CAPITAL (5-3) AT SHELTON (3-5)
7 p.m. Friday, Highclimber Stadium, Shelton
About the Cougars: Seems a lot like last year. Capital lost its starting QB, sophomore Grant Erickson, to a broken collarbone in Week 3. But somehow, the Cougars rallied — winning four of their last five games and holding opponents to an average of 7.6 points per game — to lock up the No. 3 seed out of the 3A SSC. Carson Bertelli (48 of 80 passing, 802 yards, six TDs) has filled in nicely for Erickson, while WR Chris Penner (37 catches, 651 yards, seven TDs) leads the area in receiving.
About the Highclimbers: The last chance to sneak into a playoff spot ended in a 35-31 loss to Central Kitsap last week. Now, behind gunslinger QB Tyler Giraldes (123 of 239 passing, 1,570 yards, 15 TDs), the best Shelton can hope to do is derail Capital — the team that knocked it out of playoff contention last year. Meanwhile, the Cougars are on a three-game winning streak, looking for momentum before traveling to seventh-ranked Ferndale (7-1) next week.
Olympian pick: Capital, 42-24
NO. 10 FRANKLIN PIERCE (7-1) AT NO. 3 RIVER RIDGE (7-0)
7 p.m. Friday, South Sound Stadium, Lacey
About the Cardinals: It always seems to come down to these two programs. Franklin Pierce and River Ridge will, again, battle for the 2A SPSL title. Since losing their opener to Tumwater, the Cardinals have spun off seven straight wins. QB Willie Patterson (106 of 176 passing, 1,957 yards, 27 TDs) causes fits for defenses. A threat in the pocket, he also has 119 carries for 1,318 yards and 13 rushing TDs. WR Alex Bing (33 catches, 729 yards, 10 TDs) is the biggest target in the air.
About the Hawks: River Ridge lost to Franklin Pierce in its first 2A SPSL game two years ago. Since, the Hawks have won 19 straight league games and would snag their second consecutive undefeated 2A SPSL title with a win. After a bye last week, look for QB Kelle Sanders (55 of 94 passing, 928 yards, 10 TDs), a WSU commit at defensive end, to turn the intensity back up. RB Trey Dorfner (123 carries, 996 yards, 19 TDs) should easily surpass 1,000-plus rushing yards for a second straight season.
Olympian pick: River Ridge, 45-35.
NO. 2 TUMWATER (7-1) AT NO. 9 W.F. WEST (8-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Bearcat Stadium, Chehalis
About the T-Birds: Tumwater is in pursuit of its seventh consecutive undefeated league title, and the No. 1 seed out of the 2A EvCo. Since it was upset by Steilacoom in Week 5, Tumwater has won three in a row by a combined score of 142-20, and returned several injured players on defense. Tumwater’s defense recorded six sacks — LB Caleb Jelcick and DE Lazarus Williams each had two — against Black Hills last week, and limited the Wolves to 65 total offensive yards.
About the Bearcats: The last time W.F. West allowed an opposing offense to score points was Sept. 30, in a 49-12 win over Aberdeen. The Bearcats have steadily strung together an undefeated season — including shutting out Rochester, Black Hills and Centralia in the past three weeks — and is in the best position of any team in the 2A EvCo to upend Tumwater. RB Austin Emery (104 carries, 915 yards, nine TDs) continues to churn up yards for the Bearcats, while QB Nole Wollan has 911 (631 passing, 280 rushing, 10 total TDs) total offensive yards this season.
Olympian pick: Tumwater, 33-24
Week 9 schedule
Games at 7 p.m. Friday. Games at host high school, unless otherwise noted.
Yelm (4-4) at Central Kitsap (3-5), at Silverdale Stadium in Bremerton
Capital (5-3) at Shelton (3-5)
North Thurston (1-7) at Gig Harbor (4-4), at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy
No. 10 Franklin Pierce (7-1) at No. 3 River Ridge (7-0), at South Sound Stadium
Rochester (0-8) at Black Hills (4-4), at Tumwater District Stadium
Centralia (3-5) at Aberdeen (3-5)
No. 2 Tumwater (7-1) at No. 9 W.F. West (8-0)
Elma (2-6) at No. 4 Montesano (8-0)
Tenino (3-5) at No. 7 (2A) North Kitsap (8-0)
Note: No. 8 (2B) Rainier (6-2) forfeited its game against 2A Washougal (4-4)