Week 9 Washington high school football preview: 3 storylines, game predictions, top statewide matchups
Lake Stevens has controlled the 4A Wesco for a decade, but the Vikings might be in for their biggest test during that span Friday when they host top-ranked Glacier Peak.
Also, there are a few league championships at state in Class 3A, notably the Greater Spokane League, the Greater St. Helens League, the Pierce County League and the Wesco.
Here is a quick recap of last week’s highlights, and a look forward to Week 9 storylines and games to follow:
THREE THINGS WORTH REVISITING FROM WEEK 8
Photo by Vince Miller
Eastside Catholic completes perfect run through Metro League
In back-to-back seasons, no. 2 Eastside Catholic not only won the 3A Metro League title, it did not drop a game to a league foe.
But this case, it was different as many of the coaches felt this was as talented and deep the league had been in years.
The Crusaders fended off all challenges, capped by a 41-21 home victory last Friday over Rainier Beach.
“You are not playing mediocre teams,” Eastside Catholic coach Dominic Daste said. “You are playing teams that are big and physical.”
And yet, Daste admitted that if somebody had asked him over the summer if he thought his team would sport an 8-0 record at this point – he really was on the fence.
“We didn’t play well in camp,” he said. “But for us, our big goal was to get better each and every week, and we proved that.”
Not surprisingly, the Crusaders are ranked No. 1 in the WIAA’s RPI system in the Class 3A ranks. They are off this week, but could host playoff games through the state semifinals.
“Each team has to prove it to themselves,” Daste said. “In 2019, we did it (win 3A title) … but we don’t have JT (Tuimoloau) running around here anymore. We have a different group of guys who have to prove they can do it.”
Southridge earns ‘signature win’ in epic comeback over Kennewick
Matt Johnson knows what it’s like to stroll down the hallway on a Monday morning as a player after a big victory. He collected those regularly at Tumwater High School before going on to college and the NFL.
Southridge’s 38-37 victory over reigning Class 3A runner-up Kennewick qualified as such.
And it wasn’t just the win – it was the way in which the Suns did it, erasing a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes to stun the Lions.
“It’s a huge win for our program, a huge win for our seniors,” said Johnson, the school’s second-year coach. “Definitely a signature win. There’s a different feeling around school this week.”
The play that won it for the Wing-T-based Suns was a pass play out of a timeout – an 18-yard touchdown from Austin Guier to H-back Gunnar Beauchamp with 35 seconds remaining.
“That was the call in the huddle,” Johnson said. “The quarterback wanted it. Our kids wanted it.”
With the victory, Southridge claims the top 3A seed from the Mid-Columbia Conference in the round-of-32 playoffs.
“There’s a really good vibe at our school right now,” Johnson said.
River View wins first 2B EWAC championship in two decades
Kris Welch lived a lot of good times as a player at River View High School in Kennewick, including a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2009.
But he never got to experience a league championship – until Friday as the coach at his alma mater.
Miguel Farias rushed for 216 yards and both touchdowns, and River View won his first league title in 21 years with a 14-12 victory over Columbia of Burbank.
“They just took the bull by the horns,” Welch said.
Columbia of Burbank is full of big-play firepower, but the Panthers limited quarterback Michael Lenke to 41 passing yards on a night of periodic downpours.
“Our back-end coverage was on point,” Welch said. “We wanted to bait Lenke to use his legs to beat us … because our defense can swarm.”
After the win, Welch said the team stayed on the visiting field for a while to soak in the moment. On the bus home – and at practice this week – his players were still “smiling from ear to ear.”
“They are strong, tough football players,” Welch said.
REWIND SBLIVE’S WEEK 8 COVERAGE
Photo by Eric Smith
Fri: (3A) Mount Spokane 31, (4A) Gonzaga Prep 27
Fri: (3A) Ferndale 28, (3A) No. 7Stanwood7
GAME STORY & HIGHLIGHTS
Fri: (3A) No. 1 Yelm 58, (3A) Peninsula 14
GAME STORY | PHOTO GALLERY
Fri: (3A) No. 2 Eastside Catholic 41, (3A) No. 9 Rainier Beach 21
Sat: (3A) No. 5 Lincoln 42, (3A) Lakes 28
GAME STORY & HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY
Sat: (4A) Graham-Kapowsin 35, (4A) No. 2 Emerald Ridge 25
TOP STORYLINES TO FOLLOW IN WEEK 9
Photo by Todd Milles
State game of the year on tap – No. 1 Glacier Peak vs. No. 2 Lake Stevens
It’s a bit of a preview of the playoffs before they officially start.
The top two Class 4A teams in the state will be battling it out for the 4A Wesco title Friday when top-ranked Glacier Peak takes a visit to Lake Stevens.
Since the beginning of the season, it’s felt like all roads lead to the other squad with these two teams. Even when both fell in regular season contests along the way. The moment and final destination is here.
