When North Medford and South Medford high schools take the football field tomorrow, they will be playing for a playoff position. Their respective positions are a result of upsets that both schools have pulled off in the last three weeks.
North Medford got things started when the Black Tornado defeated then seventh rank the Sheldon (Eugene, OR) Fighting Irish. Last week South Medford followed with an upset when of then sixth ranked and previously undefeated Roseburg. South's win left North in first place in the 6A Southern Oregon Conference with a 4-0 record. South is currently 2-2 in conference play after starting the season with four losses.
Unfortunately, the South Medford Panthers will need help to avoid having to play in the first round of the football playoffs. Friday night the Panthers visit the Grants Pass(OR) Cavemen, the team that is just in .front of them in the standings. While the Panthers have a chance of winning the game. it's far from a certain win. A loss Friday night, would all but ensure that South would play in the first round, in what is known as the play-in round. They then close the season with games against North Medford and winless Crater (Central Point, OR) High School.
North Medford's situation is a little more interesting. Starting Friday night the Black Tornado host South Eugene (Eugene, OR), travel to South Medford, although the game will played in Spiegelburg Stadium, which is used by both schools for home games, and then host Roseburg.
If one assumes that North will defeat South Eugene, considering South Eugene is winless in conference play, and they pull off a win over South Medford, although predicting anything in a rivalry game is dangerous, that leaves North Medford in the final game of the season against Roseburg playing for the conference title.
While there are big games looming for North Medford, a win Friday night means the Black Tornado will have secured a first round bye.