West Albany High’s sizzling start to the 2017 football season can be traced directly to its defense.
The Bulldogs have allowed just 13 total points through two games, including last week’s 45-0 nonleague blanking of Roosevelt at Memorial Stadium. West (2-0, 1-0 Greater Valley Conference) will be back at home Friday night against visiting South Salem (0-2 overall and GVC).
The Roughriders, who compete in the Portland Interscholastic League, amassed just 89 yards of total offense in the shutout loss. West forced four turnovers and led 42-0 at halftime.
In their season opener at Forest Grove, the Bulldogs allowed 210 yards with three takeaways.
West was also strong defensively in 2016, holding opponents to an average of 26.3 points per game. But the Bulldogs went 0-4 down the stretch to miss the 6A state postseason for the second straight year.
A victory over the Saxons would provide an early boost to West’s playoff hopes.
MWC play kicks off
The Mid-Willamette Conference appears to be as strong as ever.
Crescent Valley, Lebanon, Silverton and Dallas are all 2-0 as conference play is set to begin Friday night. Corvallis and Central sit at 1-1 while South Albany is the league’s lone team without a victory.
Lebanon, the defending MWC and 5A state champion, hosts the Raiders Friday night. Both teams possess victories over Springfield and Marist.
In another Friday showdown of unbeatens, Dallas will travel to perennial power Silverton. The Dragons fell to Lebanon in the state semifinals last season.
Central, which was also a semifinalist in 2016, has a nonleague matchup with Glencoe while the Rebels play at Corvallis.
No team has repeated as MWC champion since West Albany won four consecutive titles from 2006-09. The Bulldogs left the conference prior to the 2014 season.
Huskies to host Stayton, Nyquist
Randy Nyquist is coming back to Linn County.
Nyquist, a former coach and player for West Albany, is in his first season as head coach at Stayton. The Eagles (1-1) play at Sweet Home (2-0) Friday night.
A 1980 graduate of West Albany, Nyquist led the Bulldogs to a 119-46 record in 15 seasons at the helm before accepting an offer to coach and teach at Oregon City in 2014. Nyquist won three state titles (2007-08, 2013) during his time with the Bulldogs.
Sweet Home has been impressive early in the season, collecting victories over Hidden Valley (35-6) and Crook County (21-0).
Through two weeks of play, the six-team West Valley League has flexed its muscles.
Santiam Christian, Amity, Dayton, Sheridan and Willamina are all 2-0 while Taft is 1-1 with a loss to Salem Academy, last year’s 3A state runner-up.
The dominance is reflected in the OSAA 3A power rankings as SC, Amity, Sheridan and Dayton sit atop the list. The Eagles open WVL play Friday night at Sheridan.