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Crossover Football Preview: Win and You’re In

By Matt Baide / mbaide@chronline.com

Nine weeks of regular season games have come down to one week for nine of our local football teams for a spot into the 16-team state tournament field. The WIAA seeding committees meet on Sunday to determine the 16-team bracket and where each team will slot in, but each team will have to earn a win on Thursday, Friday or Saturday in order to secure a spot in the big dance.

W.F. West is the lone 2A team to host a playoff game while Onalaska, Napavine and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley will each host a playoff game. Toledo will host Raymond in Kelso on Thursday.

Here’s a look at each prep football game.

Washougal at W.F. West

The Bearcats locked up the No. 2 seed in the EvCo after defeating Aberdeen 56-28 last week in Grays Harbor county.

W.F. West finished the regular season 8-1, only losing to Tumwater at home on Oct. 18, losing senior quarterback Josiah Johnson and running back Jaiyden Camoza early in the second quarter before the Thunderbirds were able to run away with a win in the fourth quarter by scoring 21 points.

These two teams met in Week 4 in Chehalis, a 23-7 win for the Bearcats. It should be another close game again on Friday as the Panthers pounded R.A. Long 51-6 in their final game of the regular season last week in Longview.

The Bearcats will try to lean on their senior trio of skill position players in Johnson, Camoza and Leandre Gaines. Gaines filled in for Camoza at running back against the Tigers in the Swamp Cup and scored three touchdowns while collecting more than 200 yards on the ground in a 49-14 win. Johnson came back from a concussion last Friday and threw four touchdowns against the Bobcats.

The health of Camoza is still in question as he played defense in the Swamp Cup and didn’t appear to play in his usual starting running back role against the Bobcats.

Centralia at Hockinson, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Tigers punched their ticket to the crossover round on Tuesday after defeating Black Hills before Aberdeen handed the Wolves’ their second loss of the night to end their season.

Centralia’s reward? Hockinson, one of the top teams in 2A. The Hawks are the two-time defending state champions and are 8-1 this season, the only loss coming against Archbishop Murphy 27-21 in Week 2.

Rainier at Pe Ell-Willapa Valley

The Titans will host the Mountaineers on Friday in one of the more intriguing games in the SWW 2B crossover round.

Pe Ell-Willapa Valley is coming off their third straight Coastal Division title after going 5-0 in divisional games, outscoring opponents 241-15 in those games. PWV has won three straight going into the crossover round and has won in the crossover round in each of the last two seasons.

It was a tough week for Rainier in the final week of the regular season, as Napavine rolled into town and left with a 51-6 victory. The Mountaineers play in arguably the toughest division in the state, losing to Onalaska, Adna and Napavine to finish 1-3 in the Mountain Division to take fourth.

The Titans are banged up coming into this game, having lost some key players to injury including quarterback Logan Walker and running back Peter Hamilton. Returning all-state running back Max Smith has been playing through a broken thumb with a club-hand cast on his right arm.

Rainier’s Mikey Green has come into his own in his first season as the signal caller. He has a plethora of weapons at his disposal including running backs Brody Klein and Riffe Holmes.

Rainier and PWV each defeated Raymond during the regular season and lost to Adna and Onalaska.

Wahkiakum at Onalaska

The Loggers have had a week off after winning the Mountain Division title two weeks ago and are rested and ready to host the Mules in the crossover round.

This game is a rematch of a Week 3 game in Onalaska, a 58-6 Loggers’ victory. Wahkiakum comes into this contest off of a 53-7 loss to Winlock in Cathlamet. The Mules have lost three in a row coming into this game, falling to Toledo 37-0 on the road in Week 7 before hosting Kalama in a 54-10 loss in Week 8.

Adna at Ocosta

The Pirates are the No. 3 seed out of the SWW 2B Mountain Division and will travel to Westport to take on the Wildcats.

Adna finished the season 6-3, with their only losses coming against the top three teams in the state in Onalaska, Napavine and Kalama. Adna played the closest game against the undefeated Loggers in Week 8, a 22-14 loss at home. The Pirates defeated Morton-White Pass 69-0 last Friday.

Ocosta is 8-1 overall this season. The only loss came against Pe Ell-Willapa Valley in Week 8, 42-7, in Menlo. Outside of that, the Wildcats were perfect, outscoring opponents 324-56 in eight wins. The two teams common opponent is the Titans, a team the Pirates defeated 33-6 in Menlo in the opening week of the season.

Raymond at Toledo, Thursday

Toledo will try to lock up another berth into the state tournament when they travel south to host Raymond in Kelso on Thursday.

The Seagulls have won two in a row coming into the crossover round, including a 24-8 win in Week 8 against Ilwaco and a 21-7 win against Vashon Island last Friday in Raymond.

Toledo finished second in the SWW 2B River Division and has won three in a row heading into Thursday. The Indians shutout the Mules, 37-0, in Week 7 before earning a 32-13 victory in the Battle of the Cowlitz in Week 8 in Winlock. Toledo won 52-20 against Mossyrock last Friday in Toledo.

The two teams have faced two common opponents, with Toledo defeating Morton-White Pass 41-6 in Morton in the first game of the season and squeaked out a 15-14 win against Rainier at home in Week 2. Raymond lost to Rainier 38-14 in the opening week and fell to MWP 14-8 in Raymond in Week 2.

Winlock at Napavine

The No. 2 ranked Tigers are the two seed out of the SWW 2B Mountain Division and will host the No. 3 team out of the River Division, the Winlock Cardinals.

Napavine has rolled through this season other than a lone loss to the Loggers, 36-13, in Week 7 in Onalaska. Other than that one game against the Loggers, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 315-71.

Winlock will have a tough task to pull off the upset, but the Cardinals come into this game after a 53-7 win against Wahkiakum in Cathlamet. Winlock was 6-3 overall in the regular season and has rode the arm and legs of quarterback Bryce Cline to get into the crossover round.

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