Would you perhaps be interested in multiple matchups that will help establish the various pecking orders in Lewis and Thurston Counties and make the emerging playoff picture all the clearer? Well, then do I have a slate of games for you. To the matchups:
Winlock at Sound Christian (In Lakewood)
Winlock becomes the second team to take on Sound Christian in as many weeks, and the first one (Mossyrock) just beat the Lions by 48. SC also gets the pleasure of working on an extra-short week (Saturday to Thursday), while Winlock is trying to bounce back after a loss to Naselle. Maybe a trip to the hallowed ground of Harry E. Lang Stadium will give the Cardinals a spark of state championship magic to turn things around.
W.F. West at Tumwater
Short of shocking the top team in the state, W.F. West has done just about everything it wanted to do up to this point, and makes its second straight trip to Tumwater District Stadium riding momentum for its biggest matchup of the year. But it's one thing to go to Sid Otton Field with momentum, and quite a different thing to leave it with a win. The Bearcats’ haven’t beaten the T-Birds since 2009 — heck, they haven’t put up more than seven points against them since 2015. Both sides feel real good about their big boys up front, making the question twofold: can either side exert its will in the running game, and if neither can, which will find success over the top first?
Centralia at Rochester
Back-to-back losses to Black Hills and Shelton have tumbled Rochester down the 2A EvCo ladder, and the Warriors have managed just 14 points so far in league play. Then again, the Tigers aren’t in a better spot at all, still looking for their first win for the season and sitting on 13 points against 2A EvCo opponents.
Black Hills at Aberdeen
The first priority for Black Hills has to be leaving last week in the past; a 35-point loss to W.F. West isn’t fun, but the Wolves still sit in prime position to take third in the 2A EvCo — if they take this game. The second is getting players back healthy, after finishing the matchup against the Bearcats with at least half of their starting lineup on the sidelines.
Eatonville at Tenino
Get the band and the bunting out, the top-ranked 1A team in the state is coming to the Stone City. Thanks to Lynden Christian’s upset over Royal, Eatonville slides up to the No. 1 spot in the rankings, not that Tenino needed any more help figuring out the Cruisers are, in fact, good. Last season, the Beavers gave Eatonville its toughest game of the regular season, and this year will be trying to do themselves one better.
Onalaska at Toledo
Things are currently not looking so great in Logger Land, with Onalaska on a three-game skid in which they’ve been outscored a combined 128-6. The good news? Absolutely none of it counts toward league standings. But unlike last year, when Onalaska dropped close games to higher-classification opponents on short-notice, this fall has seen the Loggers thoroughly outplayed multiple times, a sight that will make the likes of Toledo — coming off an unexpected bye — smell an opportunity.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley at Morton-White Pass
The Titans certainly didn’t ask for the schedule they were dealt, and it’s not going to get any easier this week, with an extra-long drive to Randle in store to take on the 4-0 T-Wolves. MWP didn’t exactly blow the doors off of Rainier last week, but undefeated is undefeated, and if it can finish September at 5-0, with Forks already in the rear-view mirror, things will be looking very good indeed for the green and orange.
Rainier at Ilwaco
Someone’s going to come out of this battle with a win. Based on previous scores, Rainier may have the slight upper hand — the Mountaineers have only been truly blown out once, while the Fishermens’ closest margin of defeat was 32 points — but it also has a crisp three-hour bus ride to get out of the way pregame.
Adna at Wahkiakum
Adna flew up the 2B state rankings last week, but a nightmare of a trip to Raymond-South Bend — in which it mustered just 16 passing yards — tumbled the Pirates back down. Now, they’ll look to right the ship in Cathlamet, conquering a tough place to play by getting back to a more multiple approach on offense.
Oakville at Naselle
Oakville is 2-1 and has definitely found a recipe for success on offense. But a trip to Naselle is a whole different sort of challenge than anything the Acorns have faced thus far. Last year’s matchup with the Comets ended in a 78-8 win for Naselle, and even if the Acorns can put up more points than that, stopping the Comets is a completely separate task.
Napavine at Bellingham
What better do you have to do on a Saturday than bus three hours north to play a non-league game? Bellingham is 2-2, having played a pair of 3As and a pair of 1As, but has only managed more than 15 points once so far. While no longer pitching a season shutout, Napavine is still outscoring opponents 217-6, and even a higher-classification opponent shouldn’t do much to slow the Tigers down.