Defining high school football teams is a tricky proposition, mostly because high school teams are more than just one player behind their success.
However, when you look into a team and what makes them tick, one player usually stands out as the difference maker. On offense, it is more pronounced and this is what we’ll take a look at this time. In other words, if you face this team in a game, who do you have to game plan for as a defense?
We’ll start from the biggest to the smallest teams, thus we’ll look at Aberdeen first.
The Bobcats have several offensive weapons at their disposal and their offense has gained a fair amount of yards against their opponents. Based off last week’s performance against Mark Morris, junior Austin Floch would be R.A. Long’s worry this week. Floch ran up 154 yards on 23 carries against the Monarchs.
Also, Floch is just one of several key offensive players, which makes him pivotal for Aberdeen.
Another pivotal player, this time at Hoquiam, is senior Devin Kelly. The speedster is nearly back to 100 percent health and his versatility is needed for the Grizzlies, who could have used him in losses to Montesano and Rochester.
At Montesano, junior running back Anthony Louthan has picked up the rushing attack for the reigning state 1A champions. When Louthan, along with Jacob Sampair, is rolling, the Bulldogs are nearly unstoppable.
Over in Elma, the aerial attack of the Eagles is traditional, but senior running back Todd Swinhart has been the go-to player for touchdowns — 11 touchdowns overall in the past three games.
Last week’s Raymond-North Beach game was a matchup of two powerhouse Pacific 2B League teams. The Gulls have been led by junior running back Alex Sida, whose toughness overshadows his size (5-foot-9). The Hyaks’ Saul Gonzalez, a sophomore, is a speedy running back/receiver who can change a game quickly.
At the Ocosta-South Bend game, there are players who stand out, even if the season hasn’t gone to form. The Wildcats’ Brian Hart was the team’s leading rushing in their two wins this season. The Tribe’s Mitch Edwards is a tough runner who is hard to bring down.
Willapa Valley sophomore running back Seth Flemetis will be a threat for the Vikings this season and in future years, allowing the boys from Menlo to reload.
In the eight-man ranks, one player can really make a difference. For Wishkah, Lake Quinault and Taholah, those players are: Keigan Gardiner, Kobe Kalama and Keanu Curleybear, respectively.
Record: After a tough 4-4 weekend, I stand at 28-15, a .651 batting average that isn’t that bad, until you learn that Uncle Ray Ryan holds a .800 Mendoza line for high school picks.
An email from a South Sound Football Officials Association member clarified the rule that was implemented during last week’s Aberdeen-Mark Morris game. The result of the play and rule was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The official noted that the rule cited in Tuesday’s Prep Notebook — Rule 9-8-1k and 9-8-3 — was not correct.
“The rule you needed to look at during research is Rule 9-4 Article 8 which states — ‘Unintentional contact between a non-player and a game official in the restricted area while the ball is alive.’ The penalty in Article 8 for the first offense, 15 yards from the succeeding spot. For the second offense, 15 yards from the succeeding spot and disqualification of the head coach. Disqualification also if any foul is flagrant.”
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Rochester Warriors (3-0, 4-1) vs. Montesano Bulldogs (1-1, 2-3) at Stewart Field — An inadvertent whistle notwithstanding, a few turnovers and mistakes made life tough for Monte at Forks last Friday. The Warriors surprised everyone against Elma, but have beaten three lower-tier teams prior. Bulldogs 27, Warriors 21.
R.A. Long Lumberjacks (1-0, 5-0) at Aberdeen Bobcats (0-1, 2-3) — The state-ranked Jacks have done what they’ve needed to do against a schedule that isn’t as powerful as you’d imagine (combined 11-14 record). The Bobcats have outgained most of their opponents, but points and breaks haven’t gone their way. Aberdeen needs a win here to keep entertaining league-title thoughts. Bobcats 34, Lumberjacks 28.
Elma Eagles (2-1, 2-3) at Hoquiam Grizzlies (0-2, 1-4) — Most of the categories point to Elma in this one, except for turnovers. Hoquiam has been very frugal in giveaways, while Elma has lost games on turnovers. Watch out for that here. Eagles 35, Grizzlies 34.
South Bend Indians (0-1, 0-4) at Raymond Seagulls (2-0, 4-1) — Raymond is coming off a big win over North Beach and will host a struggling South Bend squad. Gulls 35, Indians 6.
Willapa Valley Vikings (2-0, 3-2) at North Beach Hyaks (1-1, 4-1) — This is the toughest game to call. Both are coming off tough losses. A Valley win sets up a gigantic Valley-Raymond game on Halloween. A North Beach win keeps it in the hunt for the league title. Tough. Vikings 21, Hyaks 20.
Wishkah Loggers (3-2) at Lake Quinault Elks (1-2) — Wishkah traveled down to Vancouver, took on a Class 1A school playing eight-man football and scored 70 points in an overtime loss. That had to be the last thing Lake Quinault wanted to read. Loggers 62, Elks 24.
Taholah Chitwhins (1-1) at Evergreen Lutheran Eagles (2-2) — A two-week break for the Chitwhins could give them practice time to get everyone involved. They’ll put that into good use here. Chitwhins 54, Eagles 24.