Three high school football games to watch this week in the South Sound and beyond. Plus, the state game of the week.
NO. 6 SUMNER SPARTANS (2-0) VS. NO. 8 PUYALLUP VIKINGS (1-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Sparks Stadium, Puyallup
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About the Spartans: Sumner may have graduated LB Ben Wilson — now playing as a freshman at TCU — but that hasn’t stunted its defense. Eight quarters into the season, the Spartans haven’t allowed a point, outscoring 4A SPSL rivals South Kitsap and Olympia 94-0. They are one of two teams in the South Sound (Todd Beamer is the other) that have yet to allow an opposing team to score. And last week against the Bears — a district-playoff team a year ago — Sumner’s defense allowed just five first downs and 88 yards, while its offense piled up 421 yards and six TDs.
About the Vikings: The defending 4A SPSL champs are a big target for both the Spartans and top-ranked Graham-Kapowsin. Puyallup stunningly beat both of those teams in back-to-back weeks last season. While Sumner and G-K look to play spoiler, the Vikings are aiming for a second consecutive title behind a powerful offense that includes senior dual-threat QB Jacob Holcomb (37 of 52 passing, 572 yards; 22 carries, 169 yards; 8 total TDs) and senior WR Justin Haase (11 catches, 289 yards, TD). The Vikings hung 101 points on their first two opponents — Bellarmine Prep and Emerald Ridge.
TNT pick: Puyallup, 42-38
GIG HARBOR TIDES (1-1) VS. TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (1-1)
7 p.m. Friday, South Sound Stadium, Lacey
About the Tides: Gig Harbor was missing a few of its key players last week in a 33-21 loss to Curtis, including seniors WR/DB Ryan King and WR/DB Jurrian Herring, who both start at receiver and corner, and a pair of starting linemen. But, the Tides should be close to full strength to open 3A SSC play. Senior QB Ben Hollenbeck (21 of 40 passing, 282 yards; 18 carries, 136 yards; 5 total TDs) accounted for most of the Tides’ offense last week without his starting receivers and has passed for 150-plus yards in consecutive outings.
About the Blazers: Timberline regrouped from an unexpected four-touchdown loss to Thurston County rival and top-ranked 2A team Tumwater in Week 1 by topping Bonney Lake, 28-21, last Friday. The Blazers are the two-time defending 3A SSC champions, and haven’t lost a league game since 2016. Mobile senior QB Hunter Campau (16 of 31 passing, 171 yards; 35 carries, 154 yards; 4 total TDs) paces the offense, while junior RB Jaden Gorman impressed against the Panthers last week with 160 yards on 21 carries.
TNT pick: Timberline, 27-24
2A SPSL SOUND
RIVER RIDGE HAWKS (1-1) VS. NO. 6 STEILACOOM SENTINELS (2-0)7 p.m. Friday, Steilacoom High School
About the Hawks: Senior RB Kieran Hunkin (27 carries, 250 yards, 4 TDs) rushed for 181 yards and three scores last week to lift the Hawks to a 41-13 win over Mount Tahoma, helping remove the sour taste from River Ridge’s last-second loss on the road at W.F. West a week earlier. Sophomore QB Jevon Brown (16 of 37 passing, 259 yards, 3 TDs) led the offense for the second consecutive week.
About the Sentinels: Steilacoom has the talent to defend its 2A SPSL Sound title and make a long postseason run with three Division I recruits on its roster. Senior QB J.J. Lemming (35 of 71 passing, 560 yards, 7 TDs), the reigning 2A SPSL Sound MVP, and sophomore WR/DB Emeka Egbuka (11 catches, 263 yards, 5 TDs), who is ranked No. 38 nationally in his class, lead an electric offense. Senior RB/LB Jaymason Wilingham (27 tackles) anchors the Sentinels on defense.
TNT pick: Steilacoom, 35-28
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 1 O’DEA FIGHTING IRISH (2-0) VS. NO. 9 BOTHELL COUGARS (2-0)
6 p.m. Saturday, Seattle Memorial Stadium
About the Fighting Irish: Last year’s 3A state champions barely escaped with a 26-21 win over Bethel last week in Seattle. The Braves had seemingly scored the winning touchdown until a holding penalty erased the play with no time left of the clock, extending a nine-game O’Dea winning streak. The Irish still hold a spotless record, and remain the team to beat in 3A, behind senior QB Emonte Scott (8 of 13 passing, 144 yards, 2 TDs) and a balanced stable of running backs.
About the Cougars: Bothell’s offense outgunned Kennedy Catholic in a showdown last week, scoring four TDs in the first quarter of a 59-41 win, proving the Cougars remain one of the state powers in 4A. Bothell piled up 483 yards of offense in the win over the Lancers, mostly on the legs of junior RB Christian Galvan, who carried the ball 31 times for 241 yards and scored four TDs.
TNT pick: O’Dea, 21-17