Here we are, the time of season prep football fans have been waiting for.
The big dance is upon us and three Twin Harbors teams have received an invitation.
Montesano is the lone local 1A team to reach the state tournament with both Raymond-South Bend and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley earning a trip to the 2B state playoffs.
Better yet for local fans, all three teams are hosting games, with both Monte and RSB playing at home Friday and PWV earning a first-round bye.
Here’s a look at the first round of WIAA State Football Tournament action involving Twin Harbors teams.
NO. 9 TOPPENISH AT NO. 8 MONTESANO
When and where: 6 p.m. Friday at Jack Rottle Field, Montesano
Players to watch: Montesano — Mateo Sanchez C/LB, Jayden McElravy QB/LB, Kaleb Ames WR/DB, Gabe Bodwell RB/DL. Toppenish — Joshua Perez QB/CB, Jose Torres RB/FS, Shane Rivera WR.
Montesano will host a state playoff game for the first time since 2019 when it faces the Toppenish Wildcats on Friday.
In hammering Seton Catholic 47-7 in the district crossover game last week, the Bulldogs (8-2 overall) took their rightful place in the 1A State Tournament, where they have become a permanent fixture.
Monte received a No. 8 seed in a 1A field that is seemingly up for grabs as multiple top-ranked teams in the class were upset this season, including the Bulldogs’ 42-21 win over pre-season favorite Eatonville on Oct. 7.
Montesano has looked focused since a disappointing 38-23 loss to Tenino on Oct. 21, compiling 841 rushing yards over the past two games.
Ninth-seed Toppenish (8-2) defeated Connell 22-0 last week to earn a spot in the state tournament.
The Wildcats boast an offense that has passed for 2,011 yards this season led by senior quarterback Joshua Perez, who has 1,872 yards on 133-for-215 passing and has thrown 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions for a 114.3 QB rating.
Toppenish has shut out five of its last six opponents and its two losses this season are to defending champion Royal (34-6) in Week 1 and Naches Valley (14-13) on Oct. 21.
NO. 11 GOLDENDALE AT NO. 6 RAYMOND-SOUTH BEND
When and where: 6 p.m. Friday at Millam Field, South Bend
Players to watch: RSB — Austin Snodgrass QB/DB, Ty Reidinger RB/LB, Ferrill Johnson RB. Goldendale — Kade Bomberger QB, Cameron Graves WR, Seth Lucatero RB.
Raymond-South Bend reached the 2B State Tournament for the first time in the combo-program’s history and will face the Goldendale Timberwolves on Friday at South Bend High School.
The Ravens (8-2) received a No. 6 seed after edging Kalama 48-42 in overtime last week to advance to state.
After starting the season 6-0 before two-straight losses to two of the tournament’s top seeds — No. 3 Pe Ell-Willapa Valley and No. 1 Napavine — RSB has scored 48 points in each of its last two victories.
The Ravens are led by a trio of dynamic runners in quarterback Austin Snodgrass and running backs Ty Reidinger and Ferrill Johnson, all of which have big-play ability for RSB’s explosive offense.
Goldendale (8-2) won the 2B Eastern WA-West League and have won six games in a row, including a 42-0 win over Tri-Cities Prep in a crossover playoff game.
The Timberwolves also boast an explosive offense, scoring 40-plus points in five games this season — including the past four straight — and are led by running back Seth Lucatero, who rushed for 298 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries last week.
NO. 3 PE-ELL WILLAPA VALLEY — BYE
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley avenged its first loss of the season by blasting Adna 54-0 in the district crossover round and were awarded with a No. 3 seed and first-round bye in the 2B State Tournament.
The Titans will host the winner of the Goldendale/Raymond-South Bend matchup the following week, likely at a neutral site as WIAA rules dictate state-playoff games must be played on a turf field.
Likely candidates are Stewart Field in Aberdeen or Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.