Parity has arrived in the Evergreen 1A League this season, even through many of the coaches in the league knew that before the rest of us did.
For the first half of the season, many of the league coaches were singing the praises of the league’s parity and how anyone in the league could win it. A look at the league standings with three weeks remaining in the season bears that out.
Atop the league, Rochester and Elma own 3-1 records, with Montesano, Forks and Tenino a half-game back with 2-1 marks. Rochester, Elma and Rainier each have one league bye week remaining, with the Eagles getting their bye this Friday.
“I’ve never seen our league this wide open — no one is really dominating it,” Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said last Thursday. “There isn’t a state-ranked team. We are all battling. We’re all about equal, trying to find out who we are and what we’re all about.”
“The league is wide open still,” Elma head coach Jim Hill said. “Every coach would say the same thing. It is really what group wants it the most right now.”
In the past, the Montesano-Elma game (aka the East County Civil War) has determined the league champion. Last year’s Montesano-Hoquiam game did determine the league champs, even though it came in the league’s second week.
This year, the East County Civil War, as well as the Rochester-Tenino game, could bring a champion — or a share of the league title — into the spotlight on Nov. 1.
Until then, the next two weeks will help shape the postseason dreams of five teams.
Don’t try to sell Aberdeen on a home-field advantage. Friday’s 15-8 loss to R.A. Long left the Bobcats 0-4 at Stewart Field this season, with their losses coming by a combined margin of 28 points. Aberdeen is 2-0 away from home, with road tests looming the next two weeks at Washougal and Hockinson.
The Bobcats should be significantly favored, however, in their final home appearance. They’ll host Ridgefield (currently 0-6) in their regular-season finale on Nov. 1.
While Elma has the reputation as a pass-oriented club, the Eagles actually rank as one of the Harbor’s most balanced clubs offensively.
In last Friday’s 49-12 conquest of Hoquiam, the Eagles passed for 219 yards — and ran for 276.
Todd Swinhart rushed for 124 yards on 18 carries while Steven Persell logged 70 yards on 18 carries. Swinhart also had four pass receptions for 85 yards.
Eagle quarterback Ryan Collin, who had three passes dropped in the first quarter alone, wound up 12 of 20 through the air.