Twin Harbors Football Preview: Five Harbor teams head into the postseason

For the next five weeks, it’s do or die. Win or go home. Play your best football or start practicing basketball and wrestling.

The long road to the Tacoma Dome and a chance at eternal glory begins with the district crossover round this week as five of the six Twin Harbors teams still alive begin their quest.

After going undefeated on its way to an Evergreen 1A League title, Montesano (9-0) will host its first playoff game. The Bulldogs will battle the Trico No. 3 seed White Salmon at Rottle Field at 7 p.m., on Friday.

As the Evergreen No. 2 seed, Hoquiam (6-3) will take to the road to face off with the Trico No. 2 seed King’s Way Christian in Vancouver on Friday.

Pe Ell-Willapa Valley (7-2) captured the Southwest Washington 2B Coastal Division title last weekend and will host Wahkiakum on Friday. With Crogstad Field in Menlo more than a little muddy, the Titans will loom large over Stewart Field as they play host to the Mules.

Both Raymond and North Beach will be making the trip to Centralia this week. The Seagulls (5-4) will take the field at Tiger Stadium on Saturday for a showdown with Adna. The Hyaks reward for 4-5 season is a date with the No. 1 ranked team in the state. North Beach will face Napavine on Thursday.


The Bulldogs have gone undefeated this season, but records are reset in the playoffs and the only thing that matters is who is ahead on the scoreboard at the end of the game. While the pressure may be in the back of their minds, for the Montesano players it’s just another week.

“The preparation is the same,” Monte coach Terry Jensen said. “Try to treat every game like a championship game, so hopefully when you do get to big games like these you rely on your preparation. There is certainly an awareness that your season could end, but you try to focus on the things you control.”

The Bulldogs have been able to control the scoreboard quite well this season. Montesano has allowed 20 or more points in just two games this season and hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in the last seven games with two shutouts. Offensively, the Bulldogs have rolled to 60 or more points three times this season and haven’t been held under 20 points all year.

Montesano is fueled by a trio of running backs led by junior Carson Klinger. Senior Nathan Olson and Dakoyta Reninger round out the Bulldogs rushing attack, but quarterback Trevor Ridgway is a threat on the ground and through the air.

The Bruins are led on offense and defense by senior running back/defensive end Zachary Walker, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season, but they also have a dual threat under center in Austin Bucklin.

“White Salmon runs their offense out of the spread,” Jensen said. “They would like to run the ball first, but at the same time they are effective enough in their passing game that you can’t just load up the box to stop the run.”

Overall, Jensen boils the game down to controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides, while making good decisions on offense and taking away big plays and forcing turnovers on defense.


The goal for Hoquiam has been the same from even before the season began. On the office door of Grizzly coach Rick Moore is a cutout of a train with cars marked with each opponent a picture of the Tacoma Dome above it. The “Crimson Train” will roll south to face King’s Way this week.

“The goal is to put four consistent quarters together as a football team, but the main goal is to get the W at the end of the game,” Moore said. “It doesn’t matter how many points necessarily, it’s just outscore your opponent and limit them the best you can. A win is a win.”

The Grizzlies have exploded offensively in the second half each of the last two weeks for comeback victories. Moore would like to see Hoquiam get rolling right off the bus against the Knights. Hoquiam is led by quarterback Gregory Dick, but running back Artimus Johnson has been an X-factor for the Grizzlies all season.

King’s Way features a spread attack that had 13 more pass attempts that rushes this season. Jonathan Stell averages seven yards per carry this season, but the key for Hoquiam will be containing the Knights’ passing attack. Receivers Matt Garrison, Michael Garrison and Nic Pulicella each have more than 400 yards receiving this season with Matt Garrison totaling 732 yards.

The biggest key for Hoquiam may be to put pressure on quarterback Liam Nelson, Moore said. In order to help emulate the left handed quarterback, the Grizzlies even put one of their left-handed coaches at scout team quarterback.

“It is one and done or move on,” Moore said. “You have to want it. Don’t fear mistakes, but just compete and play hard. If we play physical, fast and aggressive we are going to be in great shape.”


North Beach head coach Todd Bridge and his players aren’t entering tonight’s District IV 2B crossover game with anything but determination and a bit of fun.

“We are being honest with our kids; this is a really tough football team that has played for the state title over the last two years,” Bridge said after his team practiced at Stewart Field on Tuesday. “Those guys are hungry over there to get back there and win a state title. It has been a fun week, just having fun being together. Spirits are high here.”

The top-ranked Tigers (9-0) finished their regular season with a rout of Chief Leschi, with several Napavine players held out for the first half due to disciplinary reasons. Quarterback Wyatt Stanley threw two touchdowns, while Sam and Mac Fagerness caught one each. Dawson Stanley and Cole Van Wyck also ran for scores. Those five have been the lifeblood of Napavine’s offense all season.

“Offensively, it would be nice for us to sustain some drives, go 12 plays and score, just to keep their offense off the field,” Bridge said.


Pe Ell-Willapa Valley comes into Friday’s contest against Wahkiakum playing some of its best football. The Titans have put up 38 or more points each of the past five games, while holding their opponents under seven points in four of those contests.

Both the Mules and the Titans feature power rushing attacks with PWV being powered by Kaelin Jurek. The senior has rushed for 411 yards and scored seven touchdowns in the last two games.

Wahkiakum features a trio of backs with Terris Record, Hank Ferguson and James Anderson. Each back racked up at least 70 yards on the ground as the Mules rushed for 297 yards against Toutle Lake on Friday.


Saturday’s crossover game between the Seagulls and the Pirates will pit two rushing teams who’ll look to impose their will on the defenses.

Raymond’s Patrick Edwards has run for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns and Adna’s Isaac Ingle has 1,196 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. This duo will be the focal point for both offenses, and for the defense’s game plans on the turf at Tiger Stadium in Centralia.

Edwards ran for one touchdown and 75 yards against Pe Ell-Willapa Valley last week in the regular-season finale, while Ingle had a better day — 121 yards rushing and two scores — against Onalaska.