If you listen closely, you can start to hear alarm bells going off in a few places in Lewis and south Thurston Counties. Two weeks into the season, we’ve had a few surprises, but little of ultimate consequence with everything being non-league play. Now, the serious games begin, and with them the chance to shut those alarm bells off — or let them grow even louder.
Kelso at Tumwater
One place the alarm bells aren’t going off is Tumwater, where the T-Birds are 2-0 with decisive wins over quality opponents. The T-Birds get one more non-league tuneup before getting into 2A EvCo play, against 3A Kelso, which has started 1-1 and brings three-star Oregon State commit Payton Stewart on the line. Due to the referee shortage, this game has been moved up to 4 p.m., beginning a doubleheader with Black Hills’ game coming after.
Tenino at Klahowya
Things are a little less rosy in Stone City. The Beavers have looked real good for the majority of both of their first two games against quality opponents, and the connection between quarterback Cody Strawn and Jack Burkhardt and Austin Gonia out wide looks like it could be among the most dangerous in the area. But at the end of the day, Tenino is 0-2, and at some point has to get over the hump into the win column. The next chance is against Klahowya, which is 2-0 against lesser squads.
W.F. West at Shelton
And in Chehalis, well, it’s been better. There’s no shame in losing to Lynden, the two-time defending state champs. But looking at the stats, there’s a difference between the Bearcats’ loss to the Lions last year, when they trailed by nine at the half, and last Friday, when they went down 20-0 after a quarter. Now at 0-2, the Bearcats are still heavy favorites against Shelton, who they running-clocked last year. The momentum has to start soon, though, if it’s going to come at all.
Adna at White Swan
The Pirates are 0-2 with an expected blowout loss to Napavine and a tough Week 2 defeat to PWV that stung but showed promise. Now, they should get an easier time across the mountains against a White Swan group they hammered by 50 points last season. If all goes well, this will be where we get to see Aaron Cochran’s schemes fully fleshed out and on display.
Aberdeen at Centralia
Aberdeen’s schedule thus far is remarkably similar to Centralia’s — Week 1 against a lesser 1A Evergreen team (Hoquiam), followed by Week 2 against a 1A state contender (Montesano). The Bobcats came out with the expected 1-1 split out of that, though, while the Tigers are down to 0-2. The good news for the Tigers is the 21 points — the most they’ve scored in over a year — they put up against a good Eatonville side. Now, they’ve got to pair that with the sort of defensive effort that held Elma to 14 points in regulation in Week 1.
Rochester at Black Hills
Black Hills looked a lot better last weekend than it did in its opener, but still lost a very winnable game to North Thurston. Rochester, meanwhile, has rushed for 998 yards in just two games, and just bowled over Kingston. In a seven-team league that sends four to the crossover round, this is a huge matchup for two teams trying to get into postseason position.
Carson Graham (B.C.) at Napavine
Napavine becomes the second local side to dip into the international pool this season, welcoming Carson Graham out of North Vancouver to Tiger Town. The Eagles just beat somebody called Handsworth 50-0, are 2-0, and are currently ranked No. 3 in the British Columbia School Sports AAA standings, which means… something.
Toledo at Toutle Lake
When was the last time Toledo had one of the most multiple offenses in the area? The Riverhawks aired it out to beat RSB in Week 1, then ran for 454 yards last Friday against Rainier. This year’s Toledo can beat you multiple ways, and Toutle Lake — which just got hammered by Ilwaco — is next up on the Riverhawks’ list.
Rainier at Onalaska
Losses sting, but the way Onalaska went toe-to-toe for a half with Napavine can’t be anything but a boost to the Loggers’ momentum. On one hand, Rainier’s weapons on the outside did give Toledo a bit of a problem last weekend for a bit. On the other, the Riverhawks found success bullying their way up the middle, and Onalaska does have a bit of a reputation for doing the same.
Morton-White Pass at Forks
MWP had a much-needed get-right game last Friday against White Swan. Now, the Timberwolves will jump into SWW 2B North play with a big matchup up the peninsula. Last season, their win against the Spartans put them in prime position to make the postseason; this time around, it’s almost a must-win in Week 3.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley at Wahkiakum
Don’t look now, but PWV is quietly doing it again, stacking up back-to-back quality wins to put up arguable the best early-season resume for any 2B team not named Napavine. The one thing the Titans haven’t been able to do — understandably, facing Mossyrock and Adna — is really run wild, and a matchup against 0-2 Wahkiakum could give them a chance to do just that. It is in Cathlamet, though, and well… you know…
Mossyrock at Muckleshoot Tribal
Any fears that Mossyrock would need a game or two to adjust back to the 8-man game were put to rest real quickly last week. Now, all signs point to the Vikings getting a four-week runway to their showdown against Naselle. This week, Mossyrock gets Muckleshoot Tribal, an 0-2 side which they beat by 42 points last season.
Chief Leschi at Winlock
Things went from bad to worse for Winlock last week, with their second straight blowout loss having to end early due to injury troubles. Chief Leschi’s problem has never been in putting up points, so it’ll be up to the Cardinals’ defense to try to keep the Warriors at least a bit in check.
Taholah at Oakville
It’s a similar story in Oakville, where the Acorns are going into their third game and still looking for their first points of the season. Taholah hasn’t played a game yet this year, and they haven’t posted a win since pre-COVID days, but Oakville needs to find a bit of offense if they want to avoid being the team that ends the Chitwhins skid.