UPDATE: The Tumwater at Aberdeen game has been cancelled due to a positive COVID test. No information on a possible make-up date has been provided at this time.
Week 3 of the high school football season represents the first full slate of games on the calendar, barring any further COVID cancellations, and the area’s largest school taking on a defending state champion.
Tumwater at Aberdeen – CANCELLED
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Stewart Field, Aberdeen
Players to Watch: Aberdeen — Jeremy Sawyer RB/LB; Liam Heikkila RB/LB; Kale Goings QB/DB; Tumwater — Ryan Otton TE; Austin Terry TE; Payton Hoyt RB.
Aberdeen has looked like a much improved team in outscoring its opponents 90-24 over two games this season.
On Friday, the Bobcats will find out just how good they are when they host the defending 2A champion Tumwater Thunderbirds.
Tumwater has won 21 straight games and is the only 2A team ranked in the SBLive state top 25 poll at No. 18.
The T-Birds exploded for 42 first-half points — 28 in the second quarter — en route to a 42-0 win over the Capital Cougars last week.
The Thunderbirds feature a pair of highly-recruited tight ends that pose matchup problems for any Thunderbirds opponents. Washington commit Ryan Otton (6-foot-6, 225) is the No. 6 ranked tight end in the country, according to 247Sports, with teammate and Boise State commit Austin Terry (6-5, 230) ranked as the 18th best player in the state.
Both can go and get the football in the passing game and are excellent blockers for a Tumwater offense that scored five of its six touchdowns on the ground last week — three by running back Payton Hoyt.
Aberdeen enters the game on a five-game winning streak, which has created a buzz around the school as head coach Todd Bridge has turned the Bobcats into a competitive program that appears to be on the rise in his third season at Aberdeen.
The Bobcats will get to find out just how good they are when they go up against the juggernaut T-Birds, an opportunity Bridge said his team is excited for.
“(Tumwater) is a measuring stick. If we can compete at that level, then we’ll know where we match up,” he said. “We’re excited to play them. Our kids have that look in their eye like, ‘Let’s go find out how good we are.’”
Based on how unrelentingly dominant Tumwater has been during its winning streak, if Aberdeen is still in the game by the fourth quarter, it would be an impressive moral victory for the Bobcats.
If they somehow upset Tumwater, it would be a shock.
Montesano at Columbia-White Salmon
When and Where: 6 p.m. Thursday at Columbia High School
Players to Watch: Montesano — Jayden McElravy QB; Isaiah Pierce RB/LB; Caydan Lovell WR/DB. Columbia-White Salmon — Jace Greenwood QB.
Montesano’s 2021 season premiere couldn’t have gone better.
In demolishing Cascade Christian 43-0 on Friday, Sept. 10, Montesano had a sophomore quarterback in Jayden McElravy throw for four touchdowns, got a 100-yard rushing performance from running back Isaiah Pierce, and a 100-yard receiving, three-TD-night from wideout Caydan Lovell.
With so many new, young players playing key minutes, Montesano answered many questions as if this season would be one of rebuild or reload for the Bulldogs.
They will look to answer more of those questions on Thursday when they face a winless Columbia-White Salmon team.
CWS enters the season at 0-2 after a 52-20 loss to Goldendale in Week 1, followed by a 6-0 loss on a blocked field goal touchdown return with four minutes left against Stevenson on Sept. 10.
Quarterback Jace Greenwood led CWS in Week 1 with 148 rushing yards and a TD, while passing for 94 yards and a score.
If Monte comes close to repeating last week’s near-perfect performance, the Bulldogs should get out of town with their second win of the season.
Elma at Castle Rock
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Castle Rock High School
Players to Watch: Elma — Jarred Bailey RB/LB; Donovan Bishop OL/DL; Manny Hernandez RB/DB; Koltin Dupré RB/WR/CB. Castle Rock — Chance Naugle, QB; Chase Rusher WR/FS; Lane Partridge WR/OLB.
Coming off an unintentional bye week due to a single positive COVID test, the Elma Eagles will look to pick up where they left off when they face Castle Rock on Friday in Castle Rock.
After a Week 1 win over Hudson’s Bay, Elma is still reeling regarding personnel. Injuries during summer practice as well as COVID quarantines have left the Eagles depleted in multiple positions, including starting quarterback René Duran and top running back Connar Baxter being sidelined again this week.
Look for Elma to turn to running back Jarred Bailey to continue to shoulder the load on offense, as he did in the season-opening victory over Hudson’s Bay with 112 yards on 17 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Castle Rock struggled against the passing attack of Ridgefield in a 35-12 loss on Sept. 10, allowing 352 yards through the air with another 99 on the ground.
Most of that damage was done by the Rockets’ athletic quarterback Chance Naugle, who has the ability to throw on the run and pick up yardage with his feet.
If Elma can keep Naugle contained and make clutch plays late as it did in its Week 1 victory, the Eagles could see itself in the winner’s column once again.
Hoquiam at La Salle
When and Where: 5 p.m. Saturday at Marquette Stadium, Yakima
Players to Watch: Hoquiam — Nakota Brown, RB/LB; Zander Jump, QB/DB; Chris Hauss, RB/LB; Owen McNeill, WR/LB. La Salle — Luis Garcia QB/DB.
Hoquiam will look to win its first game of the season when they face off against winless La Salle on Saturday in Yakima.
Hoquiam — a team featuring just three seniors on the roster — has struggled in its two losses to open the season, being outscored 89-22.
La Salle hasn’t fared much better, losing 51-0 to Sedro-Woolley to open the season and 21-7 to Cashmere last week.
Look for Hoquiam to be more competitive this week as their young underclassmen now have a few games under their belts.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley at Raymond-South Bend
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at South Bend High School
Players to Watch: PWV — Tyler Adkins QB/DB; Derek Fluke RB/LB; Will Clements RB/LB; RSB — Adrian Quintana QB/DB; Deleak Hubbard RB/DB; Ken Yi OL/DL; Kyle Strozyk OL/DL; Jaxson Freeman OL/DL.
The long-standing rivalry between Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, Raymond and South Bend gets a new twist as PWV faces the new combo team of Raymond-South Bend for the first time.
PWV is coming off a tough loss to Adna, while RSB is still looking for its first win of the season. Not only does the game represent the first time the Titans and Ravens meet on the field, but it is the first time South Bend’s new turf field will host a football game.
Other games (7 p.m. Friday unless noted)
North Beach at Napavine — North Beach opened the season last week taking on 1A Tenino and they’ll again be punching above their weight when they face undefeated Napavine — the No.2-ranked team in the 2B class — in Napavine.
Winlock at Ocosta — Ocosta opens its season when they host undefeated Winlock (2-0) in an 8-man matchup in Westport.
Chief Leschi at Taholah — The Chitwhins open the season against Chief Leschi (0-1) at home at 6 p.m on Friday.
Northwest Christian at Lake Quinault — The Elks host Northwest Christian at 1 p.m. on Saturday.