Week 8 Preview: Playoff Picture Taking Shape
By Matt Baide
As a Washington State University alum, the news on Saturday that College Gameday is going to be in Pullman on Saturday for the WSU-Oregon game was a day I never thought I would be alive to see (also on that list was a Mariners and Seahawks championship, one of which has been a reality).
I remember my first football game at WSU as a freshman. We played Oklahoma State in the first game of the season at Centurylink Stadium (known back then as Qwest Field) 39-13, but optimism was still high as the Cougars welcomed Cal to Pullman for the true home opener.
My friend Kevin and I had some pretty solid seats in the lower bowl and were ready to watch WSU cruise to the win with new head coach Paul Wulff.
Cal received the ball to start the game. On the first play from scrimmage, Cal’s Jahvid Best took the handoff and sprinted to the endzone. The Golden Bears won that game 66-3, and Kevin and I stayed for the entire game, even though most of the student section had cleared out by halftime.
The football program has come a long way since that rough season where we beat the Huskies in double overtime in the bad Apple Cup. And after 10 years, having Gameday come to Pullman is the moment Coug fans everywhere have been striving for.
And as we know, win or lose, Cougs booze, so Saturday should be fun regardless of the outcome.
As for prep football, with two weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture is clearer than a 4K TV, although there are still some seeding questions to be answered.
Here’s a look at what’s on the line on Friday (and Saturday):
There’s a pretty big game in Centralia on Friday, please check out the Swamp Cup tab with this paper (or read the stories online). In Rochester, the Warriors will host the Bobcats in an EvCo contest.
Rochester is on a six-game losing streak after winning the opening game of the season against Tenino. The Warriors lost to Centralia 55-21 in the Hub City last Friday. Aberdeen is coming off a 53-14 loss at home against Black Hills last Friday. The Bobcats have lost two straight going into Friday night and end the season next Friday against the Bearcats in Chehalis.
Tenino has forfeited their home game against Montesano on Friday due to a lack of healthy players. The Beavers lost to Elma at home on senior night last Friday, 62-0 and were 0-4 in league games this season including the forfeit.
No. 1 Adna has the chance to be the Mountain Division champions on Friday when they travel to Onalaska to face the No. 6 Loggers. The Pirates are coming off a dominating performance in their final home game against Rainier, 49-6 and remain the only undefeated team in Southwest Washington 2B football.
Onalaska is coming off their first loss of the season in Napavine, 36-30. The Loggers led 24-6 at halftime but Dawson Stanley helped kickstart a comeback and the Loggers fumbled the ball away to the Tigers on what was the potential game-winning drive.
If the Loggers win on Friday, it would create a three-way tie for first in the mountain division and if all three teams were able to win in the final week, a coin flip would determine the top three seeds in the Mountain Division.
The Tigers will get to sit back and watch the action unfold on Friday, hitting the road on Saturday to face Life Christian in Lakewood. Napavine won in come from behind fashion against Onalaska last Friday, while Life Christian fell in overtime to Morton-White Pass 22-21 in Randle last Friday.
Speaking of the Timberwolves, Morton-White Pass will have the opportunity to gain the inside track to the No. 4 seed in the Mountain Division on Friday when they head to Rainier to take on the Mountaineers. Rainier has lost two straight after falling to Onalaska in a second-half collapse and then a big loss to Adna last Friday. MWP’s Jesse Urban ran in a 2-point conversion in overtime for an overtime victory against the Eagles last Friday. If MWP wins on Friday and Napavine defeats Rainier in the final week of the season, the Timberwolves would be the No. 4 seed from the Mountain Division and would have to face Kalama in a crossover game the following Thursday.
The River Division is currently Kalama’s to lose with an undefeated record in divisional games. There is currently a three-way tie for second place in the River Division between Toledo, Wahkiakum and Winlock. The River Division will be much more clear after this Friday as the Mules travel to Kalama to take on the Chinooks while the battle of the Cowlitz will happen in Toledo between the Indians and the Cardinals.
Toledo went into one of the toughest places to play last week and left with a 24-6 win over Wahkiakum. Winlock clinched their first playoff berth since 2010 after a 41-27 win against Toutle Lake at home last Friday. A win by the Indians would essentially clinch the No. 2 seed in the River Division and would allow them to host the Mountain Division No. 3 in a crossover game. A win by the Cardinals would put them on track to be the No. 2 seed. If Wahkiakum and Winlock both lose, the Cardinals and Mules would play for the No. 3 seed in the final week of the season in Winlock.
Mossyrock is out of the playoff picture, but is hoping to earn their third win of the season and first River Division win when they travel to Toutle to take on the Ducks. Toutle Lake is winless this season but is coming off their highest scoring output of the season against the Cardinals. The Vikings lost 67-7 against Kalama last Friday in Mossyrock.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley will try to remain undefeated in the Coastal Division when they travel to Westport on Friday to take on Ocosta. The Titans won 46-24 over North Beach in Menlo last Friday. The Wildcats sit at the No. 4 spot in the Coastal Division and are coming off a 41-14 loss to the Seagulls last Friday in Raymond. Ilwaco is currently undefeated in the Coastal Division and if the Fishermen can take down Raymond this Friday, would setup a battle for the Coastal Division crown against PWV in Menlo in the final week.