4A NPSL CASCADE
KENTWOOD CONQUERORS (6-2) VS. KENTLAKE FALCONS (7-1)
7 p.m. Friday at French Field, Kent
About the Conquerors: Kentlake might be “King of Kent” but Kentwood is actually in Covington, and it’s going for its second title in two years under coach Mike Bush. “It would be a big accomplishment, but definitely not our No. 1 goal,” Bush said. “We have to win some games in the playoffs to reach goals we set.” Chavez Kalua-Fuimaono (66 carries, 583 yards, 12 TDs) has bolstered the offense since his return from injury and the Conks have found success in a two-QB system with Justin Seiber and Colby Burton.
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About the Falcons: Kentlake’s defense gives it the ability to win any game. It held the 4A NPSL’s top rusher, Mount Rainier’s JJ Young, to 20 rushing yards last week. Now it has a chance to take the Falcons to the Cascade title, though it would also need Mount Rainier to beat Kennedy Catholic. Kentlake has limited opponents to less than 145 yards of total offense per game so far. On offense, Eddie Edwards IV (73 carries, 553 yards, 5 TDs), is one of the many players who get touches in the run game.
TNT pick: Kentwood, 21-20.
NO. 8 FRANKLIN PIERCE CARDINALS (7-1) VS. NO. 5 RIVER RIDGE HAWKS (7-0)
7 p.m. Friday at South Sound Stadium, Lacey
About the Cardinals: No 11-man football team in the state has scored more points this year than Franklin Pierce (52 points per game). That’s what happens with a QB as dynamic as Willie Patterson (106 for 176, 1,936 yards, 27 TDs; 119 carries, 1,318 yards, 13 TDs) and a pair of dynamic receivers in Alex Bing (33 catches, 729 yards, 10 TDs) and Mason Starling (34 catches, 600 yards, 7 TDs). Since an opening-season loss to Tumwater, the Cardinals have won seven consecutive games.
About the Hawks: Either the scoreboard won’t be able to contain the points scored or the operator’s fingers are going to get cold. Coach Steve Schultz said his No. 1 defense is allowing eight points per game this season. That’s what happens with WSU commit DE Kelle Sanders and Zach Carter, the school’s all-time leading tackler, at linebacker. “It’s on. It’s showtime,” Schultz said. “I love this team that I have. They get excited to play big games. I know Franklin Pierce is bred the same way.”
TNT pick: River Ridge, 48-42.
PORT TOWNSEND REDHAWKS (6-2) VS. NO. 5 CASCADE CHRISTIAN COUGARS (8-0)
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sunset Chev Stadium, Sumner
About the Redhawks: The offense revolves around QB Berkley Hill (47 for 86, 650 yards, 11 TDs; 159 carries, 1,227 yards, 20 TDs), and his ability to move, yet keep his eyes down the field. And it’s a different Port Townsend offense under first year coach Alex Heilig than what Cascade Christian last saw three years ago — the last time these two schools were in the same league. It has gone from a power-running system to its current spread offense under Heilig. “Our offensive line has stepped up,” Heilig said.
About the Cougars: They are finally starting to get somewhat healthy. Zackery Bartolome (85 carries, 614 yards, 6 TDs) has returned to help complement what Tyquan Coleman (59 carries, 618 yards, 15 TDs) had accomplished in his stead. WR Austin Carder (38 catches, 809 yards, 8 TDs) leads the league in receiving. Cascade Christian can clinch its fourth consecutive 1A Nisqually League title, but first since this football-only league expanded this year to include four teams from the Olympic Leauge.
TNT pick: Cascade Christian, 42-28.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 7 MONROE BEARCATS (8-0) VS. NO. 9 LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS (8-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Lake Stevens
The skinny: No Jacob Eason for Lake Stevens this time. He’s now starting at quarterback for the University of Georgia. Just imagine those shoes junior quarterback Conor Bardue (124 for 167, 2,145 yards, 34 TDs) stepped into this year and the unfair comparisons to Eason that would naturally follow. Fortunately for Bardue, he also had one of Eason’s favorite targets who became his own No. 1 target in Hunter Eckstrom (37 catches, 589 yards, 10 TDs). But how about 4A Wesco counterpart Monroe? It has the second-highest scoring offense in 4A (49.5 per game, just behind Lake Stevens’ 49.8) and the fewest points allowed (7.1 per game, while Lake Stevens allows 9 per game). Monroe RB JJ Jerome (134 carries, 1,642 yards, 21 TDs) ran for 363 yards and five TDs in a win over Mariner earlier this year. Former Washington State receiver Michael Bumpus has the Bearcats rolling in his second year as their coach.
TNT pick: Monroe, 42-35.
TJ Cotterill: email@example.com