Here is an inside look at the top high school football games across the state of Washington in Week 6, as compiled by reporters Todd Milles and Andy Buhler.
NO. 2 O’DEA FIGHTING IRISH (5-0, 2-0) AT NO. 1 EASTSIDE CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (5-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Eastside Catholic High School, Sammamish
Game nugget: Rematch of the 2018 3A state championship, and perhaps the most anticipated regular season game all season at the 3A level. The two sides have been consensus Nos. 1 and 2 all season. Eastside Catholic won both matchups last season — in league play and in the state title — 31-13.
About the Fighting Irish: The Irish lost most of their starters from last year, but the Monte Kohler-led squad has hardly missed a step, with the defense leading the way. Through five weeks, O’Dea has allowed three touchdowns just once (in a 29-23 win over Bothell), and otherwise has held teams to two or fewer touchdowns. Defensive end Jalen Dixon and tackle Owen Prentice are the big bodies leading the charge defensively. O’Dea is coming off 45-13 drubbing of Seattle Prep.
About the Crusaders: Eastside Catholic is the most talented team in the state. And yet it has still managed to clear hurdles this season. After beating upper-tier out-of-state sides Grant Union (Calif.), Central Catholic (Ore.) and Pinnacle (Ariz.), the Crusaders are turning toward the deep Metro League Mountain division. And so far, nobody has been able to stop Eastside Catholic. After throttling Rainier Beach, Garfield put up three touchdowns on EC, but the Crusaders still won 42-21. Who across the state can stop receiver Gee Scott Jr., tight end D.J. Rogers, running back Sam Adams II, especially with the steady presence of junior quarterback Kobe Muasau orchestrating the offense? O’Dea and its vaunted defense present the Crusaders with its toughest in-state challenges.
Scorebook Live WA pick: Eastside Catholic, 38-28.
NO. 1 LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS (5-0) at GLACIER PEAK GRIZZLIES (5-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Snohomish
Game nugget: Shane Keck, who took over as the Grizzlies coach just days before the start of the season, went 0-3 against Lake Stevens in his three seasons leading Cascade of Everett (2015-17).
About the Vikings: Is this Lake Stevens’ best offense under longtime coach Tom Tri? With 302 points in five games, the Vikings not only lead 4A scoring by a whopping 66 points over Sunnyside, they are the only 11-man program with 300 or more points. QB Tanner Jellison (71-90, 1,250 yards, 17 TDs) shows the poise of a three-year starter, not rookie, and RB Dallas Landeros (85 carries, 718 yards, 14 TDs) just keeps churning out yards.
About the Grizzlies: There are two legitimate things that give Glacier Peak a real chance to win this game – size to match the Vikings in the middle of both lines, and speed to match up with their skill-position standouts. QB Tyson Lang (70-111, 784 yards, nine TDs) emerged from a five-man battle in fall camp to win the starting job, and has been an excellent game manager in his first season. Grizzlies lost 24-21 to the reigning 4A state runners-up a season ago.
Scorebook Live WA pick: Lake Stevens, 35-24.
NO. 10 SKYVIEW STORM (4-1, 1-0) AT UNION TITANS (3-2)
7 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium, Vancouver
Game nugget: Sure, Union has owned Skyview each of the last two seasons. But Skyview has the edge across the decade. The Storm have beat its 4A Greater St. Helens League foe five of the last nine matchups.
About the Storm: In each of Skyview’s four wins, the Storm have won handily. But after losing on the road at Mount Si, they face their toughest challenge to date: playing at league foe Union, winners of the last two matchups. This year, the senior-heavy Storm sport a balanced offense: running back Jalynnee McGee, who started the season still working his way back from a season-ending ankle injury last season, has had the bulk of the scoring 442 yards and 14 touchdowns on 7.4 yards per carry, per The Columbian’s stat database. And senior quarterback Yaro Duvalko, a Utah State commit, has thrown for 934 yards and seven touchdowns with a 75.6 percent completion clip. The Storm’s defense is led by hard-hitting safety Cooper Barnum and has allowed an average of around 15 points per game. But it will be tested by a Union offense that was firing on all cylinders in week five.
