Week 9 Prep Football Preview: Seasons on the line for several local teams entering final week

Aberdeen, Montesano, Elma will be playing to keep seasons alive on Friday

The final week of the prep football regular season is upon us and several Twin Harbors teams will be competing for their playoff lives as we take a look at what’s on tap for Week 9.

Shelton at Aberdeen

When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Stewart Field, Aberdeen

Players to Watch: Aberdeen — Jeremy Sawyer RB/LB, Trey Anderson RB/LB, Kale Goings QB/DB, Jakob Bowers RB/DB. Shelton — Mason Goos QB, Devonte Fuller RB, Dante Trikoff WR, Ryan Mackiewicz LB.

Aberdeen faces a must-win game if it has any shot at making the playoffs when the Bobcats face Shelton on Friday in Aberdeen.

The Bobcats (4-3 overall, 3-3 2A Evergreen) missed a chance to take control of the race for the 2A Evergreen League’s final playoff spot with last week’s loss to Rochester.

Aberdeen is now faced with needing to win, and then seeing how the rest of the league plays out to have a shot at the postseason.

The Bobcats are led by junior running back Jeremy Sawyer, who has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season and now has 1,070 yards on the season.

Shelton comes into Friday’s matchup one-half game ahead of the Bobcats in the crowded race for the league’s third playoff spot.

The Highclimbers (4-1, 3-2) beat Highline 21-12 in a nonleague game last week and blasted Black Hills 36-6 on Oct. 15.

Shelton is led by quarterback Mason Goos, who has passed for 944 yards on 76-for-136 passing. The junior has thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Running back Devonte Fuller leads Shelton’s rushing attack with 475 yards and seven touchdowns.

If Aberdeen can avoid costly penalties and figure out a way to convert on red zone opportunities, something it struggled to do in the loss to Rochester, the Bobcats could find their way into the playoffs.

Montesano at Elma

When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Davis Field, Elma

Players to Watch: Montesano — Jayden McElravy QB, Isaiah Pierce RB/LB, Caydon Lovell WR/DB. Elma — Jarred Bailey RB/LB, Conan Baxter RB, René Duran WR/DB, Donovan Bishop OL/DL.

This season’s version of the East County Rivalry will have a lot riding on it, namely a playoff spot, as Elma hosts Montesano on Friday.

The matchup will feature two teams that have played arguably the toughest schedules in the 1A class this season.

Monte snapped a three-game losing streak with a 61-0 win over winless Hoquiam last week. Its three losses came against 2B No. 2 Napavine, 1A No. 2 Eatonville and 1A No. 8 Tenino.

Elma’s three losses this season have also come against top-tier teams in league rivals Tenino and Eatonville, and a nonleague contest to then 1A No. 5 Mount Baker.

Of note for Friday’s game will be the health of the two squads.

Monte is relatively healthy in the starting lineup and in key positions. Starting quarterback Jayden McElravy, his favorite target in wide receiver Caydon Lovell and senior starting running back Isaiah Pierce are all expected to get significant touches on Friday, as the Bulldogs look to secure third place in what might be the toughest 1A league in the state.

Elma, on the other hand, comes in with significant injuries. The Eagles entered last week’s loss to Tenino with five starters out — including leading rusher Conan Baxter — and were left without another key weapon when speedy running back Jarred Bailey left the game in the first quarter due to an injury.

Both Baxter and Bailey are questionable for Friday’s matchup.

Elma will be without senior starting tight end/defensive end Nathan Comer and lineman Tanner Thompson due to injury, making the task of upsetting Monte and earning a spot in the playoffs that much more difficult.

Eatonville at Hoquiam

When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam

Players to Watch: Hoquiam — Jalen Hobucket RB/LB; Anthony Burtenshaw RB/LB; Owen McNeill WR/LB; Zander Jump QB/DB. Eatonville — Kyle Cox OL/DL, Kevin Wulff QB, Jakob Lucht WR.

If the Grizzlies are to avoid a winless season, they will have to pull off a major upset when Hoquiam hosts No. 2 Eatonville on Friday at Olympic Stadium.

It has been a season of headaches for the Grizzlies, which began the season on the young side with less than a handful of seniors and a lower than usual roster size.

In the third week of the season, Hoquiam’s season was put on hold as the school was locked down due to worries of a potential COVID outbreak.

This severely hampered the Grizzlies football program as they were to sit on the sideline — with no practice or games — for several weeks while other league schools went about their season.

The setbacks were detrimental, as a young, inexperienced Grizzlies team returned to the field against Tenino on Oct. 8 and have lost its few remaining seniors to injury and a handful of players who have either quit or transferred.

The Grizzlies may get senior running back Nakota Brown back for Friday’s finale, but it will likely make little difference against an Eatonville team that looks to be a shoe-in for the state-championship game.

Other games

(All games 7 p.m. Friday unless noted)

Ilwaco at Raymond-South Bend (at South Bend High School)

North Beach at Pe Ell-Willapa Valley (at Willapa Valley High School)

Ocosta at Winlock

Wishkah Valley at Northwest Christian

WA School for Deaf at Lake Quinault (3 p.m. Thursday)