Jordan Justice (center) and sixth-ranked Marysville Pilchuck host Snohomish in Friday night’s Wesco 3A title game. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jordan Justice (center) and sixth-ranked Marysville Pilchuck host Snohomish in Friday night’s Wesco 3A title game. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Key Week 9 games: MP, Snohomish battle for Wesco 3A crown

The Tomahawks and Panthers meet in the Wesco 3A title game, plus a look at Friday’s other key matchups.

The Marysville Pilchuck and Snohomish high school football teams opened the season with a non-league clash against each other.

They’re set to meet again, with much more at stake this time.

The sixth-ranked Tomahawks host the Panthers in the Wesco 3A title game Friday night at Quil Ceda Stadium, with the winner claiming the conference’s top overall seed for next week’s winner-to-state round.

“It’s a big game for us,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “Our kids are jacked up. They want to win a Wesco championship. And if you get that No. 1 seed, that only helps us down the road in the playoffs.”

The Tomahawks (8-0) won the teams’ Week 1 matchup, earning a 17-14 road win over Snohomish in a defensive battle that saw both teams held well below their season scoring averages.

“It’s odd,” Panthers coach Joey Hammer said of facing a team twice in one season. “It really is. It’s interesting to get that opportunity. Obviously we fell short in Week 1. It was a heck of a battle, and so (we’re) looking forward to another opportunity.”

Marysville Pilchuck rode its high-powered Slot-T rushing attack and stingy defense to the Wesco 3A North title. The unbeaten Tomahawks have outscored opponents by 27.6 points per game and have beaten seven teams by at least 19 points, the lone exception being the three-point win over Snohomish.

The Panthers (5-3) have followed a similar formula, riding a strong rushing attack and much-improved defense to their second consecutive Wesco 3A South crown. Snohomish outscored opponents by 28.4 points per game in league play.

“Beating teams once is tough, let alone trying to do it twice,” Carson said. “They’re a really good team. And it was Week 1, so it was quite some time ago. A lot of things have changed between now and then, I think for both teams.”

This is the third meeting between these teams in the past two seasons, including Marysville Pilchuck’s 63-34 non-league rout of Snohomish in last year’s season opener.

In each of the previous two matchups, the Tomahawks returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Bryan Sanders took the opening kickoff back for a TD in last year’s meeting, while Dillon Kuk did the same in this year’s Week 1 contest.

“Since Week 1, that’s something we’ve put a lot of focus into — understanding our lane assignments, breaking down and making tackles,” Hammer said.

Snohomish is playing for its second consecutive Wesco 3A title. The Panthers beat Squalicum 30-27 in last year’s Wesco 3A championship game.

“It’s absolutely exactly where you want to be,” Hammer said. “You come out at the outset of a season and it’s what you plan for. You plan to be in (this) game at the end competing for the title. We’ve grown a ton along the way and we’re jacked up for the opportunity.”

Snohomish faces sixth-ranked Marysville Pilchuck in Friday night’s Wesco 3A title game, looking to avenge its 17-14 season-opening loss to the Tomahawks. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Snohomish faces sixth-ranked Marysville Pilchuck in Friday night’s Wesco 3A title game, looking to avenge its 17-14 season-opening loss to the Tomahawks. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

SNOHOMISH at No. 6 MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK

When: 8 p.m., Friday

Where: Quil Ceda Stadium

The skinny: The Wesco 3A North and South champions square off for the Wesco 3A title in a rematch of Marysville Pilchuck’s 17-14 non-league victory over Snohomish in Week 1. The winner receives Wesco 3A’s No. 1 seed and will host the Metro League’s No. 7 seed in next week’s winner-to-state round. The loser receives Wesco 3A’s No. 2 seed and will host ninth-ranked Lakes, which clinched the Pierce County League’s No. 3 seed.

Snohomish: 5-3 overall, 5-1 Wesco 3A South; beat Meadowdale 58-14 last week

About the Panthers: Snohomish clinched its second consecutive Wesco 3A South title with last week’s rout of Meadowdale. Tyler Larson leads the Panthers’ rushing attack with 823 yards and 12 TDs, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Joshua Vandergriend has served as a nice complement, adding 561 yards rushing and eight TDs. Snohomish’s lone blemish in league play was a 36-35 last-minute loss to Shorecrest.

Marysville Pilchuck: 8-0 overall, 6-0 Wesco 3A North; beat Arlington 42-14 last week

About the Tomahawks: Dylan Carson, Jordan Justice and Jay Gray each topped 100 yards rushing last week as Marysville Pilchuck routed Arlington in the de facto Wesco 3A North title game. Carson and Justice have rushed for a combined 2,033 yards and 27 TDs, leading a high-powered Slot-T ground attack that averages 8.1 yards per carry and 339 yards rushing per game. The Tomahawks allow just 11.5 points per contest and have held seven of their eight opponents to 14 points or less.

Herald pick: Marysville Pilchuck

Glacier Peak hosts Mount Vernon in a battle for Wesco 4A’s No. 3 seed. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Glacier Peak hosts Mount Vernon in a battle for Wesco 4A’s No. 3 seed. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

MOUNT VERNON at GLACIER PEAK

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium

Webcast: STSPN.com

The skinny: Both teams enter this regular-season finale tied for third place in Wesco 4A. The winner receives the conference’s No. 3 seed and will travel to face the North Puget Sound League’s No. 2 seed — either Kentwood or Decatur — in next week’s winner-to-state round. The loser receives Wesco 4A’s No. 4 seed and will travel to face fourth-ranked Graham-Kapowsin, which clinched the South Puget Sound League title.

