal out of it than they should,” Brand said.  “It’s nice knowing the option offense a little bit, but it will still come down to ‘responsibility defense.'”

Stopping the Eagle attack, Brand said, is not going to be easy. “They are really good.  All their guys are fast, and you know Knute (Knudsen) will have a wrinkle or two for us.”

Dylan Arnhold gets tackled during Gresham's homecoming.
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Gresham’s defense tackles junior Dylan Arnhold during an Eagle offensive explosion earlier this month.