Peninsula (4-1, 3-1) at Bonney Lake (4-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. today at Sunset Chev Stadium
The lowdown: The Seahawks and Panthers have each been tripped up once this season – Lakes beat both teams – but outside of their losses to the Lancers, Peninsula and Bonney Lake have been absolutely dominant. The Seahawks haven’t allowed more than a touchdown, while the Panthers’ have won each contest by at least 20 points. Peninsula QB JR Grosshans is tearing up opposing defenses, having thrown for 754 yards and 7 TDs and rushed for 414 yards and 8 TDs. His Panthers’ counterpart, QB Cole Schuler, is equally effective. Schuler leads the SPSL 3A in passing with 806 yards and 8 TDs. Peninsula is riding after throttling rival Gig Harbor, 38-7, in the Fish Bowl. If the Seahawks are overconfident, Bonney Lake will make them pay. Both teams still must face Enumclaw, but the winner of this contest will take the inside track on securing the league’s No. 2 seed, which guarantees a home game in the preliminary round of the state playoffs.
The News Tribune pick: Peninsula has a little more firepower than the Panthers.
Peninsula 26, Bonney Lake 24
Rogers (3-2, 2-2) at Decatur (2-3, 2-3), 7 p.m. today at Federal Way
The lowdown: Three weeks ago, Decatur was riding high with an undefeated record. Now, the Gators need a victory to keep alive their postseason hopes and they’re facing a Rogers squad that is in a similar position, but has momentum after reeling off back-to-back wins. The Rams have done a good job keeping teams out of the end zone, the 14.4 points per game they’ve allowed leads the SPSL. QB Dalton Gervais has thrown for 868 yards and 10 TDs and Rogers is tied for second in the league in pass attempts with 121. WR Kellen Westering is the biggest beneficiary, catching a league-leading 28 passes. When the Rams do run the ball, RB Bennett Bontemps (66 carries for 550 yards and 6 TDs) is a game-breaker. Decatur’s special teams have big-play potential. The Gators have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, including a 78-yard return from Tyrone Faulkner. Decatur is in the midst of a brutal five-game stretch that has them facing consecutive 2008 playoff teams.
The News Tribune pick: Rogers’ big-game experience gives the Rams a needed advantage.
Rogers 36, Decatur 30
No. 9 South Kitsap (5-0, 4-0) at Bellarmine Prep (3-2, 2-2), 7 p.m. today
The lowdown: The Wolves sit atop the Narrows League standings with teams like Olympia, Gig Harbor and Central Kitsap in the rearview mirror. All that is between them and a Narrows title is avoiding a letdown or looking past an opponent. The perfect example is this week, where Bellarmine has enough talent and playmakers to make things interesting if SK doesn’t come to play. But for the Lions to do that, they must find a breakthrough against a Wolves’ defense that’s allowed just 54 points in five games. Bellarmine quarterback Rick Miller is a dual threat that must have a big game for the Lions.
The News Tribune pick: South Kitsap beat Central Kitsap last week without starting quarterback Gordy Anderson. But this week Anderson should be back, which will only help wide receiver Leon La Deaux and running back Robert Issa.
South Kitsap 28, Bellarmine Prep 10
Graham-Kapowsin (4-1, 4-1) at No. 10 Bethel (4-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. today
The lowdown: There is no love lost between these two teams. Since G-K opened in the district, these two teams have had bitter rivalry, featuring physical games, often with plenty at stake. It will be much the same today with the winner getting closer to locking up the league’s No. 2 seed and a home game in the preliminary round of the state playoffs. And if something were to happen to Curtis, the winner would also have an outside shot at the SPSL South title. Bethel gets mammoth defensive tackle and Oregon State commit Happy Iona back. Bethel’s Anthony Meray is averaging 8.1 yards per carry and 193 yards per game. He is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. G-K will counter with the pass catching duo of Greg Logan and Jamaal Jones, who give quarterback Drew Austin two capable receiving threats.
The News Tribune pick: It will be a hard-hitting, close game, but Meray will break a few big plays and Iona’s presence alone should help the Braves edge Graham-Kapowsin.
Bethel 28, Graham-Kapowsin 24
State Game of the Week
No. 1 Ellensburg (5-0, 4-0) at No. 6 Prosser (4-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. today
The lowdown: The Bulldogs can prove they’re worthy of Class 2A’s No. 1 ranking with a win over the five-time defending league champion Mustangs. Ellensburg has not beaten Prosser since 2003, but the Bulldogs seem to have the offensive weapons and speed to end that streak. QB Ethan Sterkel has been as impressive as any passer in the state, throwing for 1,536 yards, 16 TDs and one interception. WR Kramer Ferrell (44 catches, 802 yards, 9 TDs) is his top target, averaging 160.4 receiving yards per game. Prosser isn’t so pass-happy this season – the Mustangs have thrown 20 passes only once this fall. RB Isaac Anderson (77 carries, 578 yards, 6 TDs) is the focal point of the offense, while WR Dominic Garza (28 catches, 510 yards, 7 TDs) has big-play ability. The teams have played one common opponent – Quincy – and each crushed the Jacks.
The News Tribune pick: Ellensburg is for real, ends its skid against Prosser.
Ellensburg 31, Prosser 21