Lake Stevens not only has the 4A Wesco title to play for, but the Vikings’ 53-game conference winning streak will meet its toughest test all year. A win would also give Lake Stevens an astonishing ninth consecutive league title (not counting the pandemic-shortened season in spring 2021).
Meanwhile, Glacier Peak is looking to claim its first-ever 4A Wesco championship.
Both squads come in with undefeated league records and Division I talent on their rosters. The Vikings are led by Notre Dame commit Jayden Limar in the backfield and the Grizzlies have do-it-all athlete Washington State commit Trey Leckner.
Glacier Peak averages 40 points a game while Lake Stevens averages 38.0 ppg (not counting a forfeit).
‘Battle of the Bell’ … and GSL title, top seed all at stake
Mount Spokane is in a good place after upsetting Gonzaga Prep last week.
The Wildcats are in the driver’s seat for not only the outright Greater Spokane League title, but also the 3A GSL top seed in the first week of the playoffs.
Only problem for Mount Spokane is its opponent, Mead, also has those things at stake. The winner will claim the 3A GSL top seed regardless, but the Panthers would earn a share of the overall league title with a win.
“This Friday night is the reason the Mead School District built this stadium,” Mead coach Keith Stamps said. “It’s two great football teams, the place will be sold out and there’s a lot on the line. It’s pretty cool.”
The stakes, paired with the rivalry, are going to make for a can’t-miss night in northern Spokane.
Mount Spokane has won the past three games in the rivalry.
Earning that top seed out of the GSL into the state’s round of 32 is important, Stamps said.
“That’s an important piece. I think the winner of this game is going to be at home (in Week 10), for sure,” he said. “It’s an important game. When those numbers come out on Sunday, I think there’s going to be a significant difference between who wins and who loses as far as the path to advance.”
Evergreen of Vancouver in hunt for 3A GSHL
To put it simply, it’s been a very long time since Evergreen of Vancouver has been in the conversation for the 3A Greater St. Helens League title.
But that’s right where the Plainsmen are at the end of the regular season with Kelso coming to town.
“We’re still not all the way where we want to be, obviously, but to be playing for a league title and be 6-2 right now – I’m really excited about that,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said.
It’s been a long journey for the Plainsmen to return to this stage. The last time Evergreen posted a record better than .500 was 2008.
The uncertainty the pandemic brought also made it hard for a rebuilding team to find some consistency, Swain said.
With all of that in mind, he added he couldn’t be happier with the direction the program is headed in his fourth year leading it.
Upending preseason co-favorite Kelso for the 3A GSHL title would be a great end to the regular season, but Swain knows it’s going to be a slugfest.
“Kelso is very physical. They’re big up front and very disciplined,” Swain said. “You kind of know what’s coming every year, they’re just really good at what they do.”
TOP WEEK 9 GAMES ON TAP
Photo by Vince Miller
(4A) no. 1 Glacier Peak Grizzlies (7-1) at (4A) No. 2 Lake Stevens Vikings (6-2)
7 pm Friday at Lake Stevens High School
Skinny: Lake Stevens going for its ninth consecutive 4A Wesco title and Glacier Peak is going for its first in program history.
Live streaming link: STSPN
SBLive Washington’s pick: Glacier Peak, 35-30
(3A) no. 5 Lincoln of Tacoma Abes (8-0) at (3A) No. 7 Spanaway Lake Sentinels (7-1)
7pm Friday at Art Crate Field, Spanaway
Skinny: Up for grabs is the 3A PCL crown, and this is a matchup of good signal callers – Lincoln’s Gabarri Johnson and Spanaway Lake’s Dempsy James.
Live streaming link: None
SBLive Washington’s pick: Lincoln, 28-13
(3A) Mead Panthers (7-1) at (3A) Mount Spokane Wildcats (7-1)
7pm Friday at Union Stadium, Mead
Skinny: The 3A/4A Greater Spokane League title is on the line, but so is the league’s top 3A seed into the playoffs.
Live streaming link: NFHS
SBLive Washington’s pick: Mead, 21-17
(3A) Kelso Hilanders (6-2) at (3A) Evergreen of Vancouver Plainsmen (6-2)
7pm Friday at McKenzie Stadium, Vancouver
Skinny: Kelso is familiar with high-leverage, late-season games, which could be the difference in this 3A GSHL title showdown.
Live streaming link: None
SBLive Washington’s pick: Kelso, 35-20
(3A) no. 8 Ferndale Golden Eagles (6-2) at (3A) No. 6 Monroe Bearcats (8-0)
7pm Friday at Monroe High School
Skinny: The Golden Eagles take a visit to Monroe with the 3A Wesco title on the line for the second consecutive year.
Live streaming link: None
SBLive Washington’s pick: Ferndale, 41-35
(2A) no. 1 Lynden Lions (8-0) at (2A) No. 4 Anacortes Seahawks (8-0)
7 pm Friday at Rice Field, Anacortes
Skinny: The reigning champion against the up-and-comer is for all the marbles in the 2A Northwest Conference.
Live streaming link: YouTube
SBLive Washington’s pick: Lynden, 24-21