The first round of the high school football playoffs is here, with several Olympia area teams qualified for the postseason. Here’s a preview of every game being played this week by those schools.
Olympia (4-5) at No. 3 Camas (9-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Camas High School
The Bears scored a surprise berth to the playoffs, coming from behind to edge the 4A South Puget Sound League’s tail-enders, Curtis, 7-6, in their season finale at Ingersoll Stadium. The victory left Olympia in a tie for the SPSL’s fifth and final playoff spot with Bellarmine.
A dominant 34-6 rout of the Lions during Week 4 broke the tie and sent the Bears south.
A balanced Olympia offense this season has skewed a bit toward passing. Senior quarterback Nathan Hermann has completed 56 percent of his passes for just more than 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns split between senior receivers Will Anderson and Jake Doughty.
Alfredo Ramirez has been the Bears top running back, with contributions from Brandone Veley and freshman Carlos Matheney. Defensively, free safety Jayden Dougherty and linebacker Max Tuitele have averaged more than 10 tackles per game.
Meanwhile, the Papermakers carried a grudge to the 4A Greater Saint Helen’s League crown. Vowing to defeat each of the four teams that beat them during the 2018 regular season – Lincoln, Bellevue, Sumner and Union – Camas did so by a combined score of 128-35, including a 28-14 victory over archrival Union last week.
Senior quarterback Blake Ascuitto, making his first start of the season because of injuries to usual starter Jake Blair, completed 10 of 14 passes for 153 yards against the Titans, including touchdowns to Kenny Wright and Preston Jackson.
Tyler Forner rushed 17 times for 76 yards and the other two Papermaker touchdowns.
Capital (3-6) vs. Prairie (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Battle Ground District Stadium
Capital advanced to the post-season after a rock-paper-scissors 3-4 tie between the Cougars, Central Kitsap and Timberline in the 3A South Sound Conference standings for the fourth and final league berth was broken by point differential between the three teams.
Capital had beaten CK, 14-8, and lost to Timberline, 7-6. The Blazers lost to Central Kitsap, 5-0. The result was a +5 score for Capital, -1 for CK and -4 for Timberline.
Prairie had a tie of its own to break, 3-1 atop the 3A Greater Saint Helen’s League with Kelso, and was awarded the GSHL’s top seed via a 38-22 win over the Hilanders in Week 5.
The Cougars had a rough end to the regular season, taking a 49-7 defeat to 3A SSC champion Peninsula at home.
In previous weeks, though, Capital has gotten outstanding passing from quarterback Tristan Redman, throwing often to big-play receiver Grady Lindekugel and Josh Maiava. Clayton Grady has been a workhorse running back, turning in several 100-yard plus performances.
Senior quarterback A.J. Dixson has completed 105 of 167 passes for 1482 yards and 18 touchdowns for Prairie. The Falcons have had three wide receivers pull in at least 20 passes this season, Jimmie Barton, Ian Davis and Treyce Teague.
Dixson also leads the Falcons in rushing with 669 yards, including 111 in last week’s rout of Evergreen of Vancouver. He’s scored 11 touchdowns. Devonte Clayton is next with 471 yards and six touchdowns.
Edmonds-Woodway (5-4) at Yelm (6-3)
7 p.m. Friday at Yelm High School
Edmonds-Woodway tied for first in the 3A Wesco South but were relegated to the league’s fourth seed after a 28-7 playoff loss to Squalicum from the North last week.
Meanwhile, Yelm finished second in the 3A SSC with the same 6-3 regular season mark they took into a post-season run that carried them into the state quarterfinals last year. They reversed a loss to Timberline in ’18 last week, 35-30, but earlier couldn’t repeat the upset win over league champion Peninsula they scored last season and thus had to settle for second.
The Tornados’ biggest concern heading into the home game with the Warriors is their passing game. Timberline held them without a completion in seven attempts last week and in the loss to Peninsula during Week 7 they generated less than 100 yards passing.
However, senior quarterback Ben Hoffmann had some memorable nights earlier in the season and has a strong receiver group in Sylas Franklin, Anthony Chipres, Auzzie Schaler and Richard Romo.
