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After the whistle: Morning links, and biggest surprises of 2012

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Sep. 15, 2012 at 8:32 am with No Comments »
September 15, 2012 9:32 am

Up already this morning (this is usually early for sportswriters), getting things in order to head up to Seattle for the UW-Portland State game (today is the first day for our new Husky beat writer Todd Dybas).

Lots of telling games Friday. Big wins by Curtis (SPSL South), Shelton (Narrows 3A), Capital (EvCo), Orting (SPSL 2A). Exciting finishes (and wins) from Jefferson (27-24 over Kent-Meridian in SPSL North), Enumclaw (54-35 non-league win over Heritage), and Sumner (28-27 win over Steilacoom in SPSL 2A) and Clover Park (28-25 over Fife in SPSL 2A).

Some of the story links:

* The TNT featured Orting’s roaring return to 2A. Marty Parkhurst‘s bunch took apart Franklin Pierce in Parkland to improve to 3-0.

* A week after doing virtually nothing against Graham-Kapowsin at home, Curtis went on the road to do the same to Bethel.

* This just in – Shelton’s Ralph Kinne is really, really good at running back. Just ask Wilson, which allowed him to rush for 359 yards.

* Give Capital credit – three consecutive wins against 4A teams is not easy to do as a 2A school. Coach J.D. Johnson and the Cougars are rolling.

* A single-game scoring record was set in the SPSL on Friday night – and it was quite an air show in Kent.

* Bellarmine Prep traveled to Silverdale for a late-afternoon kickoff, and posted a surprisingly easy victory over Central Kitsap to begin Narrows 4A play.

Along those lines, Lions’ quarterback Sefo Liufau sat down with The News Tribune for a live chat earlier Friday.

* In the matchup of first-year coaches, South Kitsap’s Eric Canton watched defense prevail over Aaron Chantler and Gig Harbor.

* Skyview played unkind host to Lakes in Vancouver. Surprisingly, the Lancers found it tough to score – especially after last week’s shootout win over Bellarmine Prep.

* It was worse for Auburn Mountainview, losing big at Camas.

* And after going home sick earlier Friday, Enumclaw tailback Mauricio Portillo led the Hornets’ wild comeback over Heritage.

* Out of the area, but still in the Northwest – Aloha High (Ore.) running back Thomas Tyner, one of the nation’s top tailback recruits and Oregon Ducks commit, sets single-game rushing record.

As far as what has transpired through three weeks, what jumps out. Here are a few thoughts:

BIGGEST SURPRISE 3-0 TEAM: I know most folks would say Shelton. Yes, the Highclimbers were 2-8 last season. Yes, in those losses, the fewest amount of points the defense gave up was 38. But they also have an NCAA Division I commit in David Ajamu, a very determined tailback in Kinne – and a huge shift in offensive philosophy back to the ground-and-pound under coach Matt Hinkle.

My pick is Yelm, which has suffered through a dreadful stretch of losing seasons. No, the Tornados did not beat anyone of the caliber of Tumwater like Shelton did – but could anybody imagine Yelm scoring 147 points in three games against ANYBODY coming into this season? Even with tailback Jacob Swilley – no, not a chance.

BIGGEST SURPRISE 0-3 TEAM: This one is easy – Olympia. And this one is hard to swallow – 12 points in three games. The word was out before the season that the Bears might take a dip . . . but not this precipitous of a fall.

The last time Olympia lost three games was 2007 (lost two of first three games that year). The Bears might be hard-pressed to rally for a winning record this season.

MOST IMPRESSIVE 3-0 START: Capital (tough schedule) and Orting (jump from 1A to 2A) would be high on the list, but right now no team is as dangerous as Federal Way, which seems to be on cruise control toward another SPSL South title.

Really, who can stop them in the regular season? Don’t see it.

The Eagles’ athletes on offense, and their speed are almost too unfathomable – unless you see them in person. Sophomore Chico McClatcher is shifty and does not get enough credit for his power. Senior Zeek McNeal is the other backfield terror at tailback. D’Londo Tucker and Mike Tate on the outside at receiver? Egad. Talk about spoiled by riches.

They just thumped a good Graham-Kapowsin squad, 62-28, on Thursday night.

SNEAKY GOOD IN SEPTEMBER: What is the name of that private school in University Place which is known for annually kicking rear end in tennis, soccer, cross country and “Knowledge Bowl?”

Charles Wright Academy.

Yes, Cascade Christian is good (and still sorting things out) in the Nisqually League – and deserves to the top-dog billing based on its recent run to the 1A title game. But lying in the weeds is Charles Wright, which has the one thing very few schools at this level have – offensive-line size.

A clearer indication on this team comes Sept. 28 at Cedar Park Christian.

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