Emerald Ridge (3-2) at Bethel (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Art Crate Field, Spanaway
About the Jaguars: Since upending defending league champion Graham-Kapowsin three weeks ago, Emerald Ridge has been on a roll with three consecutive wins. And RB Cody Anderson (86 rushes, 465 yards, seven TDs) epitomizes the style of football the Jaguars aim to play — sound, aggressive and tough to knock out on the first punch. A win Friday would be a big step toward the school’s first winning season since 2005.
About the Braves: The SPSL South’s surprise team … just keeps on surprising. But now the games are getting serious, starting with this week. After giving up 381 rushing yards in its first four games, Bethel gave up 330 last week — a big reason why it heartily welcomes physical RB/MLB Eli Teuteu (43 rushes, 240 yards, two TDs) back from an ankle injury into the starting lineup. He is the team’s best inside runner — and run-stopper.
TNT pick: Emerald Ridge, 28-23.
No. 9 Lakes (4-1) at Auburn Mountainview (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Auburn
About the Lancers: A league title might be out the window, but a home playoff game isn’t. If Lakes can extend its winning ways over the Lions (it is 6-0 all-time in the series) it will be in good position to nab the No. 2 spot. RB Yisrael Stephens (53 rushes, 320 yards, five TDs) is emerging on offense, and expect the Lancers’ defensive backs, led by CB Kemonee Jenkins, to try and jam the shifty Lions receivers at the line of scrimmage.
About the Lions: They can match their school record for wins in a season (six in 2008, 2011), but in the bigger picture, Auburn Mountainview also wants to keep pace with Peninsula in the league-title chase. It all starts with QB Gresch Jensen (69 of 124, 936 yards, 11 TDs), the league leader in total offense (247.2 ypg). But to beat Lakes, the Lions need to be physical on defense, and that’s what they’ve done in their 3-3 stack led by FS Gavin Robertson.
TNT pick: Lakes, 30-28.
Fife (4-1) at Franklin Pierce (3-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Franklin Pierce Stadium, Tacoma
About the Trojans: The winner takes over the outright lead in the 2A SPSL. And in this wacky league, Fife appears to be the most solid squad in most areas. Its gap-control defense constantly puts pressure on opposing backfields, led by NG Dalton Bogert, DT Ty’resse Lucero and DT Jonathan Jandres — all seniors. If RB Austin Woods (bruised knee) can’t return this week, offense will go through RBs C.J. Polo and Wesley Nixon.
About the Cardinals: Franklin Pierce lines up spread much of the time, but still runs a lot of its wing-T concepts out of it — led by QB Willie Patterson (42 of 78, 591 yards, six TDs). And watch out for RB Alex Bing (14 rushes, 150 yards, two TDs against Orting), a ninth grader whom coach Howard Lutton said has the best vision he’s seen since Eric Kimble. DE Owen Smith (15 tackles for loss) has single-handedly ruined opposing backfields.
TNT pick: Fife, 19-14.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 1 Freeman (5-0) at No. 7 Colville (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Colville High School
Skinny: This is about as good as it gets for the Indians, who get a shot at the defending 1A state champions at home — with a chance to snap Freeman’s 19-game winning streak. And to see them up close, both teams are very similar in make-up — strong on the inside, relentless all over the field. The Scotties might have the slight edge just because they return the reigning 1A state player of the year in RB Markus Goldbach, who rushed for 1,504 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago. But in the first game of last season — a Freeman 14-7 victory over Colville to snap a three-game skid in the series — Goldbach played fullback and saw limited carries before later becoming the primary ball-carrier. The Indians share the rushing workload among Colton Vining, Journey Young and Justin Dragovich, who have combined for nearly 1,300 yards in five games. Colville knows it is the underdog, and that is just fine with coach Randy Cornwell, who said the bulletin board in the locker room is full of newspaper clippings praising Freeman. That could change after Friday night.
TNT pick: Freeman, 21-19.