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High school football begins this week in Washington. Here are a few games to watch Friday in the Olympia area.
Timberline at Tumwater, 7 p.m. at Tumwater District Stadium
It’s a non-league game either school could avoid.
Timberline is a strong 3A school which could just as well avoid losing streaks to a crosstown 2A rival. Tumwater, though one of the state’s largest 2A’s could decide to stick to its own level in scheduling.
But the Blazers and T-Birds regularly clash during the earliest weeks of the season, setting the tone for what they annually hope will be post-season runs.
When the teams clash at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Tumwater District a Stadium, the Blazers will be looking to break a five-game losing streak to Tumwater, dating back to coach Nick Mullen’s second year at Timberline, 2009.
That night at South Sound Stadium, with quarterback Kevin Russell passing for 214 yards and running back Jordan Radcliffe rushing for 145, Timberline triumphed 38-21. But in the five meetings since, it’s only been close once, when the Blazers lost 35-33 in 2014. Otherwise, Tumwater has rolled.
On opening night last fall, Dylan Paine scored three rushing touchdowns, and Dylan Loftis showed off his big-play ability by scoring on an 88-yard kickoff return and a 68-yard run to power Tumwater to a 35-6 victory over Timberline.
Loftis has since graduated to junior college ball in California but, though he missed the second half of last season with an ACL tear, Paine is back, along with another experienced back to carry the ball out of Tumwater’s traditional wing-T offense.
Quarterback Cody Whalen is also back for the T-Birds. Linemen Vili Hafoka, Jacob Schuster, Ty Gilliland and Aaron Waring are expected to excel as are linebacker Tyler Woods and defensive back Turner Allen.
A three-way competition for Timberline’s starting quarterback is key as the Blazers must replace an all-time school great in Hunter Campau. Operating behind experienced offensive linemen
Blake Doss and Lysander Moeolo, Stanton Hayes and Noah Cunningham provide experience at running back; Max Aunese will do so at receiver.
Lakes at Capital, 7 p.m. at Ingersoll Stadium
Capital knocked off 3A state tournament-bound Lakes, 22-9, on the road at Harry Lang Stadium to open the 2018 season.
But that was a very different Cougar team. Twenty-three seniors, including long-time passing tandem, quarterback Grant Erickson and receiver Chris Penner, have graduated.
New quarterbacks Tristan Redman and Eli Hoffman should both see the field against the Lancers. Running back Clayton Grady has the power to run inside and the speed to go outside. Wide receiver Grady Lindekugel and tight end Carter Carlson, a transfer from Olympia should also contribute.
Lakes scored 56 offensive touchdowns in 2018 but star quarterback Liam Badow graduated along with workhorse running backs Khalil Lewis and Camyron Gaulke.
Skyview at Yelm, 7 p.m. at Yelm Stadium
A brand new artificial turf field will take the stage along with a few veterans and a smattering of new faces as the Tornados host the Storm in a battle of bad weather.
Yelm hopes the new field will help their downfield passing game stay sharp even after the rainy season begins and that new quarterback Ben Hoffmann will keep it moving with his arm given targets such as Silas Franklin, Richard Romo and Austin Shuler to throw to.
Carson Amendt returns at running back behind a solid line of Bradley McGannon, Dylan Jemtegaard, Slade Edwards, Justin Piland and Hunter Mohl.
Yelm won a 45-41 shootout last year in Vancouver, so the game could feature plenty of offense.