Vote now for The News Tribune’s Football Game of the Week

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The sun sets southwest of the stadium as Yelm players gather before the start of a 3A SSC game against Timberline on Thursday, October 13, 2022 at Yelm High School in Yelm, Wash.

Pete Caster / The Newsstand

Vote now for The News Tribune’s High School Football Game of the Week.

The vote remains open until Thursday noon. Find the poll at the bottom of the list of five local matches.

Check out the South Sound’s top five games in Week 8 below, along with our predictions for the state game of the week.

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Kaden Malesis (18) of Sumner celebrates with Austin Cook after Malesis caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Kaden Bodine during the second quarter of a 4A SPSL game against Puyallup on Friday September 23, 2022 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup , Washington. Pete Caster Pete Caster / The Newsstand

4A SPSL

BETHEL BISON (4-3) VS. SUMMER SPARTANS (6-1)

7 p.m. Thursday, Sunset Chev Stadium, Sumner

Sumner won comfortably last week, beating Olympia 37-14 on the road. Since a 28-18 loss to Emerald Ridge on Sept. 16, Sumner is averaging 41 points per game in four wins over Puyallup, Graham-Kapowsin, Rogers and Olympia. Sumner’s offensive line dominated, paving the way for Matthew Spurbeck for a highly productive season in charge of football. Bethel was close to Puyallup last week, losing 17-6 and showing again that the Bison have one of the strongest defenses in the league. Thanks to wins over Bellarmine, Olympia and South Kitsap, Bethel is in good shape to claim the 4A SPSL’s sixth playoff bid.

TNT choice: Sumner 35, Bethel 14

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Emerald Ridge wide receiver Kajon Babcock (2) runs down the field with the ball during the second quarter of a game against Curtis at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Washington on September 22, 2022. Emerald Ridge defeated Curtis 42-13. Cheyenne Boon Cheyenne Boone/The News Tribune

4A SPSL

EMERALD RIDGE JAGUARS (6-1) AGAINST. GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN EAGLES (5-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Art Crate Field, Spanaway

SPSL 4A has been a little too quiet the last few weeks, the results came out as expected. Could Graham-Kapowsin ruin Emerald Ridge’s strong season and inject some mayhem into the league near the finish line? This is a match of strength on strength. Emerald Ridge junior quarterback Jake Schakel is one of the best in the state at spreading the ball, targeting Gio Kafentzis and Tony Harste most often in the passing game. The talented secondary from Graham-Kapowsin will be eager for the challenge. Graham-Kapowsin is coming off a 24-19 win over Curtis and a 28-0 win over South Kitsap last week. Emerald Ridge beat Bellarmine Prep soundly on Monday 45-16. Graham-Kapowsin has won six straight in the series. Emerald Ridge’s last win against GK was in 2014.

TNT choice: Emerald Ridge 35, Graham-Kapowsin 28

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Lincoln quarterback Gabarri Johnson breaks loose for the first of two touchdowns against the Camas Papermakers during Saturday afternoon’s 4A football game at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma, Washington on September 17, 2022. Lincoln won the game, 42-28. Tony Overmann [email protected]

PCL 3A

LAKES THROWS (6-0) VS. LINCOLN ABES (7-0)

1 p.m. Saturday, Lincoln Bowl, Tacoma

Defending 3A PCL champion Lincoln is one of three remaining teams in the South Sound — Yelm and Enumclaw are the others — unbeaten this fall. Will Abes close another league championship unbeaten this season? This Saturday afternoon, the 3A PCL shock will provide a key test. Both programs will have a shorter practice week after playing Monday night due to poor air quality in the region over the weekend which postponed their Week 7 contests. Lincoln picked up a win of 55-22 against Silas and is averaging 41 points per game, led by Missouri Gabarri Johnson’s commitment (over 2,300 total yards, 15 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing touchdowns). Lakes posted convincing wins in its first five games of the fall, but dropped its first loss of the season Monday night to Spanaway Lake. The Sentinels scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds to secure a 16-15 win. The Lancers, led by BYU clerk Leo Pulalasi, Oregon State clerk David Wells and running back Ki’Marree Washington, will look to regroup quickly this weekend. Lincoln has won the last three meetings in this series, and five of six since the first season of 3A PCL in 2016.

