Week 7 Preview: Battles at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom


Not that last week — or any week of football ever — was boring, but this weekend… This is what we love to see. Fourteen games on the schedule between Friday and Saturday, just about all of them with high stakes either in terms of league standings or momentum for the stretch run. Here’s what we’ve got.


Black Hills at Centralia

The two remaining winless teams in the Chronicle coverage area will meet up at Tiger Stadium on Friday, and come Saturday, only one will remain winless. Black Hills has looked better than their record for much of the fall, but the Wolves just have not been able to close games out. Either Black Hills is going to figure out how to put a full four quarters together, or Centralia is going to finally snap its multi-year skid.

Prairie at W.F. West

For a Week 7 non-league game, this one carries a whole lot of weight for W.F. West. The Bearcats have taken their lumps against good teams enough that at 3-3 overall, it’s just about building as much momentum as possible, and this could be a week that turns last Friday’s win over Rochester into sustained speed going into a high-stakes showdown against Aberdeen next weekend. Prairie might be 1-5 on the season, but the 3A Falcons are still likely to bring size and depth with them up north, giving the Bearcats a test in the trenches.

Aberdeen at Rochester

For the second straight week, the game with the highest stakes in the 2A EvCo will take place in Rochester, where both the Warriors and Bobcats will meet after suffering their first league losses. Rochester looked good for a half last week against W.F. West before things began to spiral, while Aberdeen got its doors blown off by Tumwater. Both of these sides are in prime spots to make the playoffs, but for the second straight week, the Warriors can clinch one for good with a win.

Shelton at Tumwater

Funnily enough, the only teams that can clinch anything from this matchup are W.F. West and Rochester — if Shelton loses, both will clinch crossover spots. With a win over the Bearcats and Aberdeen already and Rochester still on the schedule, Tuwmater could actually lose this game and still remain in pole position to win the 2A EvCo. That probably won’t happen, though. The T-Birds have hit 55 points in all three league games they’ve played, and Shelton’s defense is not likely to slow that offense down much.

Elma at Tenino

Welcome to the 1A Evergreen League, where a team has the chance to go from 0-5 to clinching a crossover spot in just two weeks. One win in their next two games would make the Beavers 2-1 in league play in a five-team league where four teams get postseason spots, and Hoquiam — over whom Tenino already has a head-to-head tiebreaker — can do no better than 2-2. That being said, the Beavers’ last league game will be against a Montesano side that’s outscored opponents 256-27 this season, while Elma’s four wins have come against Centralia, White Salmon, Hoquiam and Black Hills. This one’s pretty much a must-win for the Beavers.

Adna at Toledo

Welcome to the SWW 2B South Division, where a team can get its league opener in Week 7. They’re all must-wins from here on out for Adna, which will face three league opponents in three league games to end the season, starting with a matchup in Toledo against a Riverhawk group that’s 0-1 in league play. The South is already complete chaos, thanks to Kalama’s win over Onalaska last week, putting the Chinooks in front for the moment, and an Adna win will knock Toledo out of contention for the division crown. The Pirates got moving in the right direction last week with a non-league win over Stevenson, while the Riverhawks surged ahead before holding on for dear life against PWV. However this game goes — and it can go a whole lot of ways — will have huge ramifications on the division.

Stevenson at Onalaska

Onalaska dips out of division play after losing to Kalama in a game that could have given the Loggers a stranglehold on the South. Instead, this game turns into a similar situation that W.F. West finds itself in — completely meaningless in terms of postseason status, but huge as a way of getting to speed for games in the coming weeks that really matter. Stevenson has lost back-to-back games to Kalama and Adna in which it’s allowed an average of 44.5 points per game.

Raymond-South Bend at Pe Ell-Willapa Valley

The Clash of the Hyphens could be won this week, if PWV takes out RSB for the second straight year. To do so, the Titans will need to slow down a Raven offense that’s put up 48 points per game this season and has cracked 60 on two separate occasions. For the Titans, the trick will be repeating the performance that saw them outscore Toledo 24-0 in the second half last Friday — without digging themselves a 27-point hole this time.

Morton-White Pass vs. Asotin (at Kamiakin)

Color us curious as to how this game got set up, with MWP scheduling a game against a school so far east it’s practically in Idaho and agreeing to meet in the middle in the Tri-Cities. For all that, here’s the primer on the Panthers: they’re 4-2 and sit smack in the middle of the seven-team Northeast 2B League. Their two losses have come against undefeated Manson and undefeated Northwest Christian (Colbert) and they have wins over the likes of Liberty (Spangle) and Chewelah. Oddly enough, this will be the first — and really, only — litmus test for West vs. East in terms of 2B power this season before the postseason rolls around.

Rainier at Toutle Lake

Rainier is off and running, and the Mountaineers don’t look like they plan on slowing down any time soon. Sure, playing an 8-man game last week probably inflated a few of the numbers in their 82-52 win over Ocosta last week, but between Josh Meldrum, Hunter Howell and Jared Sprouffske, quarterback Jake Meldrum has a veritable three-headed monster to get the ball too. This week, they get to face a Toutle Lake team that just allowed 30 points to winless North Beach.

Naselle at Mossyrock

There’s really just one game that everything comes down to in terms of 8-man football in southwest Washington, and this year, it’ll be Mossyrock’s turn to host it. Mossyrock has passed every 8-man test it’s faced this year with flying colors, and Naselle has done the same. Last year’s matchup in Pacific County was a wall-to-wall banger, with the Comets jumping out to a 20-6 lead early and the Vikings coming back to tie it 28-28 by halftime, then scoring the first 22 points in the third quarter to pull ahead. The X-factors, as per usual in 8-man football, will be the defenses; Mossyrock won last year in large part thanks to two defensive touchdowns.

Winlock at Muckleshoot Tribal

Winlock took its lumps early in the fall, but the Cardinals have hit an easier patch in their schedule and are making the most of it with back-to-back league wins. Sophomore James Cusson has racked up 653 rushing yard in the past two weeks, and he and the Cardinals are not likely to slow down with a matchup against a winless Muckleshoot team next up. A winning league record — and a possible postseason spot — is well within reach for Winlock, after starting the year 0-3.


Kalama at Napavine

Is anyone buying that this (non-league) game doesn’t have stakes? The rematch of the 2021 state title game is made all the more intriguing by Kalama’s 44-36 win over Onalaska last week, suggesting that the Chinooks are more than a few steps ahead of where they regressed to last season. Kalama quarterback Aiden Brown is slotting into the Jackson Esary role, either throwing or rushing for every single Chinook yard last week, a week after throwing for 477 yards against Stevenson. Napavine shed its loss to Lynden Christian with a comprehensive blowout of MWP last weekend, but this one could be a high-scoring battle.

Oakville at Sound Christian

Oakville might be sitting at 1-5 on the season, but the Acorns have to feel good about themselves in comparison to Sound Christian, which is 0-6 and just lost to Taholah. Giovanni and Daniel Rodas connected for 258 yards and five touchdowns in Oakville’s loss to Winlock last week, and the brotherly connection is primed to go wild again this Friday.