What to watch for this prep football weekend around the South Sound and beyond:
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Keeping the scoreboard operator busy: SPSL 2A scoring leaders Sumner (37.8 ppg) and Orting (34.2) meet Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium. And the Cardinals are doing this without RB Jaysen Yoro (hamstring). “We can move the ball on teams. It just might take a little longer to get into the end zone,” coach Marty Parkhurst said.
They run, they pass ... they win: The teams are on different trajectories in the SPSL North – Auburn Riverside is undefeated while Kent-Meridian is fighting for a playoff spot. But the Ravens’ Kevin Thomson (just got first offer from UNLV) and the Royals’ Quincy Carter should put on a show Friday at quarterback.
Never underestimate teamwork: Eatonville lost 16 starters from its Nisqually Division title team last season. And yet the Cruisers are off to a 4-1 start – with no star to speak of on either side of the ball. “No one significantly stands out – rushing, receiving, tackling,” coach George Fairhart said. “It truly is a team effort.”
Sometimes, it takes two to make one: For 22 seasons, coach Mark Smith and Tacoma Baptist have performed at a high level alone. But after only 12 players turned out this season, the Crusaders decided to join with Mount Rainier Lutheran for the rest of 2013 – and next season. They try for their first win this week against Oroville.
Tacoma city power: If Wilson, Lincoln and Foss intended to play one another for playoff spots – or even the Narrows 3A title later in the year – they cannot afford road slip-ups this week. The Abes play at Shelton, the Rams are at Mount Tahoma and the Falcons take on Timberline.
GAMES TO WATCH
Enumclaw (3-2) at Lakes (1-4), 7 p.m. Friday, Harry E. Lang Stadium, Lakewood
About the Hornets: The only thing you need to know about Enumclaw is that no trickery is required. The Hornets come right at you with tough RB Mauricio Portillo (74 carries, 421 yards, four TDs) on offense – and on the defensive end, they do the same with Portillo (54 tackles, 12 for loss) and Evan McCrillis (38 tackles, eight sacks) at linebacker.
About the Lancers: A winless September (0-4 mark) was brutal – and bruising. Lakes will have five regulars out this week because of injury. But in the long run, winning the league title is what counts. The Lancers might have found stability in QB Nick Webster (11-18, 174 yards, three TDs, one INT). Lakes has won 31 of its past 32 SPSL 3A games.
TNT pick: Lakes, 27-21.
Franklin Pierce (4-1) at No. 10 White River (4-1), 7 p.m. Friday, White River Stadium, Buckley
About the Cardinals: They had their league title hopes damaged by last week’s 28-6 loss to Sumner. RB Hassan Kitt (57 carries, 386 yards, five TDs) is a good bet to rebound this week, but the Cardinals biggest concern is fixing the middle of their defense against inside runs.
About the Hornets: Much like his team, RB Keenan Fagan (78 carries, 644 yards, eight TDs) is quietly having a fantastic season as the league’s second-leading rusher. The Hornets are effective running the dive play, and if Franklin Pierce is forced to overplay inside, Fagan and QB Sean Hayes can also strike on the perimeter.
TNT pick: White River, 19-14.
4A No. 3 Bellarmine Prep (5-0) at 2A No. 2 Tumwater (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Tumwater District Stadium
About the Lions: It has taken a while, but the Lions think they have found something with the two-man rushing committee of RB Nathan Goltermann (81 carries, 443 yards, five TDs) and QB Lou Millie (295 yards). Getting them going is bound to open up big pass plays downfield to WRs Garrett McKay and Drew Griffin.
About the Thunderbirds: Coach Sid Otton not only cannot remember the last time his team committed five turnovers – like it did in last week’s 35-28 win over W.F. West – but did that and won a game. RB Christian Cummings (70 carries, 825 yards, 14 TDs) had his fumbling issues, and the Lions’ defense will surely test his ball-handing.
TNT pick: Tumwater, 27-21.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
Bishop Blanchet (5-0) at No. 3 O’Dea (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday, West Seattle Stadium, Seattle
The skinny: Everybody knows about O’Dea’s rich tradition, which includes three Class 3A state titles (1991, 1994-95) and 24 Metro League championships since 1978. And many who follow the 3A ranks agree – this is one of coach Monte Kohler’s best teams, and likely the best challenger to powerhouse Bellevue. So what is the state of the Blanchet program? It is coached by Aaron Maul, the Bellarmine Prep product who is in his fifth season. And Maul was hired by Steve Gervais, former Eatonville, Gig Harbor and Skyline coach who was the school’s athletic director until last year. Maul is a fine defensive mind, and has the rebuilding Braves flying around in a 3-4 zone blitzing scheme, led by inside linebacker Jack Sendelbach (46 tackles, eight sacks). In its five victories, Blanchet has 23 takeaways and scored eight defensive TDs. The Braves might not have enough firepower – yet – to hang with O’Dea, but at least they are on track in closing the competitive gap.
TNT pick: O’Dea, 38-24.