High School Sports

Week 9: High school football games to watch, predictions

Timberline running back Michael Barnes looks for running room between North Thurston defensive back Chase Kingston (1) and linebacker Austin Bates during Friday night's crosstown rivalry game at South Sound Stadium in Lacey on Oct. 20, 2017.
Timberline running back Michael Barnes looks for running room between North Thurston defensive back Chase Kingston (1) and linebacker Austin Bates during Friday night's crosstown rivalry game at South Sound Stadium in Lacey on Oct. 20, 2017. toverman@theolympian.com

WEEK 9 GAMES TO WATCH

4A NPSL CASCADE

TAHOMA BEARS (7-1) VS. HAZEN HIGHLANDERS (6-2)

7 p.m. Thursday at Renton Memorial Stadium

About the Bears: They won three games last year. Now? Tahoma is one win away from clinching the 4A NPSL Cascade title. You can bet much of that is because of the brilliance of longtime coach Tony Davis. QB Conner Lambro (136-for-212, 1,621 yards, 15 TDs; 90 carries, 349 yards, 7 TDs) took some lumps last year, but has been a dual-threat force for Tahoma this season. And if he can find WR Jerrel Chapman (41 catches, 665 yards, 6 TDs), it will be a tough night for Hazen. If Bears win, they face Jackson in the district playoffs.

About the Highlanders: Speaking of turnarounds – Hazen hadn’t won more than three games in a season since 2013. And look at it now under second-year coach Chris Bennett? RB Delvon McNeely (189 carries, 1,343 yards, 19 TDs; 12 catches, 398 yards, 5 TDs) has been the spark plug. He averages 248.8 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns per game. Go ahead and read that one more time. The Highlanders get the league title only if it beats Tahoma, and Kentlake helps them out with a win over Kentwood.

TNT pick: Hazen, 32-28

3A SSC

NO. 7 TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (8-0) VS. PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (6-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Roy Anderson Field (Purdy)

About the Seahawks: Everyone wants to talk about senior QB Burke Griffin (128-for-164, 1,696 yards, 15 TDs), but the Seahawks have the running game and receivers to complement him. Junior RB/S Braeden Potter and senior RB/LB Michael Foreman have stepped in as first-year starting tailbacks and made this a balanced offense. Now if Peninsula can just enact some revenge and pay Timberline back for taking the 3A SSC title over it last year. Just like last year, winner of this takes the league’s top seed to the district playoffs (and hosts Stadium).

About the Blazers: They held Peninsula to just three points and used a goal-line stand to clinch the league title last year, and Timberline might have a new (but former) coach in Nick Mullen, but he thinks this defense is just as punishing, especially with a front seven led by linebacker Ty Edmond and safety Michael Barnes. No 3A school in the state has allowed fewer points this season than Timberline (63, 7.9 points per game). Mullen’s only issue is trying to get Barnes (150 carries, 899 yards, 9 TDs) some plays off, “but he just doesn’t seem to get tired,” Mullen said.

TNT pick: Timberline, 14-10

3A PCL

BETHEL BRAVES (7-1) VS. LAKES LANCERS (6-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Harry Lang Stadium (Lakewood)

About the Braves: Remember last year when Bethel was 4-6 and missed the playoffs? Night and day compared to this year, with the Braves sitting at 7-1. Coach Mark Iddins said they play with much more chemistry than last season, now that they aren’t rotating three QBs. That job belongs to string-bean junior Nate Hughes (132-for-198, 1,882 yards, 28 TDs) who is as efficient as any quarterback in the state – 28 TDs to 3 INTs and completes 67 percent of his passes. How big is this game, though? Winner hosts either Central Kitsap or Yelm next week, loser travels to defending state champion Kamiakin.

About the Lancers: Good news – WR Cody Roe (30 catches, 764 yards, 7 TDs) is expected to play this week after taking a helmet to his leg and leaving last week’s win over Stadium. But how about RB/LB Khalil Lewis (157 carries, 1,208 yards, 12 TDs; 46 tackles, 12 for loss, 5 sacks)? He continues to impress with his two-way capabilities, including the hardest hit coach Dave Miller said he’s seen a high school kid make after a Stadium interception last week. “What I love about this team – the chemistry is amazing,” Miller said. “We don’t have any ‘I’ guys. It’s a team.”

TNT pick: Bethel, 27-26

2A SPSL

STEILACOOM SENTINELS (7-1) VS. NO. 5 FIFE TROJANS (8-0)

7 p.m. Friday at Fife High School

About the Sentinels: It’s been an emotional season for Steilacoom. It won the 2A SPSL Sound title, but did so without coach Rich Lane, who abruptly stepped down after a loss to Tumwater. Colby Davies took over, but the Sentinels have continued to play balanced football. QB JJ Lemming (87-for-160, 1,345 yards, 15 TDs) spreads the ball around well to his receivers, with Emeka Egbuka (28 catches, 513 yards, 7 TDs) and TJ Page (27 catches, 446 yards, 6 TDs) leading the way. And RB Jaymason Willingham (74 carries, 529 yards, 6 TDs) runs as hard as any back they’ve had.