On the ground, Yelm has an intriguing approach. The Tornados rely on workhorse back Carson Amendt, who carried 26 times for 96 yards against Timberline, to get them down the field and into the red zone, then turn to star two-way lineman Bradley McGannon to get the ball over the goal line.
McGannon carried five times for 18 yards against the Blazers but three carries went for touchdowns, another for a key fourth-down conversion and one to get Yelm out of the shadow of its own goalposts when Timberline turned the ball over on downs at the one-foot line.
The Warriors will also be looking to spark their offense, which didn’t score against Squalicum – Ryan Fahey’s 60-yard run with a recovered fumble was their only score.
Columbia River (3-6) at No. 1 Tumwater (9-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Tumwater District Stadium
Tumwater hasn’t beaten a Class 2A school by fewer than 34 points, and that was a top 10 team, No. 8 W.F. West in a 34-0 shutout. The Thunderbirds’ two closest games were two-touchdown wins over a 4A, Bellarmine Prep, and a 4A-equivalent, Clackamas (OR).
It’s unlikely the 2A GSHL’s fourth seed Chieftains will change that trend.
Tumwater rolled to a 62-6 win over a team with a winning record, 5-4 Centralia, last week while Columbia River lost a non-league contest to Clarkston, 35-20.
Two T-Bird running backs, Dylan Paine with 121 and Jaylen Clay with 102, broke the triple-digit mark in rushing. Three others, Jack Jones, Turner Allen and Hunter Baker, joined them in scoring at least one touchdown rushing. Jones, and fellow running back Tyler Woods, also scored defensively off Tigers’ turnovers.
Junior quarterback Mason Priddy has completed 112 of 187 passes for 1492 passes and 14 touchdowns. Another junior, Jacob Ayers, is the top receiver with 20 catches for 366 yards and five touchdowns.
Isaac Bibb-O’Neill has been Columbia River’s top rusher this season, carrying 76 times for 536 yards and seven touchdowns while Priddy has gained 323 yards and scored four times on 67 totes.
This will be the second season in a row Columbia River opens the playoffs at Tumwater District Stadium. They lost a 45-7 district game to Black Hills in 2018. The Chieftains hosted Tumwater on Week 2 in 2017 and lost, 55-6.
River Ridge (4-5) at Sequim (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Bremerton High School
The Hawks won’t be going to Clallam County to meet the Wolves. District 3 follows the WIAA state tournament rule prohibiting natural grass fields in the playoffs so, unlike W.F. West, Sequim had to move its first-round game to the artificial turf at Bremerton High School in Kitsap County.
River Ridge has been on a mild roll, winning three of its last five, with the two losses to strong Eatonville and Steilacoom squads. Last week, they won their 2A SPSL crossover playoff game, 47-27, over visiting Highline to earn the district berth.
With top running back Darion Brown out with a concussion, senior Michael Paje, who began the season as the Hawks featured running back, returned to the role, carrying 36 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
The passing combination of quarterback Jevon Brown and wide receiver Dontae Owens was deadly when River Ridge needed it to be, connecting for the Hawks only two pass completions of the night, both for long touchdowns.
Coincidentally, Sequim defeated Bremerton, 36-21, last week to solidify its hold on the second seed from the 2A Olympic League.
Taig Wiker ran for four Wolves touchdowns, rushing for 133 yards on 21 carries. He completed 6-of-12 passes for 174 yards and a 42-yard touchdown to Garrett Hoesel, who totaled four catches for 149 yards. Walker Ward contributed 122 rushing yards on 24 carries.
The last time these teams met was in 2013 and River Ridge won going away, 43-6, in an early non-league game. That was a very different Sequim team, one that finished winless.
Washougal (5-4) at No. 8 W.F. West (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday at W.F. West High School, Chehalis
You only have to go back six weeks to find the last time these teams played on this field: the Bearcats scored a 23-7 victory over the Panthers behind 185 passing yards from quarterback Josiah Johnson and a 103-yard rushing night from Jaiyden Camoza.
Washougal’s Tristan Farrell passed for 118 yards, but the Bearcats clamped down on the Panthers running game, holding them to just 34 yards rushing.
