No. 3 Auburn (4-0 league, 4-0 overall) vs. No. 8 Kentwood (3-0, 4-0), 7 tonight at French Field
The lowdown: The game of the year in the SPSL North, Auburn and Kentwood are two eerily similar teams. The Trojans and Conquerors rank first and second in the SPSL in rushing attacks and total defense. Auburn moves the ball almost exclusively via the run. Running backs Alphonse Wade and Austin Embody – both are averaging more than 100 yards per game – spearhead the ground game. The Trojans have attempted the second-fewest passes in the league, completing 13 of 27 attempts for 188 yards. Kentwood’s offense is slightly more balanced, but still run-heavy. RB Mikell Everette has run wild, picking up 11.3 yards per attempt. QB Shane Green has been incredibly efficient, completing 21 of 32 passes for 401 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Auburn, winner of the last two SPSL North crowns, has won 28 straight regular season games, the longest such winning streak in Class 4A.
TNT pick: Auburn 21, Kentwood 17
No. 2 Curtis (4-0 league, 4-0 overall) vs. Puyallup (2-1, 2-2), 7 tonight at Sparks Stadium
The lowdown: No opponent has come within three touchdowns of Curtis. The Vikings’ offense is rolling along, averaging more than 400 yards per game, while the defense is a turnover-forcing machine, totaling 13 takeaways in four games. Curtis rearranged its offensive line last week when some regulars returned from injuries, moving senior Cornelius Edison from tackle to center to provide strength in the middle. Curtis has the ultimate playmaker in WR/DB/Returner Rahmel Dockery, who leads the SPSL in all-purpose yards, averaging 224 per game. Since starting the season with two victories, Puyallup has lost a pair of games to Graham-Kapowsin and Kentwood, two teams with powerful rushing attacks. Puyallup likes to air it out, as evidenced by QB Erin Barber’s 1,230 passing yards and 19 touchdown throws. Five Viking receivers have caught at least 10 passes, led by WR Dom Holub’s 25 receptions for 571 yards and nine touchdowns. If any team can stay with Curtis in a shootout, it might be Puyallup.
TNT pick: Curtis 32, Puyallup 28
Bellarmine Prep (2-0 league, 4-0 overall) at Central Kitsap (1-1, 3-1), 7 tonight at Silverdale Stadium
The lowdown: Undefeated Bellarmine Prep faces its first big challenge of the season tonight when the Lions, whose previous four opponents have won a combined three games, take on Central Kitsap. Both teams staged fourth-quarter rallies last week, but the Cougars fell short, falling 21-13 to Olympia. Central Kitsap committed five turnovers against the Bears. Bellarmine Prep needed to make a last-second goal-line stand to escape with an 18-12 win against Mount Tahoma. Sophomore QB Sefo Liufau has been accurate for a first-year starter, completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 793 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll have to deal with a secondary anchored by ball-hawking safety Brett McDonald, an all-area defensive back in 2009. Though the Cougars have enjoyed more recent postseason success than the Lions, Bellarmine Prep can beat Central Kitsap. The Lions clipped the Cougars 6-0 in 2008 – Central Kitsap went on a seven-game winning streak after that loss, reaching the state semifinals.
TNT pick: Central Kitsap 14, Bellarmine Prep 13