Week 3 preview of WIAA football: 3 storylines, game predictions and matchups to follow around the state of Washington

While most of the state has played at least one game, the 3A Metro League is one of several leagues starting its high school football season this week. And across the board, there are matchups galore.

Here is a quick recap of last week’s highlights, as well as week 3 storylines and games to follow:

THREE THINGS WORTH REVISITING FROM WEEK 2

North Kitsap opens season with rivalry win

Colton Bower tossed three touchdown passes to lead the Vikings past rival Sequim 28-0. Bower, a Washington State baseball commit, connected with Aiden Fitsemons for all three touchdowns as the Vikings move to 2-0 in the North Olympic League. North Kitsap was SBLive’s No. 10 preseason 2A team.

Liberty Christian’s Aiden Lesser sets new WIAA record

Aiden Lesser caught 18 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns, hitting a WIAA 8-man football record for receiving yards in a game and tied the single-game reception record. He passed Pateros’ Carlos Ceniceros, who caught for 373 yards in 2014. Lesser is the younger brother of former Liberty Christian running back John Lesser, who set a national record for career rushing yards during his high school career. Read more here. (Liberty Christian was SBLive’s No. 5 preseason 1B team).

Defending 4A state champ Camas beaten at home by rival Union

Union beat Camas on the road at Doc Harris Stadium in a Southwest Washington rivalry game that usually is saved for the end of the regular season. Due to the uncertainty of teams’ weekly game schedules during the pandemic, some teams have placed rivalries at the front of the season schedule in order to ensure the top-billed games will take place. The first of those were the 2019 and 2019 4A state champions. 

REWIND SBLIVE’S WEEK 2 COVERAGE

(4A) Sumner 46, (4A) Emerald Ridge 0

5 OBSERVATIONS, GAME HIGHLIGHTS

(2A) Ferndale 28, (2A) Lynden 19

5 OBSERVATIONS

(2A) Fife 20, (2A) White River 6

PHOTO GALLERY

(4A) Union 17, (4A) Camas 9

5 OBSERVATIONS | GAME HIGHLIGHTS

(2B) Onalaska 34, (2B) Toledo 12

4 OBSERVATIONS | PLAY OF THE GAME

(2A) Hockinson 27, (2A) Woodland 3

3 OBSERVATIONS | HIGHLIGHTS | PLAY OF THE GAME

(4A) Puyallup 44, (3A) Lakes 16

3 OBSERVATIONS | HIGHLIGHTS

(2B) Forks 49, (2B) Pe Ell/Willipa Valley 0

PLAY OF THE GAME | HIGHLIGHTS

(2A) Steilacoom 14, (2A Enumclaw 7

5 OBSERVATIONS, PHOTOS

(4A) Central Valley 28, (3A) Ferris 12

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

(4A) Gonzaga Prep 10, (3A) Mt. Spokane 7

PHOTO GALLERY | BOX SCORE | LIVE SCORING SUMMARY

TOP STORYLINES TO FOLLOW IN WEEK 3

No. 1 vs. No. 2 

The first week of Metro League play just so happens to include the game of the year. Eastside Catholic hosts O’Dea in a no-holds-barred rivalry, a rematch of the last two 3A state championships games and a potential game of the year across the state in the first week of games in Seattle. Both of the 2019 matchups were instant classics. First, O’Dea ended nationally-ranked Eastside Catholic’s 18-game win streak with a 28-6 thumping, a win head coach Monte Kohler called the biggest of his 34-year career. The Crusaders bit back when it counted, beating O’Dea 20-12 in the 3A state title. Eastside Catholic is the two-time defending 3A state champ and has won four of the last six titles. 

“I have so much respect for Monte (Kohler) and what he does, and the level of consistency he has year in and year out is a benefit for him in this case because he has a system, a culture that breeds itself,” Eastside Catholic coach Dom Daste said.

Forks a 2B buzzsaw? 

First, they took defending 2B champ Onalaska to overtime, and lost. Then, they walloped Pe Ell/Willipa Valley behind four rushing touchdowns from fullback Hayden Baker. Now? A formidable Forks team matches up against Napavine, SBLive’s preseason No. 1 2B team. There’s hardly a week off in the Central 2B.

Royal takes first swing at big-school schedule

It’s been a fascinating thought experiment that could have gone untested — how would defending 1A state champion and consensus 1A favorite Royal fare against bigger schools? After opting for a localized schedule, we’ll get an answer, as the Knights open the season against Eastmont, a 4A team that went 9-2 and reached the 4A playoffs in 2019. Royal is SBLive’s No. 30 preseason team in the state across all classifications. 

Tumwater, Prosser turns COVID scratch into blockbuster road game

When Black Hills was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols, defending 2A state champion Tumwater went into scramble mode. Similar to how Puyallup and Lakes played one another Saturday in a COVID cancelation scheduling game of musical chairs, The T-Birds have spent the week scrambling to fill a game, hoping opportunity would meet desire.

On Thursday, Prosser agreed to host the T-Birds at Art Fiker Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, setting the table for a blockbuster matchup between 2A powers in different parts of the state. Behind quarterback Kaiden Rivera and wideout Haden Hicks, the Mustangs (2-0) are off to a terrific start.

Here is the full backstory of how the game came to be.

TOP THREE WEEK 3 GAMES ON TAP

No. 1 (3A) O’Dea Fighting Irish (0-0) at (3A) No. 2 Eastside Catholic Crusaders (0-0)

7 p.m., Friday at Eastside Catholic, Sammamish

Skinny: Eastside Catholic is the two-time defending state champ — both wins over O’Dea. This year, the Fighting Irish are the favorites.

Live streaming link: NFHS Network.

SBLive Washington pick: O’Dea, 21-13

(4A) Glacier Peak Grizzlies (0-0) at (3A) Marysville Pilchuck (0-0)

7 p.m., Saturday at Quil Ceda Stadium, Marysville 

Skinny: Two top-tier Wesco teams square off against one another to open the season.

Live streaming link: TBD.

SBLive Washington pick: Marysville Pilchuck, 31-27

(4A) Eastmont Wildcats (0-0) at No. 1 (1A) Royal Knights (0-0)

7 p.m. Friday at Royal High School, Royal City

Skinny: Proven 4A winner squares off with the overwhelming 1A favorite.

Live streaming link: Royal athletics.

SBLive Washington pick: Royal, 28-21.

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