Both of W.F. West’s stars from that game were injured in the first half of the eventual loss to Tumwater – with the contest still scoreless three minutes before intermission. Camoza, who hurt his ankle, hasn’t played offense since, but Johnson returned with a vengeance last week against Aberdeen after completing a concussion protocol.
He passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns, all to Max Taylor, and rushed for 102 more.
Luke Wichert ran for two W.F. West touchdowns, Leandre Gaines took a kickoff to the house and Taylor tallied a fifth touchdown on a pick-six.
Washougal finished its regular season with a 51-6 thrashing of 1-8 R.A. Long, holding the Lumberjacks to less than 80 yards of total offense while piling up 373 of its own.
Dalton Payne passed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, bringing his impressive season totals to 1781 yards and 21 touchdowns. Gavin Multer needed just four carries to amass 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Centralia (5-4) at No. 2 Hockinson (8-1)
1 p.m. Saturday at Hockinson High School, Brush Prairie
Centralia survived a “Kansas Tiebreaker” on Tuesday as the Tigers and Aberdeen shut out Black Hills in an overtime format to eliminate the Wolves and claim the final two spots from the 2A EvCo to the district round.
The Tigers’ reward? A road game at two-time defending 2A state champion Hockinson.
The tiebreaker saw Cam Erickson set up the Tigers’ touchdown with a long pass to Benito Valencia just before a one-yard run by Caleb Simpson for the score. During the season, though, running backs Chase Sobolesky-Reynolds and Braidyn Hoyt were the mainstays of Centralia’s offense.
Hockinson’s only loss of 2019 came in Week 2, 27-21, at home to No. 5 Archbishop Murphy in a non-league game.
The Hawks’ senior quarterback, Levi Crum, is one of the state’s top passers, having completed 122 of 207 for 2221 yards and 30 touchdowns. Most often on the receiving end are Makaio Juarez (26 catches for 579 and 8 touchdowns), Liam Mallory (24-365-5) and Jeremiah Faulstick (22-414-5).
Daniel Thompson, a 5-foot-6 junior, is Hockinson’s top rusher with 560 yards and four TDs on 82 carries. Crum is next with 450 yards and eight TDs on 65 attempts.
Elma (5-4) at No. 6 La Center (8-0)
7 p.m. Friday at La Center High School
Elma came out on the short end of the East County Civil War with seventh-ranked Montesano, 49-7, last week but will travel to meet the unbeaten 1A Trico champions.
Against Monte, the Eagles scored only on a 58-yard second-quarter touchdown dash by running back Isaiah O’Farrill, who finished with 128 yards on 18 carries. Other Eagles standouts this season have been senior quarterback Cody Vollan and senior running back Brady Shriver.
La Center quarterback Tom Lambert has completed 72 of 122 passes for 1058 yards and 11 touchdowns. He throws to a varied corps of receivers, including Micah Adams, Irving Alvarez, Jeremy Humphrey and Andrew Kysar.
Lambert also leads the Wildcats in rushing with 136 carries for 753 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rainier (5-4) at Pe Ell/Willapa Valley (6-3)
7 p.m. Friday at Willapa Valley High School, Menlo
The Mountaineers reached the playoffs in Andy Bartell’s first season as head coach as the Central 2B Mountain Division’s fourth seed and will meet the Pe Ell/Willapa Valley co-op team that won the Pacific 2B Coastal with a perfect 5-0 league record.
Junior quarterback Mike Green has been the centerpiece for Rainier, completing 74 of 128 passes for 1292 passes and 15 touchdowns. He’s also carried 54 times for 494 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior Brody Klein is the emotional leader and a key ground-gainer as well. Klein has rushed 61 times for a team-high 597 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also caught 22 passes for 446 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, he leads Rainier with 89 total tackles, 17 for losses.
The Mountaineers offense can be unpredictable, too, as five other players have caught at least eight passes.
Pe Ell/Willapa Valley is a run-oriented team, averaging just eight passes per game.
Senior Max Smith is flirting with the 1000-yard mark, with 128 carries for 953 yards and 20 touchdowns. Junior Kollin Jerek isn’t far behind with 723 yards and 10 touchdowns on 84 carries.