A key 1A Evergreen League matchup between two Grays Harbor County rivals highlights a week of prep football filled with intriguing matchups.
Elma at Hoquiam
When and Where: 7 p.m. at Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam
Players to Watch: Elma — Cody Vollan QB/DB; Brady Shriver RB/LB; Tysen Richardson WR/DB; Hoquiam — Dane McMillan QB; Matt Brown RB/LB; Cameron Bumstead WR/DB
It was arguably Grays Harbor County’s game of the year last season. A blocked field goal in the final seconds of the game gave Hoquiam a dramatic 14-13 victory in a battle of two unbeaten teams on a wet and muddy Davis Field in Elma. The victory helped to catapult Hoquiam to an undefeated regular season and a 1A Evergreen League title.
Things are slightly different this season. Hoquiam, having graduated its top quarterback Payton Quintanilla, has been nearly as impressive as it was this time last season. The Grizzlies are 4-1 on the season, their only loss coming two weeks ago to 8th-ranked La Center. In its four wins this season, Hoquiam has outscored its opponents, 222-25.
As a team, Hoquiam (4-1 overall, 1-0 Evergreen 1A) has been very balanced on offense, averaging 218.8 passing yards per game and 223.2 yards on the ground.
By contrast, Elma has had its struggles when compared to last year’s squad, which started out 5-0 before suffering its first loss at the hands— or paws— of the Grizzlies. Elma cruised to blowout victories over King’s Way Christian and Rochester in the first two weeks of the season, but followed that up with an upset loss to Aberdeen followed by a turnover-filled 52-14 drubbing the following week against Castle Rock.
But Elma took a big step back in the right direction in last Friday’s 62-7 win over RA Long. Elma (3-2, 0-0) did what it does best in Friday’s win —run the football. Led by Isaiah O’Farrill’s 149 yards, the Eagles outrushed RA Long 368-4 with five different Eagles ball carriers scoring a rushing touchdown.
Hoquiam has won four out of the last five matchups against Elma, with the Eagles last victory over the Grizzlies coming in 2013 by a score of 49-12.
Aberdeen at Tumwater
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Tumwater District Stadium
Players to Watch: Aberdeen — Ethan Morrill RB; Connar Sherman RB; Elijah Brown QB/LB. Tumwater — Hunter Whalen QB; Turner Allen RB; Dylan Paine RB
Thus far in the 2019 season, the Aberdeen Bobcats have exceeded expectations.
With a rousing upset victory over Elma and a second-half blitz to earn a 2A Evergreen League win over Centralia, the Bobcats have seen a resurgence under new head coach Todd Bridge.
Aberdeen will get a chance to gauge just how far they’ve come when they face the top 2A team in the state in the Tumwater Thunderbirds on Friday.
The Bobcats (2-3, 1-0 Evergreen 2A) got three second-half touchdowns from running back Ethan Morrill to pull away from Centralia 46-30 on Friday.
But Tumwater (5-0, 1-0) is a different beast than the 3-2 Tigers.
The Thunderbirds are the unanimous No. 1 team in the latest Associated Press Washington 2A rankings and are currently the 9th-ranked team in the state by maxpreps.com.
Tumwater has the ability to score in bunches, scoring 50 points or more in three of its five games this season, including a 64-6 thrashing over Rochester last Friday. In the victory over Rochester, Tumwater scored 50 points in one quarter.
The Thunderbirds amassed 656 total yards in their closest game of the season, a 27-14 win over Bellarmine Prep on Sept. 20.
Tumwater had easily handled Aberdeen in recent history, averaging 63.3 points-per-game over the past three seasons to Aberdeen’s 5.6.
Montesano at Woodland
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Beaver Stadium
Players to Watch: Montesano — Trace Ridgway QB; Sam Winter RB/LB; Aaydan Darst RB/LB. Woodland — Isaiah Flanagan QB; JJ Fuerst RB; Brooks Massey RB
Even when the Montesano Bulldogs are not playing at their peak, they are impressive.
Montesano (5-0, 1-0 Evergreen 1-0) remained undefeated on the season with a 41-6 victory over league-rival Forks on Friday, though Bulldogs head coach Terry Jensen admittedly stated that the Bulldogs made too many mistakes and “have some things to clean up.”
Whether on its game or slightly off, Monte keeps finding a way to hammer its opponents. The Bulldogs’ 41 points on Friday was the fewest scored by Monte this season and the Bulldogs defense has held all five opponents to 14 points-or-less this season.
Montesano quarterback Trace Ridgway keeps emerging as one of the early candidates for league MVP as he accounted for 173 yards rushing and 173 passing yards in Friday’s win.
Monte will finish its non-league portion of the schedule against 2A Woodland, a team that has one win in five tries in 2019.
The Beavers (1-4, 1-2 Greater St. Helen’s 2A) got their lone win of the season in a 55-7 rout over one-win RA Long two weeks ago. Aside from that, the closest Woodland has come to a victory was a 47-21 loss to Washougal on Sept. 20.
Woodland has losses on its record to Kalama (26-7), La Center (35-6) and last week’s 41-0 loss to Hockinson and is averaging just over 215 yards-per-game this season.
Montesano hammered Woodland 47-13 last season.
All games 7 p.m. Friday unless noted
Lake Quinault at WA School for the Deaf (3:30 p.m. today)
Lummi at Taholah (5 p.m., Friday)
Ocosta at Ilwaco
North Beach at Raymond
Baker (Oregon) at Pe Ell-Willapa Valley
South Bend at Oakville