Thursday night’s games are in the books, so let’s take a look at some of the more meaningful games left on this week’s schedule:
Federal Way (2-1) at Kentlake (3-0)
7 p.m. today at French Field
The lowdown: There is plenty at stake for the upstart Falcons. If they win today, they will guarantee themselves their first non-losing league record since winning the North crown in 2003. However, they are 0-2 all-time against Federal Way.
Why the Eagles will win: Much of the blame after an opening loss to Auburn was attributed to not having standout RB Andre Barrington (knee) in the lineup. Not coach John Meagher, who saw his line get pushed around. That has shown drastic improvement, especially on the left side with G Jordan Maulolo and T Andru Pulu. Last week, Barrington returned with 163 total yards and two TDs.
Why the Falcons will win: Speedy RB Taylor Angevine gives the Falcons a true home-run threat, but the bread is buttered by a defense giving up just 89.0 rushing yards per game. They want to funnel the action to LB Steven Morse, a stop-you-in-your-tracks defender who is on his way to leading the SPSL again in tackles (12.0 per game).
The News Tribune pick: Federal Way hit its stride at this time a year ago, and should give hungry Falcons a wake-up call.
Federal Way 30, Kentlake 18
Gig Harbor (2-1) at South Kitsap (2-1)
7 p.m. today at Joe Knowles Stadium
The lowdown: South Kitsap snapped a four-game losing streak in the series by taking a 7-0 victory on a muddy field in Port Orchard. The teams have won or shared the Narrows title every year except 2004 in past decade.
Why the Tides will win: Debuting its version of a swinging-gate formation in its new spread offense certainly surprised Central Kitsap last week as the Tides scored on two early big plays in a 31-7 win. The formation is designed to give dual-threat QB Chet Thompson (26-of-46, 424 yards, five TDs; 245 rushing yards) more lanes to run.
Why the Wolves will win: South Kitsap is nearly all the way back to its glory days of running teams over with power football. RBs Sean Allison (54 rushes, 243 yards, three TDs) and Ryan Williams (22 rushes, 149 yards, TD) are a lethal 1-2 punch, and Gordy Anderson (14-of-20, 207 yards, four TDs in past two games) is the better passer of two-quarterback rotation.
The News Tribune pick: Experienced Wolves’ defense should be able to thwart Tides’ unconventional gimmicks.
South Kitsap 24, Gig Harbor 21
Franklin Pierce (1-2) at Sumner (2-1)
7 p.m. today at Sunset Chev Stadium
The lowdown: En route to back-to-back 3A playoff runs, the Cardinals defeated Sumner by a combined 85-7 the past two years, including a 43-0 victory in 2007. The Spartans have not beaten Franklin Pierce since 1978.
Why the Cardinals will win: QB Brooks Roy (34-of-60, 487 yards, five TDs) and WR Aram Mann (16 catches, 265 yards, three TDs) are doing their part, but Franklin Pierce needs more. It likely won’t happen this week. Up to three starters, including LBs Dwayne McCarver (neck) and Rheinheart Siose (shoulder), sustained injuries during last week’s 48-7 loss to South Kitsap, and could miss tonight’s matchup.
Why the Spartans will win: The last time Sumner had a winning record going into the fourth week of play was 2005. And this could stick, especially since coach Keith Ross has moved big-time college recruit Grant Cisneros from tight end to right tackle after an opening-week loss to Peninsula. Since then, the Spartans power rushing attack behind RB Cody Haavik (220 yards) and FB Alex Griffith (235 yards) has taken off.
The News Tribune pick: Not a good week to likely lose two starting linebackers. The Cardinals have recent history; Sumner has momentum.
Sumner 23, Franklin Pierce 20
No. 5 Orting (3-0 in 1A) at No. 2 Life Christian (3-0 in 2B)
7 p.m. Saturday at Harry E. Lang Stadium
The lowdown: Classification level hasn’t mean much the past two seasons as Orting has escaped with two last-minute wins, including a 17-16 in 2007. During that span, however, it’s the Eagles who have been to the state playoffs both years.
Why the Cardinals will win: Eye-opening, indeed, is Orting’s 47-24 pounding of Meridian last week, and it’s not difficult to see why. The Cardinals’ No. 1 defensive unit is limiting opposing rushers to 20 yards per game. And if they need a big strike, QB Nick Wilkins (44-of-83, 659 yards, eight TDs) and RB Grant Angle (36 rushes, 270 yards, four TDs) have aptly provided.
Why the Eagles will win: Coach Todd Corrigan had one chief concern entering the season – an offensive line with four new starters. But it has developed quicker than anticipated with C Hunter Kim and LT Jordan Michelson in an all-senior unit. That should give a big-play offense, led by QB Barrett Schmidtke (43-of-72, 809 yards, seven TDs) and RB Morgan Cox (43 rushes, 351 yards, four TDs), peace of mind.
The News Tribune pick: The Cardinals can win both ways – a shootout and a grind-it-out game. They would prefer the latter.
Orting 19, Life Christian 14
State Game of the Week
No. 4 2A Lynden at No. 2 3A Ferndale (3-0), 7 p.m. today
This game is so big in Whatcom County that Ferndale brings in extra bleachers to accommodate the crush of spectators. Those fans will see two very good football teams that have a combined five state title game appearances in the previous seven seasons. With 20 returning starters from 2007, Ferndale might be the most experienced team in the state. The Golden Eagles have certainly played like it, outscoring opponents 163-15, and the first-string defense has not allowed a point. Lynden has recovered nicely from a season-opening loss at No. 2 2A Archbishop Murphy, winning its next two games by at least three touchdowns.
The News Tribune pick: Ferndale 26, Lynden 13