Week 7 Preview: Can Crossover Games Ever be Fair?
By Matt Baide
In The Chronicle sports offices, which is really a couple desks thrown together, there has been a lot of talk about the Southwest Washington 2B football crossover games.
For reference, this is what the crossover games would be if the season ended today, with the team currently in that position in parentheses:
Mountain #1 (Adna) vs. Coastal #4 (Ocosta)
Coastal #1 (Ilwaco) vs. River #4 (Winlock)
River #1 (Kalama) vs. Mountain #4 (Napavine)
Mountain #2 (Onalaska) vs. Coastal #3 (Raymond)
Coastal #2 (Pe Ell-Willapa Valley) vs. River #3 (Toledo)
River #2 (Wahkiakum) vs. Mountain #3 (Rainier)
Looking at these matchups, the one that sticks out is the Kalama-Napavine matchup. These two teams have played three times in the last two years, including in the 2B state semifinals last year. The Chinooks won 20-13 in the Week 2 meeting this season in Kalama.
There is a way for both teams in that game to make it, but it would require the Tigers defeating Kalama, which based on recent history, isn’t likely and would end Napavine’s season before the state tournament.
In Aaron VanTuyl’s weekly prep football column, he wasn’t pleased with the current crossover format. In our office discussions, we both agree that the games should have rotated each year, but even if you did rotate which division’s played which in the No. 1 vs. No. 4 matchups, I don’t know if there is any way you could not leave out one team worthy of being in the state playoffs.
For example, let’s just mix up the #1 vs. #4 matchups and move the No. 4 team’s one spot up from their matchups above so they would look like this:
Mountain #1 (Adna) vs. River #4 (Winlock)
Coastal #1 (Ilwaco) vs. Mountain #4 (Napavine)
River #1 (Kalama) vs. Coastal #4 (Ocosta)
Looking at these games, I’m guessing the three winners would be Adna, Napavine and Kalama. That would put Ilwaco into a 4-way tiebreaker on the Saturday with (based on the matchups and who I think would win) Raymond, Toledo and Wahkiakum. Toledo, while sitting at 2-4 right now, hasn’t lost to a team not in the top 10 of most rankings. Wahkiakum is a solid team and Raymond has played tough in the Coastal Division.
Another point I bring up is the argument of the best teams coming out of District 4 versus equal representation across the three divisions. At this point, we know the Mountain Division is the best of the three and has four teams that are certainly deserving of a spot in the state playoffs. But does that mean that the Coastal Division, in a down year, doesn’t deserve at least one team in the state playoffs? In my view, they deserve at least one team in the state tournament.
I will use an NFL example for this, but I do recall back in 2011 when the 2010 NFC West Champs, the Seattle Seahawks, finished 7-9 and were able to host a playoff game against the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Did anyone give the Hawks a chance in that game? No, myself included. Matt Hasselbeck threw four touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch started an earthquake and the rest is history.
So while it may appear that PWV, Ilwaco, Ocosta, whichever team comes out on top in the Coastal Division, don’t sleep on any of those teams, because you only need one win and to get hot at the right time to surprise a lot of people (paging Eli Manning).
A look at Week 7 in prep football:
Local teams will clash on Friday when the Warriors travel to Centralia to take on the Tigers in a battle of teams that are very similar on paper. Both teams are 1-5 overall and 0-2 in EvCo games. Centralia is coming off a 43-7 loss to Black Hills in Tumwater last Friday while Rochester fell to W.F. West 41-0 in Chehalis last Friday.
The Tigers lone win came in Week 4 against Fort Vancouver 48-14 in Vancouver. The Warriors win came in Week 1 against Tenino 53-20 in Rochester. Centralia has been outscored by opponents 216-105 this season. Rochester has been outscored 246-95 by opponents this season and has been outscored 104-0 in two EvCo games. The Tigers won a close contest last season 42-35 in Tiger Stadium.
W.F. West has the toughest opponent of the week, traveling to Tumwater to take on the Thunderbirds. The Bearcats defeated Rochester last week and are 3-0 at home this season but 0-3 on the road, including a loss in Tumwater once already this season against Black Hills, 25-17, in Week 5.
Tumwater has been flexing their muscles against the EvCo in two games this season, outscoring Rochester and Aberdeen by a combined 124-3.
Tumwater averages 44.6 points per game and has defeated opponents by an average of 38 points.
The Beavers host Elma on senior night on Friday. Tenino fell to Forks last Friday, 55-14. The Eagles lost their first game of the season last week against Hoquiam 14-13 in Elma. The Eagles have been putting up points this season, averaging 37.3 points per game.
The Mountain Division will continue to beat each other up this week with two top 10 matchups. In Napavine, the Tigers will host the undefeated Loggers in a key game in the standings. Onalaska is currently tied with Adna at the top of the division standings. Napavine is a game back after a loss to Adna in Week 5.
If the Tigers win, they would be able to leapfrog Onalaska and move into second place and host a crossover game. If the Loggers were to win, it would all but lock up at least the No. 2 spot for Onalaska.
The Loggers are coming off a 34-28 come from behind win against Rainier in Onalaska. Napavine blanked Morton-White Pass 46-0 in Tiger town. Last season, the Tigers dominated at home in a 40-8 win.
The other big game is in Adna where the Pirates will host the Mountaineers. The same stakes are the same as the Napavine-Onalaska game, with Adna tied with the Loggers at 2-0 in the division and Rainier with just one loss to Onalaska last week. If Rainier wins, it would create a mess in the Mountain Division depending on the result of the Napavine-Onalaska game.
Adna defeated Life Christian 59-0 last Saturday in Lakewood while Rainier lost their first game of the season against Onalaska.
Also in Mountain Division games this Friday is Morton-White Pass at home in Randle against Life Christian. After starting the season 4-0, the T-Wolves have lost the first two games of Mountain Division play against Onalaska and Napavine. After outscoring opponents 160-34 in the first four games, MWP has been outscored 92-6 in the first two Mountain Division games.
In the River Division, Toledo hits the road to face Wahkiakum in Cathlamet. The Mules took down Toutle Lake 42-6 last Friday in Toutle while Toledo faced the defending state champions in Kalama and lost 32-13.
This game is big for both teams, with Kalama presumably taking the top spot in the River Division, the winner of this game will most likely host a crossover game and have a chance to punch their ticket to the state tournament without having to play in a tiebreaker. Wahkiakum won 18-7 last season in Wahkiakum.
The Cardinals welcome Toutle Lake to town on homecoming weekend. The Cardinals are coming off a big win over the Vikings 36-7 in Mossyrock while Toutle Lake fell to Wahkiakum. Winlock is on track to earn the No. 4 seed in the River Division and play the Coastal Division No. 1 a winner-to-state crossover game. The Ducks have struggled this season, scoring just 19 points in six games with three games being shutout.
Mossyrock will be praying to the Norse Gods this Friday when they host Kalama. The Vikings lost 36-7 against Winlock last Friday and have lost three straight going into Friday’s contest.
In Coastal Division action, Pe Ell-Willapa Valley hosts North Beach on Friday. The Titans are coming off a 42-0 win over South Bend and have won two straight after taking down Lyle/Wishram in a non-league game in Week 5. North Beach is winless this season and is coming off a 38-0 loss to Raymond. North Beach has been outscored by opponents 179-34 in five games this season.