Not too bad a start for the rookie.
Well, it’s still a tie since both Sam Adams and I picked the same winners, but a 5-1 start is enough to brag about in any event.
This week will get a little tougher – we’ll pick the top GSL 4A game, then give the smaller schools some love as we go off the grid a bit.
Central Valley (4-1, 2-0) vs Mead (4-2, 2-0), Friday at 5 p.m. at Albi
Nichols: The showdown at the top of the GSL 4A, with the winner staking serious claim to the league title. CV, despite its big win against Gonzaga Prep, is still outside the top 10 ranks in state, though a win this week ought to get them there. Mead handled 3A Mt. Spokane last week, but it was a close game. Mead has scored 256 points but allowed 189. Central Valley 31-28.
Adams: Coming off one of the team’s biggest wins this decade, can the Bears keep it going after that thrilling win over defending GSL champ Gonzaga Prep? A bend-but-don’t-break defense limited G-Prep to 14 points despite surrendering 16 first downs and nearly 450 yards of total offense. CV will need to limit big plays against a Mead offense that has been held to fewer than 37 points just once this season. If the Panthers can turn this into a track meet, they have a chance. But I don’t think they will. Central Valley 31-24.
East Valley (2-3, 1-0) at Clarkston (3-2, 1-1), Friday at 7
Nichols: The best – maybe only – threat to West Valley in the Great Northern League is East Valley. If the Knights want their rivalry game on Oct. 20 to mean more than the rivalry, they’ll have to still be undefeated in league when they get that and that means handling a game Clarkston team this week. East Valley 24-16.
Adams: East Valley took its lumps in nonleague play, but credit the Knights for coming on strong in their GNL opener last week against Cheney. WSU-bound Rodrick Fisher is a man-child against 2A opponents, racking up two first half touchdown catches in a 22-7 win over Cheney. If QB Christian Johnston can get him involved early and exploit those mismatches, look for EV to build an early lead like it did against Cheney. Otherwise, it will be the Bantams prevailing on their home turf. East Valley 24-21.
Freeman (5-1, 4-0) at Colville (5-1, 4-0), Friday at 7
Nichols: Yet another top of the table matchup with league title implications in the Northeast A. Colville is ranked fifth in Class 1A and has outscored its opponents 200-47, including a 42-0 romp over Medical Lake last week. Freeman sneaked past Deer Park 9-7 but has given up a paltry average of 7.2 points. Colville 22-13.
Adams: Tip to the local TV crews: Get to Colville for the first half. Freeman has managed to score just 17 second-half points in each of its last three games, choosing to score the bulk of its points before halftime. Much like a soccer team protecting a 2-0 lead, the Scotties tend to take the air out of the ball and grind out wins like last Friday’s 9-7 decision over Deer Park. But in this battle of unbeatens in Colville, I’m predicting the Indians will be the aggressor in the first half, turning this into a down-to-the-wire thriller. Colville 28-24.
Newport (4-1, 3-1) at Lakeside (4-1, 3-1), Friday at 7
Nichols: A battle of one-loss teams in the NEA. Newport’s only loss was two weeks ago against Colville and the Grizzlies pounded Riverside 35-0 last week. Newport has scored the second-most in the league (187 points) while surrendering the fewest, tied with Freeman at 43. Lakeside can set up a big game against Colville next week with a win. Newport 35-24.
Adams: While Freeman and Colville will be battling for the NEA league lead, don’t sleep on Friday’s game in Nine Mile. Newport and Lakeside have only one loss each, and they’ve come against those two teams playing for first place. Newport is looking impressive after a 35-0 win over Riverside. Newport 28-20.
Liberty (6-0) vs NW Christian (4-2), Friday at 7 at Freeman HS
Nichols: Liberty is ranked second in 2B and is the bully of the Bi-County this season, outscoring opponents 185-51. NWC can seriously muddy things up in the league with an upset, but is coming off two straight losses in league. Liberty 34-14.
Adams: Just a few weeks ago, Liberty and Northwest Christian seemed destined for a battle of unbeatens to crown the Northeast 2B champion. But the Crusaders have since stumbled to back-to-back losses, while the Lancers continue to pile up the wins. Whether it’s been James Heer (four TDs last week vs. Colfax) or Jawuan Nave (102 yards and two TDs the week before vs. LRS), Liberty continues to run wild on the competition. Friday should be no different at Freeman High School. Liberty 24-17.
Colfax (4-2) at Davenport (5-1), Friday at 7
Nichols: Davenport is the only one-loss team in the league and plays at Liberty next week. The Gorillas better not look past Colfax, who don’t score a lot but don’t let other score either. Davenport 20-7.
Adams: Davenport has to be the surprise of 2B football this year. Since a 21-7 loss to rival Reardan, the Gorillas have reeled off wins over Asotin, Wilbur-Creston, and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague. But now Davenport must run the gauntlet against the cream of the NE 2B crop: Colfax (4-2), Liberty (6-0), and Northwest Christian (4-2). If they can showcase the kind of defense that shut out the Broncos 28-0 last week, the Gorillas have a real chance at playing Liberty for a share of first place next week. Davenport 21-16.