Preview capsules: Some roads get easier (but most don’t)


That “new season” smell really wore off quick, didn’t it? After a summer of dreams and hopes and what-ifs, Week 1 made things a whole lot more solid. Now that we have actual games to analyze and compare with, let’s get into the fall for real. It’s time to start making arguments on Fridays; we don’t have too many of them left before we hit the stretch run.


Centralia at Eatonville

The Tigers showed a good deal of fight and almost — almost — snapped their skid, ultimately falling to Elma in overtime. The good news is that they have another 1A team on the docket this week. The bad news is that said 1A is Eatonville, a traditional power. The “hold on, now” news is that Eatonville just got its brakes beat off by Olympic, which muddies the water a bit. But probably not too much. There’s a reason the Cruisers were picked to finish at the top of the 1A Evergreen, and the Eagles are tabbed to sink to the bottom.


W.F. West at Lynden

We expected this to be one of the premier matchups of the season. We didn’t expect it to be a matchup of two 0-1 teams. While W.F. West was letting mistakes stack up in a close loss to Ridgefield, Lynden was held to just seven points in the first 45 minutes in a loss to Ferndale, snapping its winning streak at 24 games. So now this will be a premier matchup between two royally irked squads. The good news for W.F. West is that the bulk of its woes last Friday — namely holding calls and missed defensive assignments — were entirely self-inflicted.

Tumwater at North Kitsap

If the battle in Whatcom County isn’t the 2A matchup of the week, it has to be this one on Puget Sound. Tumwater spent its Week 1 by winning big against Burlington-Edison, while North Kitsap went down to the wire against 3A Mount Tahoma, ultimately winning on a block field goal. Last season, the T-Birds beat the Vikings 8-6 at Sid Otton Field, when Tumwater went the entire second half without managing a first down, and NK missed three field goals. Our money is on more points this time around.

Kingston at Rochester

Rochester did just about everything except win last Friday, with three separate 100-yard rushers and 485 total yards of offense in a two-point loss to 1A Seton Catholic. Now, the Warriors will try to get the one result that matters their second time around, taking on a 1-0 Kingston side. Last season, Rochester blanked the Buccaneers 29-0.

North Thurston at Black Hills

Black Hills couldn’t pull the season-opening non-league win over Montesano twice in a row, and now the Wolves find themselves having to flush a blowout loss right out of the gate. Despite jumping up two classifications, they’ll probably be happier to see 3A North Thurston, hoping for a better showing on both sides of the ball. Last year, BH blanked NT 15-0, and while the Rams did win last week, they did so only scoring 12 points.

Adna at Pe Ell-Willapa Valley (in Menlo)

Speaking of needing to bounce back: Adna. The good news for the Pirates is easy to identify: They won’t have to play Napavine again until the crossover week at the earliest. With that in mind, it’s time for the real work to begin for Aaron Cochran’s side, going up against the first of eight more mortal opponents. PWV showed a few good flashes in an opening win over Mossyrock, pulling away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The only thing that would make this game better is if it had any league stakes.

Napavine at Onalaska

First off, this rivalry needs a name; if nobody presents any better ideas, we’re going to start rolling with something like the Main Ave. Mayhem, or more simply, Hate on 508. Speaking of rolling, Onalaska looked pretty darn good in a 32-point win over St. Thomas More (B.C.), with 472 rushing yards as a team. Now the test gets a whole lot harder. Napavine didn’t need any time at all getting up to speed against Adna, and with all of Ashton Demarest’s weapons back, the Tigers’ ceiling could be even higher this year.

Rainier at Toledo

A matchup between two teams that won absolutely electric season-openers here. Rainier trailed by six points with 29 seconds to go, while Toledo was tied with RSB with 50 left on the clock, before Jake Meldrum and Eli Weeks led their offenses down the field to go ahead with one and two seconds left on the clock, respectively. These are two offenses that showed they know how to put points on the board, and could produce a fair few fireworks at Ted Hippi Field.

Morton-White Pass at White Swan

There were plenty of surprises in Week 1, but Morton-White Pass falling to Toutle Lake for just the Ducks’ second 11-man win since the pandemic was definitely one of the more bitter ones. The T-Wolves beat White Swan by 35 last season, and the Cougars are coming off a four-possession loss to Warden. Alarm bells shouldn’t be going off in Morton and Randle yet, but this one is solidly in must-win territory.

Quilcene at Mossyrock

Mossyrock spent just about the entirety of training camp preparing for its 11-man opener against PWV, and while coach Eric Ollikainen said he expected the Vikings to be able to shift back to 8-man quickly after, this week will prove the truth of that. Mossy isn’t easing back into 8-man ball either, against a Quilcene squad that lost to Naselle, but hung up 40 points in the effort. Last year, the Vikings’ blowout win over the Rangers signaled their true arrival as a contender; this year, they’ve got to do it again.


Zillah at Tenino

The sky isn’t falling in Stone City after one non-league loss. But in Week 2, it’s up to the Beavers to prove that the real Tenino was the group that won the final three quarters of its game against Colville 14-7, not the one that fell behind 27-0 after 12 minutes. Zillah is 1-0 after a one-point win over Ellensburg, and the Leopards went 7-4 last year, so this should be a tough — but not impossible — task for the Beavers.

Concrete at Winlock

Not a ton went well for Winlock in a Week 1 loss to Darrington, in which the Cardinals trailed by 20 at halftime before allowing 22 unanswered in the second half. This week sees Winlock take on Concrete, which is fresh off a 68-14 demolition of fellow 1B Big Eight team Muckleshoot Tribal.

Oakville at Bridgeport

Oakville found itself in the rare 8-man defensive struggle last week, matching scoreless quarters with Crescent, before losing in the rare 8-man shutout. Can the Acorns find their offense on the road in a second non-league matchup? They’d better hope so, or else this could be a long fall indeed.