Three high school football games to watch this week in Thurston County and beyond.
GIG HARBOR TIDES (1-1) VS. TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (1-1)
7 p.m. Friday, South Sound Stadium, Lacey
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About the Tides: Gig Harbor was missing a few of its key players last week in a 33-21 loss to Curtis, including seniors WR/DB Ryan King and WR/DB Jurrian Herring, who both start at receiver and corner, and a pair of starting linemen. But, the Tides should be close to full strength to open 3A SSC play. Senior QB Ben Hollenbeck (21 of 40 passing, 282 yards; 18 carries, 136 yards; 5 total TDs) accounted for most of the Tides’ offense and has passed for 150-plus yards in consecutive outings.
About the Blazers: Timberline regrouped from an unexpected four-touchdown loss to Thurston County rival and top-ranked 2A team Tumwater in Week 1 by topping Bonney Lake, 28-21. The Blazers are the two-time defending 3A SSC champions, and haven’t lost a league game since 2016. Mobile senior QB Hunter Campau (16 of 31 passing, 171 yards; 35 carries, 154 yards; 4 total TDs) paces the offense, while junior RB Jaden Gorman impressed against the Panthers last week with 160 yards on 21 carries.
Olympian pick: Timberline, 27-24
2A SPSL SOUND
RIVER RIDGE HAWKS (1-1) VS. NO. 6 STEILACOOM SENTINELS (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Steilacoom High School
About the Hawks: Senior RB Kieran Hunkin (27 carries, 250 yards, 4 TDs) rushed for 181 yards and three scores last week to lift the Hawks to a 41-13 win over Mount Tahoma, helping remove the sour taste from River Ridge’s last-second loss on the road at W.F. West a week earlier. Sophomore QB Jevon Brown (16 of 37 passing, 259 yards, 3 TDs) led the offense for the second consecutive week.
About the Sentinels: Steilacoom has the talent to defend its 2A SPSL Sound title and make a long postseason run with three Division I recruits on its roster. Senior QB J.J. Lemming (35 of 71 passing, 560 yards, 7 TDs), the reigning 2A SPSL Sound MVP, and sophomore WR/DB Emeka Egbuka (11 catches, 263 yards, 5 TDs), who is ranked No. 38 nationally in his class, lead an electric offense. Senior RB/LB Jaymason Wilingham (27 tackles) anchors the Sentinels on defense.
Olympian pick: Steilacoom, 35-28
BELLARMINE PREP LIONS (0-2) VS. NO. 1 TUMWATER T-BIRDS (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Tumwater District Stadium
About the Lions: After a 49-14 blowout loss to Puyallup in the first week, the Lions matched top-ranked Graham-Kapowsin touchdown-for-touchdown during the first three quarters of last week’s 4A SPSL matchup in Tacoma. Junior QB Marcus Stowers converted a trio of touchdowns — two rushing and one on a 90-yard pass to senior WR/DB Charles Elzie — to keep the Eagles within reach for much of the contest, though G-K escaped with a 28-21 win.
About the T-Birds: Yelm tested the top-ranked T-Birds late into the second half in Week 2, but Tumwater left with a 17-14 win. Tumwater has bested two Thurston County rivals in Timberline and Yelm the past two weeks, and has two more nonleague contests against the Lions and McNary (Ore.) before beginning 2A EvCo play. The T-Birds still heavily rely on workhorse junior RB Dylan Paine (38 carries, 236 yards, 5 TDs), who passed the 2,000-yard mark for his career last week in just his 16th appearance.
Olympian pick: Tumwater, 35-24