Week seven of the high school football season is here, with plenty of league title implications on the line this week. Here are the top games to follow this week featuring South Sound area teams.
NO. 1 TUMWATER (6-0 overall, 2-0 EvCo 2A) vs. NO. 7 W.F. WEST (6-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 at W.F. West High School
About the T-Birds: The 2A EvCo title will be on the line on Friday night in Chehalis. Tumwater has gotten the better of W.F. West the past two seasons, winning 44-3 in 2017 and 28-7 last year. But Tumwater missed out on the EvCo title for the first time since 2009 last season, with Black Hills winning the league last season. So while W.F. West will have plenty of motivation to beat Tumwater, the T-Birds won’t be short on motivation, either.
Dylan Paine leads the Wing-T offense which features a bevy of running backs for the T-Birds, and quarterback Cody Whalen is having an efficient season throwing the ball.
Last week’s 54-8 win over Aberdeen showed just how versatile the Tumwater attack is, with rushing touchdowns from five different players and touchdown receptions from two different targets.
About the Bearcats: This offense is as good as any around the state in Class 2A, coming off a 66-7 win over Black Hills in week five and a 70-13 win over Rochester in week six. Quarterback Josiah Johnson, running back Jaiyden Camoza and receiver Leandre Grimes lead the attack.
Against Rochester, Johnson, who completed three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown to Grimes, ran five times and erupted for 142 yards and four touchdowns. Camoza, who opened the scoring with a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown, ran for another as did freshman Gavin Fugate.
TNT pick: Tumwater, 39-24
YELM (4-2 overall, 4-0 SSC 3A) vs. PENINSULA (4-2, 4-0)
7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 at Roy Anderson Field
About the Tornados: Many thought this would be a down year for Yelm, after graduating a handful of key contributors from last year’s roster. But after a tough non-league slate which saw the Tornados get off to an 0-2 start, Yelm has been humming along in league play in the 3A SSC, posting an undefeated mark, including an impressive 42-18 win over the Gig Harbor Tides.
The league title could be on the line at Roy Anderson Field on Friday night in Gig Harbor, after Yelm missed out on the title last year after a 33-13 loss to Timberline in the final week of the regular season, despite beating Peninsula, 42-21 just two weeks prior. Quarterback Ben Hoffman and running back Carson Amendt lead an explosive Yelm offense.
About the Seahawks: There are few coaches around the state who can match the consistency of longtime Peninsula coach Ross Filkins, who has the Seahawks contending for league titles year in and year out. This season is no different, as Peninsula has gone through SSC 3A play unblemished after non-league losses to O’Dea and Skyline.
Quarterback Peyton Bice has grown into the role as the season has gone on in his first season as the starter, replacing three-year starting QB Burke Griffin, now at the University of New Hampshire. Bice has completed 70-of-117 attempts for 863 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions on the season, often going to his favorite target in senior receiver Chase Wittmers, who has 33 receptions for 452 yards and three touchdowns.
Sean Skladany is the team’s go-to bruising running back this season, racking up 449 yards and nine touchdowns on 81 carries. Linebacker Nolan Casey leads the defense.
TNT pick: Peninsula, 21-20
EATONVILLE (4-2 overall, 2-0 SPSL 2A MOUNTAIN) vs. NO. 5 STEILACOOM (4-2, 2-0)
7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 at Steilacoom High School
About the Cruisers: It’s the Caden Jumper show at Eatonville this season. After spending time at receiver and tight end last season, the do-it-all athlete has moved to quarterback this season and has been a nightmare for opposing defenses to match up against. In the past two games, Jumper has racked up over 300 passing, close to 400 rushing yards and has nine touchdowns. Eatonville is averaging 46.3 points per game in the past three contests over Washington, River Ridge and Foster.
About the Sentinels: Since a tough stretch of the schedule, which included a 41-13 loss to defending 4A state champion Union and a 56-47 loss to defending 2A runner-up Lynden, Steilacoom has been on a roll, posting a 30-13 win over Fife, 57-7 win over North Kitsap and pitching a 47-0 shutout over Washington last week. The defense, in particular, seems improved since the loss to Lynden, surrendering only 20 total points to two good teams in Fife and North Kitsap. Steilacoom’s offense, led by quarterback Chance McDonald and five-star receiver recuit Emeka Egbuka, is putting up huge numbers this season.
McDonald has completed 101-of-159 passes for 1,786 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while Egbuka has 37 receptions for 827 yards and 12 touchdowns. The defense will be challenged this week with trying to slow down Jumper and the Eatonville offense.
TNT pick: Steilacoom, 42-31