Week 9 Preview: Playing for Pride and Position
By Matt Baide
At this point in the football season, in every classification, there’s a pretty good idea of what teams are playing for. Some are playing for the top spot and the best chance at a championship, some are playing just to make the playoffs and others are playing because there is a game left on the schedules.
For teams like Rochester, Centralia, Tenino and Mossyrock, they aren’t playing for anything other than pride. With no playoffs the following week, the players will be turning in their pads after Friday and perhaps looking towards getting into the gym for basketball or wrestling or getting into an indoor practice facility to begin preparing for spring sports season.
There’s no shame in not making the playoffs. Everyone has bad years and sometimes things don’t always go your way, and I know this from personal experience.
My junior year of high school, I was on the 3A State Championship Hanford Falcons boys golf team. I finished in a tie for 23rd, my teammate (and still friend to this day) Alex Cantu finished 18th and Alex Moore (who now teaches golf) won the tournament after shooting a 67 in the second round and draining a 40 foot Eagle putt to win on the second playoff hole.
The next year, I was excited to get back out there and try to help Hanford defend the team and individual titles we won the previous year.
I didn’t have my best year, and it was arguably my worst year. I got stroked for cursing in a few tournaments, and in one tournament, cost my team a win with penalty strokes. When Districts rolled around, I wasn’t right in the head and made the cut for the second round, but ultimately failed to make the state tournament as I had done the previous two years.
That is not the way I wanted to end my golf career. Looking back on it, I would have done a lot of things differently, but ultimately, I had a pretty good run in golf and I enjoy the sport a lot more now that I don’t really play competitively anymore.
An example this year of me playing for nothing but pride comes from my longest running participation in a fantasy football league. My freshman year of college, a few friends including myself started the Northwest Legends FF league. It’s changed over the years and some people have left and others have joined, but the core has mostly remained for the last 10 years.
This season is not going well for me. I’m currently 0-7 and in dead last out of 12 teams. I have 944 points scored against me, easily the most in the league, but I’m not helping myself with just 663 points for, which is second to last in the league.
What am I playing for? This year, nothing. I’m done. There’s 12 weeks in the season and there’s no chance I make the playoffs this year. I’ve started rebuilding for next season, trading away some players for some guys that could be keepers for me next season. Hopefully, I can play spoiler in the final weeks for someone trying to make the playoffs and steal a win so I can ruin their chances. And then there’s not being in last place, no one wants to be the Sacko (please watch The League if you don’t understand the reference).
Anyways, here’s a look at the final week of prep football:
W.F. West will be trying to secure a playoff berth on Friday when they host Aberdeen. The Bearcats are coming off a 42-21 win over Centralia in the Swamp Cup at Tiger Stadium, scoring 35 points in the first half to lock up the rivalry win for the 10th straight season.
The Bobcats are coming off a loss in Rochester 28-21 and are 1-7 this season, with their lone win coming against Centralia in Week 5. Aberdeen led until the fourth quarter, with the Warriors scoring 12 points to come from behind and earn the win.
Aberdeen was in a similar situation last season, facing the Tigers in the final week of the season for the fourth and final spot into the crossover round. The Bobcats won that game 28-21 in Tiger Stadium, with Kylan Touch running wild to lead Aberdeen to the crossover round. Aberdeen lost to Hockinson in the crossover game 49-8 the following week, and the Hawks eventually went on to win the 2A state championship.
The Tigers will be playing for nothing other than pride this Friday when they travel to Tumwater to take on the Thunderbirds. Centralia will be looking to finish the season with their third win, while Tumwater is coming off a stunning loss to Black Hills in the Pioneer Bowl, 22-17.
Rochester will wrap up the regular season on Friday at home on senior night against the EvCo champion Black Hills. The Wolves are feeling good after a Pioneer Bowl win and will try to remain undefeated this season in preparation for hosting a crossover game next Friday.
Tenino’s season hasn’t been pretty, with the regular season wrapping up on the road against Kingston. The Beavers forfeited a home game last week, that was supposed to be played against Montesano, due to a lack of healthy players.
The Buccaneers aren’t having a good season either, with a 1-7 record this season and lone win coming against Port Townsend in Week 2. Kingston lost 36-20 to North Mason last week on the road in Belfair.
The Mountain Division is set heading into the crossover round, with all four teams playing a tune up game for next week. Undefeated and No. 1 ranked Adna will travel to Randle to take on Morton-White Pass. The Pirates went into Onalaska and left with a 27-8 win and a Mountain Division title. The Pirates will host the No. 4 team out of the Coastal Division in a crossover game, which is currently a tie between Chief Leschi and Ocosta. The two teams face each other on Friday in Puyallup.
Morton-White Pass traveled to Rainier and came away with a 26-12 win to secure the No. 4 spot out of the division into the crossover round. The T-Wolves will have their work cut out for them, facing the top ranked Pirates this week before traveling to Kalama to take on the defending champion Chinooks in a crossover game.
Napavine ends the regular season at home this Friday against Rainier. The Tigers won 62-12 last week behind Dawson Stanley’s seven touchdown passes with Napavine firmly locked into the No. 2 spot in the Mountain Division. Rainier was eliminated from crossover contention last Friday with a loss against MWP. Napavine will host the No. 3 team out of the Coastal Division in the crossovers, which could be either Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, Raymond or Ilwaco.
The Loggers can sit back and watch the action on Friday before packing up the bus and heading to Lakewood on Saturday to take on Life Christian. The Eagles watched the Stanley show last week in primetime while the Loggers fell to the Pirates at home. Onalaska is the No. 3 seed out of the Mountain Division and will hit the road to face Toledo in a crossover game next Thursday.
In the River Division, Toledo will wrap up the regular season on the road against Mossyrock. The Indians are locked into the No. 2 spot in the division and will host Onalaska next Thursday in a crossover game. The Indians defeated Winlock 62-8 in the Battle of the Cowlitz last week. Mossyrock will try to wrap up the regular season on a high note after falling to Toutle Lake last week, 27-8 in Toutle. The Vikings won two of the first three games before a five game losing streak going into Friday.
Winlock is in the playoffs and will try to capture the No. 3 seed on Friday against the Mules in Egg town. The Cardinals fell to the Indians while Wahkiakum lost to the Chinooks 55-0 in Kalama last Friday. The winner will travel to play the Coastal Division No. 2 seed while the loser will play the winner of the Coastal Division next Friday, with Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, Ilwaco or Raymond jockeying for the top three spots in the division.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley can win their third straight Coastal Division crown this Friday if they can defeat Ilwaco in Menlo. The Titans are coming off a 35-7 win over Ocosta in Westport last Friday while the Fishermen lost to Raymond 37-20. PWV defeated Ilwaco last season 38-20 in Ilwaco.