Preview capsules: If it’s going to happen, it’s got to happen now


If last Friday’s seven-game slate thanks to league matchups, two Saturday games and a forfeit left you still hungry and wanting more, this week’s 12 ought to do the trick. There aren’t the caliber of headliners we saw last week, but a few sneaky-good games are lurking in the background. To the matchups:

W.F. West at Rochester

As September goes into October, the season is going to shift drastically for Rochester. So far, the Warriors have done just about everything they could have hoped for at the start of the season. They’re not just 4-1; they’re 4-1 and nobody’s been able to stop their offense when it matters. On the other hand, those four wins come against teams with a combined 2-18 record, and their next three are against league opponents who are a combined 10-4. W.F. West might be 2-3, but the Bearcats still have some of the best athletes in the area and it’s been a long, long while since they’ve been truly tested by the Warriors, let alone lost to them. Coming into the fall, Rochester coach AJ Easley thought that his new misdirection-based offense could help the Warriors catch some of the better, more athletic teams in the EvCo. Friday, we’ll get to see if he was right.

Tumwater at Aberdeen

If Rochester is one of the pleasant surprises of the 2A EvCo this fall, the other has to be Aberdeen, where the Bobcats are 4-1 and one win away from just their second winning season since 2008. That win may not come Friday, though. Tumwater just passed its toughest test of the league season with flying colors last week, thoroughly dominating W.F. West with the exception of about five minutes at the end of the second quarter. The T-Birds are still running a tailback rotation that goes five deep, and nobody’s been able to stop them.

Centralia at Shelton

And here we get to the part of the article that gives it its name. Centralia is 0-5 this season, stretching its losing streak to 16 games. That being said the Tigers’ haven’t had the easiest stretch, with losses to 1A power Eatonville and the three top teams in the EvCo standings. Now, they have their best chances to get into the win column since the Week 1 loss to Elma, starting with a matchup against Shelton. The Highclimbers are 1-4 and just got smacked 55-0 by Montesano.

Elma at Black Hills

Staying on the theme… Is Black Hills as good as it was last season? Probably not. But is Black Hills as bad as its 0-5 record suggests? No. Three of the Wolves’ losses have come by a possession, two came against undefeated-in-league teams and one was in overtime. Now, Black Hills gets its own three-game stretch of easier matchups, starting with a non-league home game against 1A Elma. This should be a favorable matchup for the Wolves, but at some point, they just have to put it together.

Hoquiam at Tenino

Hey, the theme carries down to the 1As, too, but with more stakes. Tenino’s close losses to start the fall have given way to a couple of rougher outings, but the Beavers are still just 0-1 in the 1A Evergreen, with that loss coming to Eatonville. With the five-team Evergreen getting four crossover spots, just two league wins should be enough to get Tenino to the postseason, giving it a huge two-week stretch starting this week against a woeful Hoquiam side and an Elma team that’s 3-2 without a very good win. It’s not too late for the Beavers to get rolling, but we won’t be able to say that next week.

Stevenson at Adna

Adna sits at 1-3 without having taken the field for a league game, and the Pirates still have one more non-leaguer to get through before the matchups that really matter. But after an easy blowout win over White Swan and a high-scoring loss to Raymond-South Bend before a bye, this week can be a chance to keep the offense at speed. Last year, the Pirates’ offense scored a combined seven points against Toledo, Onalaska and Kalama. If they want to have a better go of league play this year, it’ll start with a good showing Friday to build momentum.

Napavine at Morton-White Pass

One of just three actual league games this week in the local 2B world sees Morton-White Pass presented with something you don’t want to have to deal with: angry Napavine. The Tigers haven’t lost back-to-back games in the same season since 2012, and after getting blown out by 1A Lynden Christian last Saturday, they’ll be out to make sure that streak continues. MWP — ironically the last time to beat Napavine by 40 before Saturday —  is on a three-game skid in which it’s allowed an average of 49 points per game.

Onalaska at Kalama

Do these schools have any history with each other or anything? Last season saw both Kalama and Onalaska come down a bit from their respective pinnacles in 2019 and 2021, respectively, and the two still combined for a banger of a game that churned out 78 points and plenty of remaining bad feelings. Now, the Loggers and Chinooks are both back on the upswing, with Onalaska back to its uber-physical bread and butter and Kalama featuring a high-flying offense that threw for 477 yards last week.

 Pe Ell-Willapa Valley at Toledo

We make plenty of fun of league games that aren’t actually league games here, but if you believe in momentum, this matchup could be a big one. Toledo is coming off a tough loss to Onalaska, and after this week goes into must-win territory with back-to-back SWW 2B South matchups against Adna and Kalama. PWV is on a run after blowing out MWP but will be out to continue it ahead of a back-to-back against Raymond-South Bend and Forks. With MWP sitting at 0-3 in league, the Titans are in a good spot to make the postseason, but the name of the game soon will become avoiding the No. 4 spot that will have to play a play-in against a West Division team.

Ocosta at Rainier

Speaking of the West, Rainier is taking off after winning its first division matchup by four possessions over Ilwaco. Now, the Mountaineers get a date with Ocosta, which may have the weirdest resume in the state. The Wildcats are 2-2 with two wins over North Beach by an average of 49.5 points and two 8-man losses against Naselle by an average of 41. Whatever way it goes Friday in Rainier, expect points.

Chief Leschi at Mossyrock

Everything we said about Mossyrock last week holds true to this week, after the Vikings found themselves without a game when Taholah forfeited. Mossyrock’s defense might get tested against a Chief Leschi squad that’s 4-0 and has only been held under 60 points once so far, but the Vikings’ offense doesn’t look ready to slow down at all either.

Winlock at Oakville

The Cardinals and Acorns are both sitting at 1-4, and while both have already taken losses to Naselle and neither are likely to match up to Mossyrock, this game could well be a crossroads. Winlock is coming off its first win of the year, putting up 54 points against Sound Christian after managing just 34 in the first four weeks of the season. After this, the Cardinals go to winless Muckleshoot tribal, and after a game at Mossyrock, they end with Taholah, making a 4-1 end to the season very possible. The Acorns, meanwhile, follow this game with Sound Christian and Muckleshoot, making a winning streak of their own a possibility, should this game go their way.