WINLOCK — Most Week 0 jamborees in southwest Washington bring in schools from different classifications, so that teams don’t have to worry about lining up against league opponents they’ll see later in the season.
With so few 1B teams this side of the mountains, though, that becomes hard in the 8-man game. So instead, Saturday’s jamboree in Winlock turned into a meet-up between the three schools who have contended for local supremacy in recent years, with the Cardinals hosting Mossyrock and Naselle.
“We know each other really well, but it’s not like we gameplanned for this,” Mossyrock coach Eric Ollikainen said. “We’re working on ourselves, and I’m sure the other coaches are doing the same thing. It’s just fun, we get to evaluate players and see where we are.”
The Vikings and Comets squared off in the first matchup of the day, with Mossyrock starting on offense. Easton Kolb scored the jamboree’s first touchdown, sneaking in from a yard out after getting to the goal line on a catch-and-run by Hunter Isom.
“Hunter’s going to be a great target for us,” Ollikainen said. “He played offensive line the past three years, but he’s a great basketball player and he’s got great hands.”
In the flip side of the matchup, the Vikings — who have spent just about all of training camp preparing for their 11-man season-opener against Pe Ell-Willapa Valley — allowed three touchdowns to the Comets in 10 plays.
“With the transition down to 8-man, you have to think a tiny bit, and when you think, you don’t play as fast,” Ollikainen said. “But I’m not too worried about it.”
Going up against Winlock in the day’s final period, Kolb scored through the air, hitting Peyton McClure on a drag route that turned into a 40-yard touchdown on the first play of the matchup.
After that, the Vikings settled into their ground attack, with hulking tailback Marshall Brockway battering his way in for a short-yardage score.
“We were kind of frustrated in that first game that we didn’t get him going, and we needed to work on it,” Ollikainen said.
Winlock struggled against Naselle in its first matchup of the day, failing to get a first down on offense before allowing two touchdowns in 10 plays on defense.
Things went better for the Cardinals against the Vikings, as freshman quarterback Landen Cline made some magic happen on a broken play to scamper 30 yards into the end zone.
“He’s got some wiggles,” Winlock coach Ernie Samples said.
Winlock is set to see Naselle for real Week 5, on Sept. 29, while Mossyrock will face the Comets on Oct. 13. The Cardinals and Vikings are slated to face off Oct. 20.
Not that either coach expects to look very similar to how they did Saturday by that point in the season.
“We’re going to be a different team by next weekend,” Samples said. “Starting Monday, we’re going to have a little bit better feel. I have some guys that are giving me a bit more effort now.”