EVERETT — A season ago, the Jackson football team opened its Wesco 4A South season with victories over Edmonds-Woodway, Kamiak and Mariner — a run that all but locked up the league championship.
This season the Edmonds-Woodway has a chance to complete a similar string of victories after beating Jackson and Cascade. Standing in the way of a third consecutive victory is Kamiak, the only other remaining unbeaten team in the league.
The winner of tonight’s game won’t lock up the league championship, but would be in the driver’s seat to do so.
“We’re approaching it like any other game,” Kamiak head coach Dan Mack said. “Obviously it’s a conference game and it has ramifications to the conference title. Whoever wins this game has the inside track. The kids know that and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Knights are coming off an impressive 35-20 victory over Jackson in which senior running back Austin Hall rushed for 239 yards.
Kamiak has entered the season with high expectations the past three seasons, but have ended up on the outside of the playoffs looking in each time. The Knights have put themselves in a position to erase that frustration in 2013.
“Last year we had a rash of injuries and actually the year before too,” Mack said. “In high-school football sometimes you make your own breaks and sometimes you catch a few breaks and I think we’ve had some of both.”
As a whole, the Knights have stayed healthy in the early going, though Hall did miss back-to-back games with injury. Going into tonight’s game, Mack admits the injuries have caught up to his team once again.
“We had been staying healthy for our first few games, but we’re not healthy right now,” he said.
Mack declined to say what players would miss time.
Last year, the Warriors used a touchdown late in the first half to propel them to a 28-16 victory over the Knights and Mack expects another hard fought battle tonight.
“It’s going to be great game against Edmonds-Woodway,” he said. “It’s going to come down to blocking, tackling and turnovers and special teams. It all starts in the trenches at the line of scrimmage.”
The Warriors and Knights feature similar styles, the game will likely come down to which team can impose its will the most.
“Both teams like to run the ball,” Mack said. “Both teams do a pretty good job throwing it when they want to. We are similar in many ways. I think they are very well-coached and what they do they do real well. It really comes down to blocking and tackling.”
While the Knights can start thinking league championship with a win, with tough games against Cascade and Mariner still on the schedule, a loss puts pressure on the Knights to win those games just to qualify for the postseason.
“I don’t really ever project in terms of the ramifications if we lose,” Mack said. “We don’t think that way. We are planning on winning and we are planning on competing. This is how it works at Kamiak, we compete as well as we can and at the end of the game the scoreboard takes care of itself. It’s as simple as that.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-W vs. Kamiak
Where: Goddard Stadium
When: 7 p.m.
Key players: Kamiak—Tyler Becker, QB; Nick Taglialavore, WR/DB; Tyler Webley, RB/DB; Henderson Belk, TE/DL; Riley Briggs-Thomas, OL/DL. Edmonds-Woodway—Davis Giles, QB; Junior Opoku-Mensah, RB; Mac McLachlan, RB/LB; Scott Myricks, WR/DB; Zach Willis, OL/LB; Theo Lebesis, TE/DL.
Arlington vs. Lake Stevens
Where: LSHS Football Field
When: 7 p.m.
Breakdown: This game has been played on the natural grass of John C. Larson Stadium the past two years and both times the Vikings came into Arlington and took home victories. This year the game switches back to Lake Stevens and the Eagles are hoping they can sneak out a road win to improve to 3-0 in Wesco 4A North play. An Arlington win would give the Eagles a strong grip on a 4A North title, but if Lake Stevens can defend its home turf they can throw a monkey wrench in the 4A North playoff picture. A Vikings’ win would tie them with Arlington 2-1 atop the 4A North with Mount Vernon — who plays a nonleague game against Oak Harbor tonight — just behind at 1-1.
Mariner vs. Jackson
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
When: 7 p.m.
Breakdown: This is a make-or-break game for the Timberwolves: Win this one or they can forget the playoffs. Mariner, meanwhile, is coming off of its first win of the season and is looking to go 2-1 in league play and keep its own playoff hopes alive. During halftime of this game, Jackson will retire the jersey of former star running back Johnny Kirton, who died tragically in May, 2012.
Radio: KRKO, 1380 AM
Snohomish vs. Monroe
Where: Bearcat Stadium
When: 7 p.m.
Breakdown: It’s been a rude welcome to Wesco for first-year Snohomish head coach Kai Smalley, who has his Panthers off to an 0-5 start, including last week’s shutout loss to Arlington in their Wesco 4A North opener. Things aren’t much better at defending 4A North champ Monroe. The Bearcats are off to a 1-4 start and their four losses have been by a combined score of 145-72. Last week Monroe could only manage 55 yards of total offense in a shutout loss to Woodinville. This game is Monroe’s homecoming and the Bearcats could use all the positive energy they could get.
Bothell vs. Glacier Peak
Where: Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium
When: 7 p.m.
Breakdown: Last year turnovers and quick strikes by the Cougars’ offense doomed Glacier Peak as the Grizzlies dropped a 41-14 decision to 4A Bothell at Pop Keeney. This time around the Grizzlies get Bothell at home and hope that better care of the football means a big win over a 4A powerhouse and a statement victory for this year’s Grizzlies squad.