Thomas Jefferson Raiders (3-2)
vs. Todd Beamer Titans (4-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium
About the Raiders: Just because they’ve gone more than a decade without a winning record doesn’t mean other teams haven’t taken notice of this year’s group. They are tough, led by the league’s top rusher in Kenneth Turner (135 carries, 809 yards, 11 touchdowns) and the No. 2 rushing defense (behind Beamer). Could just as easily be 5-0 if not for a pick-six against Graham-Kapowsin and another against Kentwood.
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About the Titans: Chuck Knox would like this game. Beamer coach Darren McKay has watched Jefferson play three times this season, and each time he’s reminded of his own team: run the ball, play tough defense. Beamer will need Andrew Tofaeono (88 carries, 632 yards, nine TDs) to break loose, and the defense will have to compensate for safety Jessie Williams, who McKay said recently had surgery on his hand.
TNT pick: Jefferson, 17-14.
Kent-Meridian Royals (3-2)
vs. Tahoma Bears (4-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Tahoma High School
About the Royals: This week is the start of the Royals’ version of murderer’s row. Tahoma on Friday and Kentwood next week. As the offensive line has strengthened, so has the team — and it doesn’t hurt to have a go-to receiver in area leader Emmanuel Daigbe (26 catches, 597 yards, 4 TDs) and a running game to go with it behind Shamar Malik Woolery (64 carries, 564 yards, 9 TDs).
About the Bears: Turnovers plagued Tahoma in last week’s loss against Kentwood, despite QB Amandre Williams (125 of 204, 1,606 yards, 14 TDs) throwing for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns. Tahoma will need Williams and Michael Clauson to wreak havoc along the defensive line — and the Bears will have to keep from handing K-M all those extra possessions it gave Kentwood.
TNT pick: Tahoma, 32-27.
No. 9 Auburn Mountainview Lions (4-1) vs. No. 4 Lakes Lancers (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Harry Lang Stadium, Lakewood
About the Lions: QB Gresch Jensen (80 of 129, 1,374 yards, 18 TDs; 40 carries, 103 yards, 3 TDs) makes this offense so dangerous. He can get the ball out quickly, or he can keep it. And he’s not one of those run-around-you quarterbacks. He’ll run over you. He has thrown at least four touchdowns in each of AMV’s four wins. He didn’t throw any in a loss to Sumner.
About the Lancers: How different is Lakes this year? For one, the team has a fantastic bill of health, coach Dave Miller said after injuries hit the Lancers hard last year; and the players aren’t doing so bad in the classroom, either. That’s critical because these next two weeks will weigh heavily on Lakes’ league-title hopes. Cale Lindsay and Elijah McMillon have anchored a dominant Lancers defense.
TNT pick: Lakes, 28-24.
OF THE WEEK
No. 6 Bishop Blanchet Braves (5-0) vs. No. 1 Eastside Catholic Crusaders (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Eastside Catholic, Sammamish
The skinny: Blanchet handed then-fourth-ranked O’Dea its first loss last week. But Eastside Catholic is a different kind of beast with passing offense led by Cornell commit Harley Kirsch (71 of 96, 1,509 yards, 14 TDs) and a defense behind UW commit Brandon Wellington. This is the Crusaders’ first real in-state test of the season, but the defending 3A state champions haven’t been slowed down all season and it would take a huge effort (much like the Braves had in the fourth-quarter last week) to upend them.
TNT pick: Eastside Catholic, 52-42.