Scott Phelps is returning to Harrisburg High.
After leading the Eagles to the 2016 3A football state championship, Phelps accepted a coaching and teaching position at Pleasant Hill in March. The Billies (2-2) open Mountain Valley Conference play Friday night at Harrisburg (1-3).
The Eagles were 37-11 overall and 18-3 in league games during Phelps’ four seasons at the helm. The Eagles reached the state quarterfinals in each campaign and played for two state titles, falling to Vale in 2015 and defeating Salem Academy last November. It was the program’s first state title since 1966.
Phelps was also Harrisburg’s track and field coach for nine years, notching third-place boys finishes at the 3A state championships in 2015 and 2016.
Under first-year coach Edmund Rivera, the Eagles received test after test during their brutal nonconference slate. Harrisburg has suffered losses to No. 1 Santiam Christian, No. 2 Rainier and No. 4 Cascade Christian while collecting a victory at St. Mary’s in Medford.
Tough losses for Lebanon
For the second consecutive week in Mid-Willamette Conference play, Lebanon found itself on the wrong side of a close decision.
Lebanon, the reigning MWC and 5A state champion, opened league play with a 25-24 home loss to Crescent Valley. Looking to right the ship, the Warriors dropped a frustrating 31-30 decision to Silverton last Friday.
The Foxes put together a 20-play, 81-yard drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good. Silverton recovered four Lebanon fumbles, intercepted a Colton Shepard pass and blocked a punt.
It’s the first-two game losing streak for Lebanon, which travels to Corvallis (1-3, 0-2) Friday night, since the 2015 season. The Spartans have dropped three in a row, including a 45-44 overtime loss at rival CV last week.
Pirates, Eagles to battle
The West Valley League title could be on the line Friday night when Dayton (3-1, 1-0) hosts Santiam Christian (4-0, 2-0).
The Pirates, who routed the Eagles 41-14 last year en route to the league title, are coming off a 49-25 road loss to Rainier. Dayton won its first 10 games of 2016 before falling to Blanchet in the 3A state quarterfinals.
SC, also a quarterfinalist last year, has outscored the opposition 165-40 during its 4-0 start. The Eagles sit atop the OSAA 3A power rankings while Dayton is No. 8.
Four of SC’s next five games will be away from home.