About the Trojans: Winner of this is the 2A SPSL’s overall champion. And it’s a chance for Fife to prove itself beyond the 2A SPSL Mountain, where no team has figured out how to contain the Trojans’ punishing wing-T run game. Do you stop Xavier Preston (77 carries, 727 yards, 15 TDs) on the outside? Lavelle Alexander (77 carries, 755 yards, 11 TDs) inside? And how do you also then pay attention to dual-threat QB Falani Jennings and RB Dayjon Brooks? And all that is led by an offensive line that includes 6-foot-7, 335-pound UW commit MJ Ale. “Last year he made blocks. This year, he’s dominating,” Fife coach Kent Nevin said.”

TNT pick: Fife, 31-17

STATE GAME OF THE WEEK

NO. 7 UNION TITANS (7-1) VS. NO. 1 CAMAS PAPERMAKERS (8-0)

7 p.m. Friday at Doc Harris Stadium (Camas)

The skinny: Sure, the Papermakers lost almost all of their key contributors from last year’s 4A state championship team, including TNT state player of the year Jack Colletto. But they just keep winning, including victories over Central Catholic (Ore.) and Couer d’Alene (which has UW-bound Army All-American QB Colson Yankoff). Not bad for Camas under first-year starting QB Kyle Allen (130-for-211, 1,822 yards, 19 TDs). Almost half of his touchdowns are to WR Drake Own (45 catches, 754 yards, 9 TDs). But how will Camas fare in a 4A GSHL title game against Union? Union and junior dual-threat QB Lincoln Victor (91-for-164, 1,422 yards, 19 TDs; 55 carries, 365 yards, 4 TDs) hope to end a five-game losing streak against Camas. Winner faces the 4A NPSL Cascade No. 3 (Tahoma, Hazen or Kentlake) next week and loser faces 4A NPSL Olympic No. 2 (Auburn Riverside or Todd Beamer).

TNT pick: Camas, 28-26

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677

Twitter: @TJCotterill

WEEK 9 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

All games are at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

2A SPSL (mini-playoff, one half)

Eatonville 54, Orting 20

River Ridge 14, Eatonville 0

THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE

4A NPSL Cascade

Kentridge (1-7) vs. Kent-Meridian (0-8), at French Field (Kent)

Tahoma (6-2) vs. Hazen (6-2), at Renton Memorial Stadium

4A NPSL Olympic

Todd Beamer (6-2) vs. Decatur (2-6), at Federal Way Memorial Stadium

Enumclaw (7-1) vs. Auburn Mountainview (4-4), at Auburn Memorial Stadium

4A SPSL

Rogers (3-5) vs. Graham-Kapowsin (7-1), at Art Crate Stadium (Spanaway)

NONLEAGUE

Olympia (4-4) vs. Meadowdale (4-4), at Edmonds Stadium

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

4A NPSL Cascade

Kentlake (5-3) vs. Kentwood (6-2), at French Field (Kent)

4A NPSL Olympic

Auburn Riverside (7-1) vs. Auburn (5-3), at Auburn Memorial Stadium

Thomas Jefferson (1-7) vs. Federal Way (3-5), at Federal Way Memorial Stadium

4A SPSL

Emerald Ridge (1-7) vs. Sumner (6-2), at Sunset Chev Stadium (Sumner)

Bellarmine Prep (5-3) vs. Puyallup (7-1), at Sparks Stadium (Puyallup)

Curtis (3-5) at South Kitsap (0-8)

3A PCL

Bonney Lake (2-6) vs. Spanaway Lake (2-6), at Art Crate Field (Spanaway)

Mt. Tahoma (1-7) vs. Wilson (1-7), at Stadium Bowl (Tacoma)

Stadium (4-4) vs. Lincoln (7-1), at Lincoln Bowl (Tacoma)

Bethel (7-1) vs. Lakes (6-2), at Harry Lang Stadium (Lakewood)

3A SSC

Shelton (0-8) vs. Capital (2-6), at Ingersoll Stadium (Olympia)

Gig Harbor (4-4) vs. North Thurston (1-7), at South Sound Stadium (Lacey)

Timberline (8-0) vs. Peninsula (6-2), at Roy Anderson Field (Purdy)

Central Kitsap (5-3) at Yelm (5-3)

2A EVERGREEN

W.F. West (7-1) vs. Tumwater (6-2), at Tumwater District Stadium

Black Hills (4-4) at Rochester (2-5)

2A SPSL (seeding games)

5 p.m.: River Ridge (4-3) vs. Franklin Pierce (5-3) (winner third, loser fourth)

Steilacoom (6-2) at Fife (8-0) (winner first, loser second)

Highline (2-6) vs. Foster (4-4)

Clover Park (2-6) vs. Foss (3-5)

8 p.m.: Orting (4-4) vs. Washington (5-3) (winner seventh, loser eighth)

1A NISQUALLY

Cascade Christian (7-1) vs. Port Townsend (3-5), at Memorial Stadium (Port Townsend)

Vashon Island (2-6) vs. Charles Wright (6-2)

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

4A NPSL Cascade

Mount Rainier (2-6) vs. Kennedy Catholic (5-3), at Highline Memorial Stadium (Burien)

2A SPSL (seeding game)

Eatonville (6-2) at White River (5-3) (winner fifth, loser sixth)

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