Mount Vernon: 5-3 overall, 4-2 Wesco 4A; beat Kamiak 54-30 last week

About the Bulldogs: Mount Vernon pulled away in the second half last week after leading winless Kamiak just 14-6 at halftime. The Bulldogs are the third-highest scoring team in Wesco 4A play at 34.2 points per game, but their defense ranks third-worst at 37.5 points allowed per game. Carlos Garcia has a team-high nine TD receptions.

Glacier Peak: 6-2 overall, 4-2 Wesco 4A; lost to Monroe 32-10 last week

About the Grizzlies: After a 5-0 start, Glacier Peak has lost two of its last three games. The Grizzlies fell to top-ranked Lake Stevens three weeks ago and couldn’t overcome an 18-0 first-quarter deficit in last week’s loss to Monroe. Despite the defensive struggles last week, Glacier Peak allows just 17.5 points per game. Dylan Owen has rushed for a team-high 803 yards and seven TDs.

Herald pick: Glacier Peak

Edmonds-Woodway travels north to face Squalicum in a Wesco 3A crossover matchup of No. 2 seeds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway travels north to face Squalicum in a Wesco 3A crossover matchup of No. 2 seeds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

EDMONDS-WOODWAY at SQUALICUM

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Civic Stadium (Bellingham)

The skinny: This is a crossover matchup of No. 2 seeds from the Wesco 3A North and South. The winner receives Wesco 3A’s No. 3 seed and will host KingCo 3A’s No. 3 seed — which is guaranteed to be a team with a losing record — in next week’s winner-to-state round. The loser receives Wesco 3A’s No. 4 seed and will travel to face South Sound Conference No. 2 seed Yelm.

Edmonds-Woodway: 5-3 overall, 5-1 Wesco 3A South; beat Everett 49-7 last week

About the Warriors: Edmonds-Woodway finished with the Wesco 3A South’s top defense, allowing just 12.3 points per game in league play. The Warriors held five of their six conference opponents to 14 points or less, with a 24-14 loss to league champion Snohomish as the only exception.

Squalicum: 6-2 overall, 4-2 Wesco 3A North; beat Oak Harbor 56-21 last week

About the Storm: Squalicum finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Wesco 3A North and received the league’s No. 2 seed by virtue of a numerical tiebreaker draw. After opening league play with losses to Arlington and Marysville Pilchuck, the Storm have rattled off five straight wins.

Herald pick: Squalicum

Eladio Fountain and Shorecrest head north to face Ferndale in a loser-out Wesco 3A crossover game. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Eladio Fountain and Shorecrest head north to face Ferndale in a loser-out Wesco 3A crossover game. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

SHORECREST at FERNDALE

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Ferndale H.S.

The skinny: This crossover matchup of No. 4 seeds from the Wesco 3A North and South is a loser-out contest. The winner advances to next week’s winner-to-state round and will travel to face top-ranked O’Dea, which clinched the Metro League’s No. 1 seed.

Shorecrest: 6-2 overall, 4-2 Wesco 3A South; beat Lynnwood 35-7 last week

About the Scots: Shorecrest beat Lynnwood in a de facto play-in game last week to claim the Wesco 3A South’s fourth and final postseason berth. The victory also gave the Scots their most wins in a season since 2005. Shorecrest allows just 15.8 points per game and has held five teams to 12 points or less.

Ferndale: 4-4 overall, 4-2 Wesco 3A North; beat Stanwood 54-19 last week

About the Golden Eagles: After back-to-back losses to Squalicum and Marysville Pilchuck, Ferndale rebounded to rout Stanwood last week. The Golden Eagles were the second-highest scoring team in Wesco 3A North play, averaging 36.5 points per game. Ferndale is headlined by two-way standout lineman and University of Washington commit Geirean Hatchett, the 31st-ranked senior offensive lineman in the nation according to 247Sports.

Herald pick: Ferndale

SOUTH WHIDBEY at KING’S

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: King’s H.S.

The skinny: Both teams enter this regular-season finale in a three-way tie with Cedar Park Christian atop the North Sound Conference standings. King’s clinches the conference title with a win. South Whidbey can claim the league title with a win and a CPC loss to last-place Sultan.

South Whidbey: 6-2 overall, 2-1 North Sound Conference; beat Granite Falls 42-14 last week

About the Falcons: After playing an independent schedule in 2017 in an effort to combat low participation numbers and rebuild a struggling program, South Whidbey has reached six wins for the second straight season. The Falcons held a late 7-6 lead over defending conference champion Cedar Park Christian three weeks ago, but the Eagles rallied for a game-winning TD in the final minute to hand South Whidbey its only league loss.

King’s: 3-5 overall, 2-1 North Sound Conference; beat Sultan 34-13 last week

About the Knights: King’s started 1-5 after facing a difficult non-league slate and falling 16-7 to Granite Falls in its conference opener. The Knights have since rebounded to win two straight, including a massive 52-6 rout of defending league champion Cedar Park Christian two weeks ago. Davis Campbell has a team-high 643 yards receiving and 10 TD catches.

Herald pick: King’s

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