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SCAC preview: Connell prepares for Naches' spread attack

CONNELL -- After two tough victories against league rivals Royal and River View, the Connell Eagles (8-1) now face a bit of a trap game.

Connell hosts Naches Valley in a league playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday. Naches Valley finished fourth in the SCAC West.

"These boys are focused," coach Wayne Riner said. "We've had some of our best practices in the last couple of days and look sharp."

Naches Valley runs a spread offense, but Connell's defense has been stout against everyone since the loss to Cashmere on Sept. 17.

"They'll spread you out," Riner said. "They've got pretty good size with some good athletes. I think they are getting better and peaking at the right time. We have to make sure we come ready to play."

The Eagles jumped out to quick early leads against both Royal and River View, and hope to do the same Friday.

Royal: Coach Wiley Allred knows who his team plays Friday, but beyond that everything is up in the air.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association built the Class 1A brackets a bit odd this season, and if all the higher seeds win, then Royal and Connell, and Goldendale and Zillah could end up playing their league rivals in the quarterfinals.

While Allred said he doesn't care if the brackets end up changing -- which should be decided by Saturday at the latest -- he would welcome playing different opponents.

The Knights host Cle Elum at 7 p.m. Friday in a league playoff.

"They run the Wing-T and they'll test our discipline," Allred said. "They are a fast, talented team that has gotten better all year."

While Royal (6-2) will have to play good, assignment defense, the Knights are confident they will be able to move the ball offensively.

"They've been ran on and I don't know if they've completely shut anyone out," Allred said. "They've been a little suspect, so we'll see."

After a tough loss to Connell, the Knights bounced back in a big way in Week 8, roughing up Kiona-Benton 42-13.

Kiona-Benton: Coach Charlie Hobbick is confident his team will give Zillah a better game this time around.

The two teams played a nonconference game Sept. 10 and the Gorillas rolled to a 42-14 victory. Zillah again hosts this matchup at 7 p.m. Friday.

"Our yardage was about the same," Hobbick said, "but we had some issues in the red zone because we couldn't run the ball. We are running the ball better now."

Hobbick also hopes his team's passing game will help open up the rushing attack.

Kiona-Benton (3-5) quarterback Matt Mason leads the SCAC East in throwing yards. He is 99-of-190 for 1,638 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Favorite wideout Hayden Wing has 45 receptions for 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"They played single-coverage on Hayden the first time," Hobbick said. "We are hoping they will double up on him to help open the run game."