Sports

Week 9 high school football games to watch

4A NARROWS

No. 8 Gig Harbor (7-1) at Bellarmine Prep (6-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Field, Tacoma

About the Tides: Is it their time? Coach Aaron Chantler’s group has taken a huge jump in his third season. Yes, QB Davis Alexander runs the offense. But as big a key as any is Gig Harbor’s ability to stop the Lions’ outside zone run. And the Tides will rely on their “monster” hybrid SS/LBs Kyle Davis (70 tackles) and Dre Brazier to set the edge. Gig Harbor’s last win in this series was 2009 — 24-17 in Tacoma.

About the Lions: Ask anybody around this campus, winning a fourth consecutive 4A Narrows title would be quite an accomplishment. RB Nathan Goltermann-Doyle (164 carries, 1,136 yards, 12 TDs) suffered a sprained foot last week against Olympia, but is expected to be fine for Friday. He and RB Ahmad Lewis will be busy on both sides — they are also the starting cornerbacks against Gig Harbor’s high-flying pass attack.

TNT pick: Gig Harbor, 27-23.

4A SPSL SOUTH

Bethel (5-3) at No. 6 Graham-Kapowsin (7-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Art Crate Field, Spanaway

About the Braves: The one thing Bethel could not afford to do in coach Mark Iddins’ first season was lose starters to injuries. And that has happened — the biggest cause for the Braves’ three-game skid. The worst ones were to DT Ezra Cleveland (knee) and QB Bryce Missey (head), who are out. Jamon Jones steps in as a better running quarterback, but will also need to be stout at defensive end against the Eagles’ big offensive tackles.

About the Eagles: Coach Eric Kurle said this season has taken two distinct turns — an early loss to Emerald Ridge got the team refocused, and a mid-October win at Skyline re-energized his players’ confidence. The SPSL’s top offense is rolling right now. Expect RB Shannon Edwards (160 carries, 1,431 yards, 18 TDs) to test a depleted Bethel front seven early and often. Graham-Kapowsin is peaking right on cue for the playoffs.

TNT pick: Graham-Kapowsin, 35-23.

3A SPSL

Lakes (5-3) at Auburn (5-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Auburn

About the Lancers: Make no mistake, the 3A SPSL tests a team’s will and depth. Lakes continues to be at less than full strength, and will start Rob Reiten in place of injured QB Jaiave Magalei (head). Reiten is a good passer and has been the junior-varsity starter. It also means RBs Yisrael Stephens (111 carries, 577 yards, nine TDs) and Melvin Miller should get as many touches as they can handle.

About the Trojans: The Lancers are not the only ones rotating quarterbacks — although Auburn expects to get QB Nick Kaatz back into the starting lineup. QB Gavin Strojan, the third-stringer who started last week, will also play as the running threat. The Trojans (126.3 yards per game) are second to Lakes in rushing defense, but will be missing both ILBs Lui Tiauli (elbow) and Dillon O’Grady (tailbone) in this game.

TNT pick: Lakes, 19-17.

STATE GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 9 Shadle Park (6-2) at Mount Spokane (6-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Joe Albi Stadium, Spokane

The skinny: The Greater Spokane League’s top two 3A schools battle it out in the final week of the regular season. And it is another classic strategic matchup — Shadle Park standout QB Brett Rypien (221 of 345, 2,933 yards, 35 TDs) against Mount Spokane’s speedy defense, led by LB Jacob Yedica, who flows side to side as well as any defender in the league. And because the Highlanders do not have a deep threat at receiver, Yedica’s intermediate-route prowling should certainly produce a big play or two. But in the end, how do you best Rypien, the GSL career passing leader who is headed to Boise State? Under Tim Rypien, his father and offensive coordinator, the senior is also running more when pass plays break down.

TNT pick: Shadle Park, 30-20.

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