Staff writer Lauren Smith’s top three area prep football games to watch this weekend:
Franklin Pierce (0-2) at River Ridge (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, South Sound Stadium
The zero in the win column doesn’t mean much to the Cardinals — their two losses to open the season were against 3A SPSL title challengers, Sumner and Lakes. River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said he expects the same athletic intensity from Franklin Pierce as it had last year. The Cardinals scored nine consecutive points in the fourth quarter last season to win, 16-14. It was River Ridge’s only regular-season loss. Franklin Pierce QB Willie Patterson is a dual-threat with 310 passing yards, 114 rushing and four TDs this season. Hawks RB Gustavo Diaz rushed for 232 yards and three TDs in River Ridge’s first two games, and QB Kobe Key has 217 yards and four TDs.
Timberline (0-2) at Yelm (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Yelm High School
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The first 4A Narrows League matchup of the season for either team comes after two very different nonleague openings. The Blazers narrowly lost to rival North Thurston of the 3A Narrows in Week 1 before getting steamrolled by 2A EvCo favorite Tumwater last week. RB Savaauli Maae leads Timberline with 17 carries for 148 yards and four TDs. The Tornados cruised by Steilacoom and Foss, outscoring the two programs 85-22. Yelm has been heavily reliant on the legs of RB Brandon Thompson, who has four TDs — including a 55-yard punt return last week. WR Kaleb Lunderville has also been a favorable target — he had four TD receptions in the first two games.
South Kitsap (1-1) at Olympia (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Ingersoll Stadium
In the first two weeks, nothing stopped Olympia on offense, and the Bears stopped almost everything on defense. Olympia put up a combined 83 points against Ferris and Capital. Seven of the Bears’ 12 TDs in those two came from junior RB Scott Gunther and senior WR David Woodward, each of whom returned from injuries this season. The Peninsula defense ripped apart QB Jake Taylor and South Kitsap last week as the Seahawks won, 45-3. The Wolves could run into similar trouble against 6-foot-4 Olympia senior Brett Thompson, who leads a defense that has allowed only one TD in eight quarters.