TNT choice: Lincoln, 30-28

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Yelm running back William Carreto drives away from the Timberline secondary for a big win during the first quarter of an SSC 3A game Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 at Yelm High School in Yelm, Washington. Pete Caster Pete Caster / The Newsstand

3A CSS

YELM TORNADOS (7-0) VS. PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (6-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Roy Anderson Field, Purdy

Timberline made it slightly interesting, but in the end it was another Yelm rout in the 3A South Sound Conference, with the Tornados pulling away for a 56-14 victory. Yelm hasn’t played in a close game this season, beating opponents 403-41 in seven games. Brayden Platt has up to 19 total touchdowns. Kyler Ronquillo leads the Tornados with seven receiving touchdowns. Peninsula is coming off four straight wins, beating North Thurston, River Ridge, Central Kitsap and Capital. This game has not been played since 2019. Last year’s contest was canceled due to covid concerns and Peninsula played as a temporary member of 4A SPSL during the covid-shortened Spring 2021 season. Peninsula won the last meeting in 2019, 31-28.

TNT choice: Yelm 49, Peninsula 28

2A SPSL

WASHINGTON PATRIOTS (4-3) VS. STEILACOOM SENTINELS (5-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Steilacoom High School, Steilacoom

Enumclaw (7-0) remains in good shape to wrap up the 2A SPSL title with two weeks remaining in the regular season, but Washington and Steilacoom enter Week 8 with just one league loss – both to the Hornets – and are looking to stay recent the momentum is building as the playoffs approach. After opening the season with three losses, Washington has won its last four, including a key 28-21 victory over Fife last week, in which quarterback Luke Elliott threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Elliott now has 1,163 total passing yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games, with Breydan Fisher (605 receiving yards, eight touchdowns) leading the Patriots in receiving. Steilacoom has won its last two and five of its last six, behind an offense that features multiple playmakers, including quarterback Drew Macdonald (1,590 passing yards, 19 TDs), point guard Jaycion Cain (897 rushing yards, rushing, 105 receiving yards, 15 total touchdowns) and leading receiver Jaydus Green (694 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns).

TNT choice: Washington, 35-31

STATE GAME OF THE WEEK

MOUNT SPOKANE WILDCATS (6-1) VS. GONZAGA PREP BULLPUPS (6-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Bullpup Stadium, Spokane

Two perennial Greater Spokane 4A/3A League powerhouses – both undefeated in the league and in games against state schools so far – meet this week with the overall league title still up for grabs. . Gonzaga Prep’s only loss so far this season was against St. John’s (Washington, DC) on a trip to the East Coast in early September. The Bullpups also outscored their first six GSL opponents, 250-72, behind a backfield that is averaging 389.7 yards per game and scoring 31 rushing touchdowns. Gonzaga Prep has five players with 300+ rushing yards in seven games. The Bullpups are looking to return to the 4A state playoffs this fall after reaching the quarterfinals last season. Mount Spokane is also looking to return to the state bracket and has six GSL wins – outscoring opponents, 238-87 – despite graduating much of the group that led the Wildcats to quarterbacks. 3A final last fall. The Wildcats’ only loss at this point was against Post Falls (Idaho) in overtime the last week of September. Gonzaga Prep has won the last two meetings in this series and eight of the last 10.

TNT choice: Gonzaga Prep, 27-24

Jon Manley covers high school sports for The News Tribune. A McClatchy President’s Award winner and a graduate of Gonzaga University, Manley has been covering the South Sound sports scene since 2013. Born and raised in Tacoma.

Profile photo of Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith is a sports reporter at the News Tribune. She covered high school sports for TNT and The Olympian, as well as the Seattle Mariners and Washington Huskies. She is a graduate of UW and Emerald Ridge High School.

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