With two weeks left to go in the regular season, Week 8 of the prep football season on the Twin Harbors features key league games with huge playoff implications.
TENINO AT MONTESANO
When and where: 7 p.m. 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. Tenino — Dylan Spicer RB, Cody Strawn QB.
Fourth-ranked Montesano is as hot as any team in the 1A ranks right now, riding a six-game winning streak that includes victories over previously unbeaten Castle Rock and No. 1 Eatonville two weeks ago.
In the current streak, the Bulldogs defense has allowed more than 14 points in just one game — a 42-21 win over Eatonville on Oct. 7 — and is fresh off a 47-6 win over Hoquiam last week.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (6-1 overall, 2-0 1A Evergreen) will be facing another tough test against No. 9 Tenino, which has won two straight games after suffering its only loss of the season 27-22 to Eatonville on Sept. 30.
The Beavers (6-1, 2-1) are a one-dimensional offense that features a tightly-spaced, triple-back formation that many an opponent has eluded to as “playing in a phone booth.”
Tenino is led by running back Dylan Spicer, who can break open for big scoring plays any time he touches the ball. The senior speedster has rushed for 1,373 yards and 17 touchdowns this season for a Beavers offense that has rushed for 2,900 yards in seven games while passing for just 160 yards.
Tenino’s defense has allowed 14 points or more in just two games this season, but those two games — the aforementioned loss to the Cruisers and a 66-26 win over Elma last week — have come over its past three games.
Montesano currently holds a one-game lead over Tenino and Eatonville for first place in the 1A Evergreen League.
A win would put Monte in prime position to reclaim the league title with a win over Elma the following week in the regular-season finale.
A loss could potentially mean a three-way tie for first place heading into the final weekend of league play.
HOQUIAM AT CENTRALIA
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Tiger Stadium, Centralia
Players to watch: Hoquiam — Zander Jump QB/LB, Owen McNeill WR/DB, Jake Templer RB/LB. Centralia — Landen Jenkins QB; JoJo Simpson RB; Cobain Kennedy WR.
Hoquiam will look to get back into the win column when the Grizzlies face non-league opponent Centralia on Friday at Tiger Stadium.
Hoquiam (3-4) has lost two straight to ranked league opponents in No. 9 Tenino and No. 4 Montesano after getting a big win over Elma on Sept. 30.
When the Grizzlies are on, they are moving the football well on the ground behind quarterback Zander Jump, running backs Jake Templer, Anthony Burtenshaw and a host of capable rushers.
When the Grizzlies take to the air it usually involves Jump throwing downfield to 6-foot-2 receiver Owen McNeill, who presents matchup problems against typically smaller defensive backs.
Centralia (0-7) has scored in double digits just once this season in a 41-14 loss to 2A Evergreen Conference opponent Black Hills last week.
The Tigers haven’t been close to a win this season, with its narrowest loss coming in the opener against Elma 20-7.
ABERDEEN AT WF WEST
When and where: 7:15 p.m. Thursday at South Bend High School
Players to watch: Aberdeen — Aidan Watkins RB/LB, Trey Anderson RB/LB, Jeremy Sawyer RB/LB. WF West — Gavin Fugate QB/DB, Tucker Land RB/LB, Gage Brumfield WR/DB.
The Aberdeen Bobcats have a real shot at shaking things up in the 2A Evergreen League, but to do so they’ll have to find a way to defeat what many consider to be the league’s best team this season.
And no, it’s not the Tumwater Thunderbirds.
Aberdeen (4-3, 3-1 2A Evergreen) will face No. 5 WF West (5-1, 4-0) in a league game with multiple playoff and league-title implications on the line.
The Bobcats took care of business with a 35-8 drubbing over Rochester last week and can pull into a possible three-way tie for first place with an upset over the Bearcats on Friday.
Aberdeen is starting to get healthier after a deluge of injuries left many open holes in the roster.
The Bobcats have senior running back Jeremy Sawyer in the backfield and is expected to have big junior linemen Paul Baltazar available after being out with an ankle injury.
Former starting quarterback Kale Goings isn’t playing offense but has returned to the defensive backfield and is playing through a leg injury.
With many players coming back to the lineup and the emergence of junior quarterback Grady Springer, the Bobcats should be competitive against the Bearcats.
WF West has been dominant this season, including outscoring its opponents 153-14 during its current four-game winning streak that included a 28-7 win over perennial 2A champion Tumwater on Sept. 30.
The Bearcats will also be fresh after coming off an impromptu bye week as Eatonville canceled its previously-scheduled matchup due to COVID issues.
A Bobcats upset could potentially mean a three-way tie between Aberdeen, WF West and Tumwater for the league title.
A loss means the Bobcats could be playing for no better than the league’s No. 3 spot against Shelton the final week of the regular season.
FORKS AT PE ELL-WILLAPA VALLEY
When and where: 7 p.m. Friday at Willapa Valley High School
Players to watch: PWV — Kolten Fluke QB/LB, Blake Howard RB/LB, Derek Fluke RB/LB. Forks — Gunner Rogers QB, Nate Dahlgren RB, Walker Wheeler WR.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley is coming off its biggest win of the season and will look to continue its winning streak when the Titans take on Forks Friday in Menlo.
The Titans (4-3, 4-1 2B Central-North) took a big step toward locking up the league’s No. 2 spot after an upset last week over Pacific County and league rival Raymond-South Bend.
In doing so, PWV jumped into the top 10 of the scorebooklive.com rankings, appearing at No. 7 on the list.
The Titans have a diverse rushing attack that features four players with at least 30 carries and 200 yards on the season, led by junior running back Blake Howard (88-520, 6 TD).
Forks (4-2, 2-2) is coming off back-to-back wins and exploded for 76 points in a win over Rainier last week.
RAYMOND-SOUTH BEND AT NAPAVINE
When and where: 7 p.m. Friday at Napavine High School
Players to watch: RSB — Austin Snodgrass QB/DB, Ty Reidinger RB/LB, Ferrill Johnson RB. Napavine — Ashton Demarest QB; Cael Stanley RB; Karsen Denault WR.
Raymond-South Bend won’t get much of a chance to lick its wounds from last week’s loss as the Ravens will take on No. 1 Napavine on Friday in Napavine.
The Ravens (6-1, 3-1 2B Central-North) dropped to No. 9 in the latest scorebooklive.com rankings after suffering their first loss of the season 28-14 to PWV last week.
For the first time in 2022, RSB’s offense struggled to get going, especially in a second half where it was held scoreless as the PWV defense tackled well and minimized the explosive big-play ability of the Ravens.
RSB will have to find a way to get its offense back on track against a Tigers team that is undefeated on the season at 7-0 — all blowouts — and has allowed just 34 total points.
Ocosta at Chief Leschi (7 p.m. Friday) — The Wildcats (5-1) will look to beat the Warriors (5-2) for the second time this season.
Toutle Lake at North Beach (7 p.m. Friday) — The Hyaks (1-4) beat the Ducks (0-6) for their only win of the season back on Sept. 30.
Taholah at Lake Quinault (1 p.m. Saturday) — Lake Quinault (5-0) will host Taholah (0-5) in the first “River Bowl” to be played in 12 seasons.
Eatonville at Elma cancelled — Elma’s game against Eatonville has been cancelled due to an illness outbreak at Elma High School.