Week 3 of the high school football season is here. Here are a few games to watch this week in the greater Olympia area.
North Thurston vs. Peninsula
7 p.m. Thursday at Roy Anderson Field in Gig Harbor
North Thurston comes to a crossroads Thursday night when it takes an unbeaten nonleague record into its 3A South Sound Conference opener at defending champion Peninsula.
The Rams are 2-0, but they were 2-0 at this point last season after the same results — blowout wins over West Seattle and Port Angeles.
Meanwhile, Peninsula’s winless record is misleading. The Seahawks lost to 3A state runner-up O’Dea and 4A Skyline, which has reached the state playoffs 16 of the last 19 years.
An improvement from last season’s 41-0 loss to Peninsula would solidify the belief that North Thurston’s explosive triple-option offense under new coach Terry Shaw isn’t just a product of attacking weak defenses.
In last week’s 55-6 dismantling of Port Angeles at South Sound Stadium, junior quarterback Keeton Maggard threw three touchdown passes, two to senior Coreion McCall and another to Zablon Lamp. Junior Zach Porter rushed for two touchdowns, and Jase Marcott and Tommy Smith one each.
Peninsula has good size, even at the skill positions.
Junior quarterback Peyton Bice, who has good size st 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, completed 24 of 49 passes in the Seahawks’ first two games, 11 to 6-1, 210-pound Chase Wittmers for 103 yards. Sean Skladany, 6-2, 210, is the leading rusher with 6.1 yards per carry.
Prairie vs. Black Hills
7 p.m. Friday at Tumwater District Stadium
Prairie brings an offense averaging 44 points per game to Tumwater while Black Hills offense will be trying to recover from a back injury to starting quarterback Ryan Moloney last week.
The Wolves were driving for a potential tying touchdown against visiting Fife when Moloney was stretchered off with more than eight minutes remaining. Running back Payton Hoyt slid over behind center for Black Hills final seven offensive snaps of what turned out to be a 27-12 loss.
Zach Loveless tallied both Wolves touchdowns, the first on a 6-yard run, the second on a 44-yard run with a punt Easton Casto blocked.
After beating Parkrose of Portland on opening night, 3A Prairie dropped 2A Washougal last week, 36-6. The Falcons return seven starters on offense and defense, including all-league quarterback AJ Dixson and running back Devante Clayton.
Tumwater vs. Bellarmine Prep
7 p.m. Friday at Bellarmine Prep High School in Tacoma
Tumwater is averaging 54.5 points per game, racking up all those points against two teams that reached the the 3A state quarterfinals last season.
Seemingly not content to thrash two of the area’s best 3A teams, the T-Birds go on the road for the first time this season to meet 4A Bellarmine Prep.
Last week, Tumwater followed a 55-0 opening rout of Timberline with a second-half outburst that ended in a 54-27 thumping of Yelm.
Dylan Paine has resumed his past role of workhorse running back. After carrying a cautious 12 times against Timberline in his comeback game from knee surgery, Paine carried 26 times for 166 yards and five touchdowns in the lightning delayed win over Yelm.
Jack Jones, who broke off an elusive 53-yard run, was right behind with 155 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries. Turner Allen broke his only attempt of the night 66 yards up the left sideline for a score.
Bellarmine’s reputation as an dominant athletic power across many sports can be intimidating, but a rebuilding process on the gridiron tells a less frightening story.
Bellarmine is not currently a part of the 4A SPSL’s menacing top five teams. The Lions are 0-2 with double-digit losses to Puyallup and Graham-Kapowsin. They finished 4-6 last year with their final victory coming in a non-playoff crossover rout of three-win Mount Rainier.
Offensively, Bellarmine has averaged just 174 yards in total offense and turned the ball over twice in each of its games.