The News Tribune picks three South Sound football games every week to preview:
* CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
Union (6-3) at No. 7 Graham-Kapowsin (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Art Crate Field, Spanaway
About the Titans: If a program that has won six state playoff games since 2008 is the underdog – this could be week’s whooper-of-a-matchup in 4A. Both teams have similar tough, disciplined makeup. RB Leon Siofele (129 carries, 751 yards, 16 TDs) is an inside hammer, but WR Trent Cowan (40 catches, 611 yards, three TDs) is the athlete to watch out for.
About the Eagles: Where Graham-Kapowsin might have the advantage is speed on the edge. Expect RB Teague James (162 carries, 1,329 yards, 24 TDs) to see plenty of action off tackle – and more end-around runs from speedy WR Kahlil Dawson (1,350 all-purpose yards, eight total TDs). Ex-defensive lineman Joe Gomez had 15 tackles in first start at inside linebacker last week.
“Score Czar” computer pick: Union, 30-23.
* CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
Olympia (4-5) at Auburn (7-2)
7 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Auburn
About the Bears: For as often as these two programs visit the postseason (15 combined state appearances since 1997), this is their first meeting at the district or state level. Olympia is going with ex-receiver Michael Naipo at quarterback, but expect Kaden Wilson to get playing time. DB Mitch Fettig (59 tackles, five INT) stabilizes bend-but-won’t-break defense.
About the Trojans: This is Auburn’s ninth trip to the playoffs in 11 seasons under coach Gordon Elliott. And after missing out last season, the Trojans are antsy. Once again, the rushing attack, which averages 264.2 yards per game, features lots of runners. But Auburn needs the playmaking ability of RB Harold Lee (168.5 all-purpose ypg), who was out last week (head).
“Score Czar” computer pick: Auburn, 24-11.
* CLASS 3A DISTRICTS
Oak Harbor (6-3) at No. 8 Peninsula (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Roy Anderson Field, Purdy
About the Wildcats: This very well could be no three-loss pushover in the playoffs. Despite coming in on a two-game skid, Oak Harbor held big leads in both losses to Marysville-Pilchuck and Meadowdale – both top-10 teams in 2012. FB Fred Webster (156 carries, 863 yards, nine TDs) leads the double-wing rushing attack, but can a leaky defense stop Peninsula?
About the Seahawks: Last week, the program got one monkey off its back by dethroning Lakes for the first time. And the next step is making a big playoff run. The defense has been outstanding (plus-20 in turnover ratio, giving up 8.4 points per game since opening week), and QB Austin Filkins (106-159, 1,374 yards, 15 TDs) is leading SPSL 3A MVP candidate.
“Score Czar” computer pick: Peninsula, 31-12.