Needless to say, the Astoria and Seaside football programs have probably never gone into a Clatsop Clash in worse shape, record-wise.

Are we interested in checking the history on that? No, mainly because if you're a fan of the Fishermen or the Gulls, it's not the kind of thing you're going to take a lot of pride in.

For the record, Seaside and Astoria are a combined 0-6 through three weeks of the 2019 season. The Gulls and Fishermen will tee it up Friday night at CMH Field (7 p.m.) with identical 0-3 records.

Outside of the 2012 season (the year they had to forfeit three of their first four), the Fishermen are off to their worst start since 2002, when Astoria finished 0-9.

The Gulls, meanwhile, have not scored a touchdown in nine quarters — or, to be exact, the last 112 minutes, 59 seconds, when Jake Blake scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter of a 14-7 loss to Henley.

There. Now that that's out of the way, it's time to focus on some positives.

Astoria and Seaside are not exactly dodging the heavyweights.

In their three games, the Fishermen have played the No. 3-ranked 5A team (Scappoose), and road games at Stayton and 10th-ranked Estacada. That's one reason why Astoria is ranked 18th, even with an 0-3 record.

Meanwhile, Seaside's three opponents (Henley, Marist and Gladstone) are ranked eighth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the latest 4A rankings.

“The reality is that both Seaside and us have played six teams that are going to finish first or second in their league, or top 10 in the state,” said Astoria coach Howard Rub, still looking for his first win in his 20th season as the Fishermen coach.

In his view of the Cowapa League after three weeks of nonleague play, Rub said, “Coach (Kye) Johnson at Tillamook feels like they have one of the two best teams in the league. I'm sure Banks and Seaside both feel like they can be in the mix. And Valley Catholic has some kids who can start for any of us. The only unknown right now is Molalla, which has struggled early.

“Basically, there are no gimme's in the Cowapa League.”

The Cowapa is still the same league with not one, but two teams looking for a return to the state championship game.

Back to the present, Astoria is coming off a 40-13 loss at Estacada last week. Other than a few stretches during the second half, the Fishermen offense struggled to find any momentum.

“We obviously took a step backwards offensively last week,” Rub said. “Generally, I feel like we can still get back to being more optimistic about moving the ball, because before last week, we moved the ball pretty well against some solid teams, including a 5A defense.”

Defensively, he said, “we've shown that we have players who can be in the right positions to make plays. So I'm pleased with the effort defensively. We've been fairly solid there.”

The Fishermen have also been dealing with injuries since Week 1.

“We're not at full strength,” Rub admits. “But I'm going to be a little like the NHL, and keep our injuries close to the vest. We definitely have some guys who are playing in different spots from where they otherwise would be.

“The key for us is to have a good week of practice.”

Seaside can't help but get better. The Gulls have hopefully seen their lowest point, as first-year coach Aaron Tanabe continues his rebuilding job.

Seaside has also dealt with some injuries. As if losing eight all-league players to graduation wasn't enough (including four linemen), the Gulls lost senior lineman David Toyooka to a high ankle sprain on the very first series of the very first game this year.

The Gulls still have some talent at the skill positions (Brayden Johnson, Ledger Pugh, Levi Card, Jake Black, etc.), but as Tanabe has pointed out, Seaside will need the blocking to make plays and get the Gulls to the end zone.

Both teams should have a little more time to throw the ball and a little more space to run in Friday night's Clatsop Clash.

In the end, one team will be looking for its first win of 2019, and the other will be looking to avoid an 0-4 start.

Clatsop Clash Football

Since 1980 (Astoria leads, 25-14)

Winner, Score

1980: Astoria, 32-0

1981: Astoria, 25-0

1982: Astoria, 32-0

1983: Seaside, 22-7

1984: Astoria, 48-3

1985: Seaside, 42-0

1986: Seaside, 19-7

1987: Seaside, 42-6

1988: Seaside, 33-7

1989: Astoria, 16-0

1990: Astoria, 28-12

1991: Astoria, 33-0

1992: Seaside, 35-15

1993: Astoria, 21-14

1994: Astoria, 28-21

1995: Astoria, 21-14 (OT)

1996: Seaside, 40-6

1997: Astoria, 29-24

1998: Astoria, 50-0

1999: Astoria, 24-0

2000: Astoria, 10-7

2001: Seaside, 19-14

2002: Seaside, 34-13

2003: Astoria, 38-7

2004: Astoria, 31-13

2005: Seaside, 14-10

2006: Astoria, 21-19

2007: Astoria, 37-18

2008: Astoria, 49-0

2009: Astoria, 41-8

2010: Astoria, 50-14

2011: Astoria, 63-12

2012: Astoria, 44-38 (OT)

2013: Seaside, 30-29

2014: Seaside, 35-14

2015: Astoria, 36-3

2016: Astoria, 50-12

2017: Seaside, 40-0

2018: Seaside, 55-7

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.

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