FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Backs against the wall: Preseason SPSL 2A contender Orting has lost three games – all in the final two minutes. One of those was last week’s 24-23 defeat to No. 3 Sumner. This week, a gigantic “4th quarter” sign is up in the home locker room. A loss to Steilacoom on Friday would end the Cardinals’ playoff chances.
Show stoppers: If anyone is going to stop Class 3A powerhouse Bellevue – winner of 46 games in a row – from erasing Washington’s longest all-time winning streak of 49 games next month, it likely could be undefeated Mount Si on Friday. The Wolverines are ranked No. 1; Mount Si is No. 4.
After knocking out Conks … After upending previously unbeaten Kentwood, 34-33, in the Conquerors’ homecoming game, Rogers now has to get refocused for Bethel. “They want to wreck our homecoming game,” Rogers coach Gene Bowen said. Both teams are still in contention for last SPSL South playoff spot.
My Two Sons: Head coaches Jon Kitna (Lincoln) and Eric Canton (South Kitsap) also played quarterback for their respective schools – and now their sons are doing the same. Jordan Kitna has thrown for 1,145 yards and 17 TDs for the Abes, and Cooper Canton is at 733 yards and six TDs for the Wolves.
Crossover conundrum: Facing its third top-10 opponent of the season, No. 2 Cascade Christian will be trying to take the air out of No. 10 Cedar Park Christian’s spread passing attack Saturday in a Nisqually League crossover game – but will have to do it without senior standout linebacker Nathan Roosendaal (fractured wrist).
GAMES TO WATCH: OUR PICKS
Gig Harbor (5-1) at Olympia (4-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Ingersoll Stadium, Olympia
About the Tides: Have they suddenly become the league’s big, bad bullies? OLs Owen Taylor and Nate Ellis are versatile bookend tackles who are opening huge holes for RB Sterling Brown (98 carries, 689 yards, 10 TDs). Last time Gig Harbor was 5-1 was 2010, and a win here sets up Narrows 4A title showdown with Bellarmine Prep.
About the Bears: Any way you slice it, this is a must-win situation for Olympia, or its nine-year playoff run could be in jeopardy. The Bears are not healthy (six starters sat out last week against Central Kitsap), and badly need WR Mitch Fettig (ankle) back on the field to give do-everything QB Derrick Becker (70 of 104, 1,024 yards, 14 TDs) a running partner.
TNT pick: Gig Harbor, 19-16.
Foss (4-2) at No. 7 Wilson (6-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Stadium Bowl, Tacoma
About the Falcons: They are much bigger, and play more physically than Wilson, so expect a heavy dosage of RBs Devon Clark (58 carries, 298 yards, three TDs) and Patiole Pesefea (39 carries, 164 yards, five TDs), who is a 295-pound fullback. If Foss wants to stay in the race for a playoff spot, spoiling the Rams’ undefeated season is a must.
About the Rams: They’ve owned the series, winning eight of the past nine games. But for the first time this season, Wilson is facing perimeter athletes just as fast as its own. RB Isaiah Simpson (70 carries, 779 yards, 13 TDs) has been on a roll. One area the Rams should really dominate is special teams with big-play WR Brandon Montgomery (10 total TDs).
TNT pick: Wilson, 28-23.
Auburn-Riverside (6-0) at Curtis (5-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Viking Stadium, University Place
About the Ravens: Sure, this game has no impact on divisional standings – but many on this team remember last year’s 49-0 SPSL crossover loss to Curtis. QB Kevin Thomson (66 of 114, 1,103 yards, 11 TDs; 378 rushing yards, seven TDs) continues to show he’s a complete weapon, and he will look for WR Drew Wallen (26 catches, 485 yards, five TDs) often.
About the Vikings: After an early loss to Graham-Kapowsin, Curtis seemed to fall off everyone’s radar. This is a solid, efficient team with depth at key positions. The biggest question was an offensive line returning one starter, but defensive-line standouts Odessa Mendoza and Darius Riddley have settled into that unit going both ways.
TNT pick: Curtis, 40-35.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 8 Union (5-1) at No. 1 Camas (6-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Doc Harris Stadium, Camas
The skinny: This is what the folks on Southwest Washington’s premier “plateau” have been awaiting for weeks. And most agree, if the Papermakers have any chance of getting tripped up during the regular season, it will be Friday night in this Greater St. Helens League 4A intra-city (but not intra-district) showdown. The challenge in facing Camas – and it is a huge one – is its tempo, in and out of the huddle. And Papermakers quarterback Reilly Hennessey (73 of 118, 1,410 yards, 15 TDs) is so much better than a year ago, it matters little whom defenses focus on. Most play a zone scheme and hope for Camas to make mistakes. If Camas has a relatively soft spot, it is at inside linebacker, which should give the Titans the green light to run tailback Leon Siofele (121 carries, 1,331 yards, 14 TDs), among the state’s leading rushers, until his legs fall off as they try to carry out a ball-control attack. The rivals have split their four meetings in the series, with Camas winning, 22-0, last season.
TNT pick: Camas, 38-27.