Ryland Spencer Picks
NEI 4A Top 10
1. Skyline (7-0) vs Issaquah (4-3)
The Skyline Spartans are rolling and it wont stop this week. I liked Issaquah at the beginning of the season, but frankly they have been a bit of a disappointment. Losses to Mount Si, Roosevelt and Newport are not bad losses, but I thought they were better than 2 of those 3. This game is part of the WIAANetwork.com Friday Night Football lineup. Sparta in a route, 52-7.
2. Federal Way (7-0) @ Auburn (6-1)
There is the possibility of an upset here. I previewed this game as it is also part of the WIAANetwork.com lineup and I will be producing the broadcast. You can view that preview here… Federal Way @ Auburn Preview.
3. Camas (7-0) @ Heritage (2-5)
Camas looks like a team that could win a state championship. They play great defense and have an almost equally good offense. QB Reilly Hennessey is one of the best Jr’s at his position and continues to get better by the game. Heritage has a lot of offensive firepower and QB Loren Standiford does a great job at moving the ball around, but they are far from being an all around team. Camas will have no problem here. Papermakers win easily, 44-14.
4. Bellarmine Prep (6-1) @ Olympia (3-4)
The Lions of Bellarmine Prep should have no problems this week. They have been absolutely dominant after a week 2 loss to Lakes and will continue to roll into the playoffs. With a win the Olympia Bears can put themselves in a spot to win the Narrows 4A. A win vs Yelm next week is all they would have left. I just don’t see it happening. Bellarmine Prep is too much for Olympia, 35-17.
5. Gonzaga Prep (7-0) vs Mt. Spokane (1-6)
With a Bullpups win this week they will clinch the #1 seed from the GSL 4A and a date with a Mid Columbia team in the week 10 play-in round. This game is a no brainer and I expect to have Griffin Hare or another Gonzaga Prep player in my Elite Performers post this weekend. GP hammers Mt.Spoke, 50-13.
6. (tie) Mead (6-1) @ Rogers (0-7)
Mead had a setback against Gonzaga Prep but it didn’t slow them down. This week will be a walk in the park and it will set up a winner to state game next week against Ferris, should the Saxons beat University this week. Panthers stay on track with a huge win over Rogers, 48-10.
6. (tie) Kentwood (7-0) vs Auburn Riverside (1-6)
Riverside actually has a few younger pieces I really like. C/DT Larkin Williams is on our 2014 rankings and So. WR/DB/PR Gavin Hettinger will be on our 2015’s when they come out. Problem is they are thin all around. The Kentwood defense is absolutely filthy! They have only allowed double digits twice this year and wont allow many this week. Conks win easy, 37-7.
8. Bothell (4-3) @ Woodinville (6-1)
This is for the KingCo Crest Division. The winner gets a date at Skyline next week in the KingCo Championship game. No better place for a game of this magnitude. Pop Keeney will be absolutely ROCKING! Both teams call it home and not only will the stands be packed, but you will be hard pressed to find a spot along the fence that surrounds the field. I really like Woodinville and think they are a very good team, but I don’t see them winning. The Blue Train is really moving and wont be stopped this week. Danny Wilson will run wild again. Cougars win 40-24.
9. Skyview (5-2) @ Battle Ground (5-2)
Battle Gound’s game last week ended in controversy and without being there to see it personally, I have no comment nor do I really care. Can’t do much about it now, move on. This week they get a Skyview team that has two very good losses to Central Catholic (OR) and Camas. Battle Ground started the season hot but have been cooled off the last two weeks. Tigers stay cold again this week. Skyview “Storms” past Battle Ground, 35-18.
10. Graham-Kapowsin (6-1) @ Todd Beamer (1-6)
The Eagles of GK have been playing very well since losing to Federal Way in week 3 and I don’t see that stopping this week. Todd Beamer has a couple of really nice pieces and I really like WR Adrian Shocks, but he can’t go about it alone. GK in a route, 47-10.