About the Titans: Quarterback Caleb ‘CJ’ Jordan showed the state what he was made of last week. In a week five showdown at Puyallup, which the Vikings won in a thriller 42-41, Jordan orchestrated a three-touchdown fourth quarter comeback and made an impact through the air and on his feet. It helps to have receivers such as Pac-12-caliber sophomore Tobias Merriweather, along with breakout contributors in Jake Bowen and Marcus Cantu, along with running back Isaiah Jones, who has 530 yards and eight TDs on the season. The Titans get a chance to prove itself the week after its second loss of the season.
Scorebook Live WA pick: Skyview, 28-21.
NO. 6 BETHEL BRAVES (3-2) at NO. 3 LAKES LANCERS (4-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Harry E. Lang Stadium, Lakewood
Game nugget: Braves defensive coordinator Jared Terrible, a former assistant at the University of Puget Sound, used to be a defensive volunteer at Lakes under coach Dave Miller
About the Braves: It was two years ago when the Braves shocked Lakes (21-19) on this same field. How do they do it again? A heavy dose of RB Will Latu (55 carries, 267 yards, seven TDs) on the ground would be a good starting point, especially against a defense set up not to give up the big play. Then, Bethel can work in QB Kekoa Visperas’ big-play ability – passing and running.
About the Lancers: It has been an odd first half to the season for Lakes, which has not played its starters much past halftime in any of the team’s four blowout victories – plus had a game canceled. How good are the Lancers? They just don’t beat themselves – and have QB Justin Brennan (50-70, 879 yards, 10 TDs) running the show on offense, and have a fearsome linebacking corps, led by Devon Nofoa-Masoe.
Scorebook Live WA pick: Lakes, 30-20.
NO. 4 TRI-CITIES PREP JAGUARS (5-0, 3-0) COLUMBIA-BURBANK COYOTES (5-0, 3-0)
7 p.m., Friday at Columbia Middle School, Burbank
Game nugget: Game features two unbeatens in 2B: one newcomer and another no stranger to winning. Tri-Cities Prep beat Columbia at home 30-12 last season in the Coyotes’ first year in 2B.
About the Jaguars: The Jaguars replaced a lot from its 2018 squad that made the 2B state quarterfinals — five starters on each side of the ball return, but a lot of talent and many senior leaders departed. Though the team has just 20 players suiting up on Friday, they don’t play like depth is a problem. Undefeated in 2019 thus far, the Jaguars had its closest game in week five beating 3A side Rogers of Spokane. Junior quarterback Dante Maiuri had a strong game — 40 of 60 passes completed for 462 yards and two touchdowns opposite no picks. Expect that time of offense this week, even against undefeated league opponent. TCP has averaged around 49 points per game while holding opponents to just under seven points per game.
Coach Dan Whitsett says: This group right now, the chemistry they have together is about as close to as good as I’ve ever had being here. Reminds me of the 2009 state championship. They get along great, they’re really close, absolutely no issues at all. They push each other, keep each other accountable.”
About the Coyotes: The Coyotes are one of the growing number of schools to petition to class down due to enrollment, and in their first year the team had its first winning season in six years at 8-3. The Coyotes are led by quarterback Creed Pariera, who can also catch the ball and plays linebacker. And their run game — the team’s strength — is bolstered by Abe Garcia and Jake Debord. Garcia had a massive week five performance in a win over Liberty Christian. Dounelson Mullen is a receiver/corner who has explosive speed on the edges that can present problems. Can Columbia continue its blemishless season with a win against perennial power TCP? Perhaps this year is as good an opportunity as any, and one thing is for sure: for two undefeated teams 15 minutes down the road for one another playing each other for only the second time, Columbia-Burbank’s home field will be the place to be on Friday night. Expect a packed house.
Scorebook Live WA pick: Tri-Cities Prep, 42-28.