It is a topsy-turvy world the Sunnyside Grizzlies are living in.
As a Big Nine team, they will play a league schedule against the other five teams -- Moses Lake, Davis, Eisenhower, Wenatchee and Eastmont.
All those teams are 4A, meaning the 3A Grizzlies will play up.
Further complicating matters: Those Big Nine games have no meaning for Sunnyside's postseason plans.
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As the only 3A team in the league, the Grizzlies will have to compete with the Mid-Columbia Conference teams to determine their playoff fate. They play four straight MCC opponents in weeks 2-5.
If Sunnyside finishes among the top two or three MCC teams -- the league finds out in September how many state berths come from the east side -- it could have a problem in Week 10. That's the week of the regional crossover games with the Greater Spokane League ... as well as the Grizzlies' scheduled league game with Wenatchee.
Speaking of the Panthers, they are everyone's pick to win the Big Nine and take the league's straight-to-state berth.
They return their top four running backs, including speedster Isaiah Brandt-Sims, as well as quarterback Dillon Sugg behind a big and talented offensive line.
The league picture may well be decided in
Week 1, when Eisenhower and talented quarterback Kolney Cassel come to town.
The Cadets figure to be the closest competitor to Wenatchee this season, mostly because of the SMU-bound Cassel (2,664 yards, 27 TDs, 9 INTs). However, most of his weapons have graduated.
If Ike gets blown out in the Apple Bowl, conventional wisdom is no other Big Nine team will come close, though Ike will get a second shot at Wenatchee in the league's round-robin format for the 4A teams.
Davis is due for a considerable drop after graduating a class that had dominated the Pirates' roster for four years. Moses Lake should be improved from last year but not quite ready to challenge the top teams.