Staff writer Lauren Smith’s top three high school football games to watch this weekend in the South Sound:
River Ridge (5-0, 3-0 2A SPSL) at Washington (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Franklin Pierce Stadium
The Hawks stand alone atop the 2A SPSL following Fife’s 36-27 loss last week. The only problem? The Patriots were the ones to knock off the Trojans, as RB Tariq Ellis put up 231 yards rushing on 30 carries for two TDs. Ellis’ second TD run was the dagger from 2 yards out with less than two minutes to play. Washington has that momentum swing to play with as one of the four teams tied for second in the league. “We tell our guys flat out — ‘Hey, here they come, and you better be ready or they’ll beat you, too,’ ” River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said.
No. 1 Tumwater (5-0) at Centralia (2-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium
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Wide receivers Easton Trakel and Griffin Shea returned from injury to Tumwater’s offense last week, but in a supplemental capacity. “We didn’t really use them too much, but it’s nice to have them back,” Tumwater coach Sid Otton said following Friday’s 54-14 rout of Columbia River. Yes, the T-Birds are plenty stacked — RB Jarid Barrett racked up four rushing TDs. In both schools’ 2A EvCo opener, Tumwater gets a Centralia team that hasn’t played in two weeks. The Tigers were slated to play Sequim last Friday, but the game was canceled following a violence threat at Centralia High School.
Rainier (3-2, 2-2 2B Pacific) at Tacoma Baptist (1-4, 1-3), 7 p.m. Saturday, Curtis High School
The Mountaineers are tied for fourth in the 2B Pacific following a 54-22 loss to No. 3 North Beach last week — though, Rainier led 22-20 at the half. The absence of OL/DL Jesse Nubbe – an all-league selection at both positions last season who separated his shoulder last week — could be a factor against Tacoma Baptist. “We need the offensive line to work as effectively without him as it does with him,” Rainier coach Terry Shaw said. In the case that it does, QB McKoy Bichler and company could have plenty of room against a Crusaders defense that has given up 40-plus points in all four of their losses.