NEI 3A Top 10
1. Bellevue (7-0) vs Liberty (3-4)
Well if last week didn’t show you who the best team was, nothing will. This Bellevue team is the best team I have ever seen. Not just of Bellevue teams, I am talking ever. With all due respect to the rest of 3A… You can hand Bellevue to championship right now. Wolverines win 55-7.
2. Mount Si (6-1) @ Mercer Island (5-2)
The Wildcats got blasted last week and didn’t move in the rankings for a reason… They are the 2nd best team in the state. No doubt in my mind they will bounce back. I like a lot about Mercedes Island (George G. Grid reference. Anyone remember him?) but I don’t see being able to compete here. Their loss to Whoa-Nita (Another Grid reference) might kill the Islanders playoff chances. Wildcats get back in right direction, 30-7.
3. Eastside Catholic (7-0) @ Bishop Blanchet (4-3)
Eastside Catholic is on their way to the Metro League Championship game next week and will roll right on through Blanchet on their way. Nathan Hale will be a test for the Crusaders, but I don’t expect them to lose. Eastside Catholic is going deep this year. They will be on the opposite side of the bracket from Mount Si and Bellevue. Very good chance they could end up in the state championship game this year. Crusaders cruise, 44-20.
4. Ferndale (7-0) @ Lynden (6-1)
A lot of people like the Eagles and frankly I don’t blame them, but I also don’t think they have really been tested as they play in a 2A conference that isn’t spectacular. Lynden lost week one to King’s (1A) but haven’t looked back since. I am going to call for the “Upset” here even though I think Lynden is the better team. Lions take down Golden Eagles, 35-24.
5. O’Dea (5-2) @ Bainbridge (3-4)
I saw Bainbridge last week and after a slow start, they looked very good in the second half, but this is O’Dea. They lost to Eastside Catholic last week and no Monte Kohler coached team stays down long. They will get back on the horse this week and be just fine. Irish win, 24-10.
6. Oak Harbor (6-1) vs Marysville-Pilchuck (6-1)
This is a huge game. The winner will get a spot in the week 9 Championship game against the winner of our #8 vs #9 game. Both teams like the Wing-T and you can expect to see a lot of yards gained on the ground. I like both teams, but don’t think Oak Harbor can stop MP RB Austin Joyner. Tomahawks chop the Wildcats, 30-21.
7. Marysville-Philchuck (6-1) @ Oak Harbor (6-1)
8. Meadowdale (6-1) vs Glacier Peak (6-1)
This game is for the Wesco South Division and a spot in the Wesco Championship. The Mavericks were looking like one of the best 3A teams in the state before losing 16-0 last week vs Eastlake. Now they could easily lose two straight. The Grizzlies lost a few weeks ago to a VERY good Bothell team and weren’t spectacular last week vs Shorewood. I expect to see Chris Becerra and Sean Elledge get the boys going again. Grizzlies win the game and the South, 33-14.
9. Glacier Peak (6-1) @ Meadowdale (6-1)
10. North Thurston (6-1) vs Timberline (6-1)
If North Thurston wins, they become the #1 seed from the Narrows league. Timberline has a date with Shelton next week and should have a fight on their hands. The two teams each have one loss and both loss to a VERY good Tumwater team. I expect a dog fight here, but I think the North Thurston defense is too good. Rams win 24-17.
Scott Eklund Picks
Newport at Garfield – QB Isaac Dotson is one of the top athletes in the state and has really improved as a passer, leading his team to a 4-3 record with losses to the likes of Capital, Skyline and South Kitsap. Garfield, on the other hand, has improved quite a bit under new head coach Dave Myers, but they are still 1-6 and looking for that signature win. Could this be the week? Doubtful, but the Bulldogs will keep it close for a while. Newport 35 – Garfield 20.
Bothell at Woodinville – This is an away game for Bothell, but it will still be played on their home field as they share the same stadium (Pop Keeney) with the Falcons who are 6-1 and poised for a deep run in the playoffs behind a solid defense and a tough ground-game. Bothell has recovered from an 0-3 start, albeit against three of the top teams in the state, and is now riding a four-game winning streak. This one should be a great matchup in this rivalry and I think Bothell will come away on top, but it really could go either way. Bothell 27 – Woodinville 21.
Cascade at Kamiak – After several years of being the doormat of the Wesco 4A, Cascade head coach has his Bruins squad starting to believe they can win. They play good defense and they’ve got a couple of nice athletes at their disposal, including QB Ryan Lukas who has looked pretty good in the spread attack. Kamiak will counter with a solid ground game led by junior tailback Austin Hall who has 1,044 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing so far this season. Kamiak comes away with a win, but Cascade makes their presence felt. Kamiak 27 – Cascade 20.
Fife at Sumner – If Sumner wins their game against Fife this week, they will assure themselves at least a tie for the SPSL 2A title. They have a great ground-game with the likes of senior Lokahi Kamau and juniors Brandon Tuilaepa and DeJon Lynch, but Fife will counter with a huge defensive front led by Monike Sarte and Caleb McGary, the latter of which has offers from Oregon State and Washington. This should be a fun matchup, but Sumner will get the win. Sumner 31 – Fife 27.
Federal Way at Auburn – The Eagles head to Auburn in a big non-league matchup. Auburn has a great ground-game led by Harold Lee while Federal Way is loaded with playmakers like Zeke McNeil and Chico McClatcher. Federal Way hasn’t really been challenged at all this year, but Auburn could be the team to make them a little skittish if they can keep things close into the second half. Federal Way gets the win on the road, but it will be a slugfest. Federal Way 34 – Auburn 28.
Marysville-Pilchuck at Oak Harbor – The best matchup in the Wesco 3A so far this season as the talented and deep MP squad, led by junior signal-caller Jake Luton, head north to take on a team in Oak Harbor that had to replace a lot of talent after last season, but still has a three-headed monster in the backfield in seniors Fred Webster (748 yards, eight touchdowns) and Isaiah Trower (428, four) and junior Sheyenne Sams (350, four). While Oak Harbor is a good team, I think the Tomahawks will head home with the win and a share of the Wesco 3A lead. Marysville-Pilchuck 27 – Oak Harbor 24.
Mountain View at Kelso – Kelso is 6-1 and is a team no one wants to face in the playoffs as they use a hard-hitting and opportunistic defense to limit opponents’ opportunities. Mountain View also has a strong defense, but they aren’t a physical as Kelso is. Kelso wins this one, but it will be a physical contest that could take a toll on both teams. Kelso 35 – Mountain View 17.
Glacier Peak at Meadowdale – Both of these squads fell to teams they should have beaten in the past few weeks, so this a fight to see who takes the Wesco 4A South title. Meadowdale has two explosive players in Morgan Masanda and Giavani Shepherd while GP relies on the passing of Chris Becerra to pick apart defenses. I see this one being a tract meet with the team possessing the ball last having the best chance at coming away with the win. Meadowdale 38 – Glacier Peak 35.
Ferndale at Lynden – Ferndale against Lynden is always a good matchup and this year should be no different. The Golden Eagles are 7-0 and ranked fourth in our NEI rankings right now and they should be able to get the win over what is proving to again be one of the top 2A programs in the state. Ferndale 30 – Lynden 27.
Chiawana at Southridge – This should be a great Columbia Basin matchup and Chiawana has a huge challenge in Southridge use a great defense to keep things close and then wear down opponents with their own running game. Chiawana junior QB Joey Zamora is a threat with his arm and his legs and he’ll put pressure on the Suns with what he can do. In the end, Chiawana will have too many playmakers and will extend their winning streak to five games. Chiawana 30 – Southridge 21.