Week 4 of the high school football season in the Mid-Columbia region features some key Mid-Columbia Conference games, the opening of Big Nine Conference season and the CWAC North and South Divisions, and a really big non-league contest.
Here’s a look at the top three games of the weekend, followed by all other games:
1. Chiawana (3-0) at Union (2-1), 4:30 p.m., Friday, McKenzie Stadium, Vancouver. The Riverhawks take on the defending 4A state champion – although it lost 16 starters from last year’s title team.
Union, which beat Chiawana 43-18 last year at Edgar Brown Stadium, lost last week 31-8 to Eastlake. That loss snapped the Titans’ 16-game win streak.
The Titans are led by QB Caleb Jordan and RB Isaiah Jones.
The Riverhawks have the MCC’s top defensive unit, and have surrendered just 20 points total in three games.
While Chiawana has a top-notch passing game with QB JP Zamora and receivers such as Dion Lee, Cameron Breier and Kobe Young, RB Gabe Schilz has started to become a bigger part of the offense.
He scored four TDs last week at Walla Walla, and helps the Riverhawks maintain ball control and chew up the clock.
Although this is a non-league game, this is why this game is so important: Say Chiawana finishes atop the MCC standings and advances through regionals to play a first-round state game. The state seeding committee will remember how they fared in this contest when it comes to ranking the final 16 teams.
2. Kamiakin (2-0 MCC, 3-0 overall) at Kennewick (2-1, 2-1), 7 p.m., Friday, Lampson Stadium. The visiting Braves have the MCC’s top offense, averaging 516 yards per game.
They also have the No. 2 defense. So they’re playing well.
Kennewick, which has the No. 3 defense in the MCC, must figure out how to stop a lot of weapons.
Tuna Altahir is the top rusher in the MCC with 528 yards.
Henry Mercado is the top quarterback in the MCC, with 806 yards passing, 11 TD passes against three interceptions, and an impressive 182.1 QB rating.
His top weapons have been Kelen Rutz (14 catches, 359 yards) and Woodley Downard (16-299).
The Braves defensively will concentrate on stopping Lions RB Myles Mayovsky, who is fifth in the MCC with 225 rushing yards.
3. Richland (1-1 MCC, 2-1 overall) at Pasco (2-0, 2-1), 7 p.m., Friday, Edgar Brown Stadium. This will be a big test for the host Bulldogs, who haven’t started out 2-0 in league play since before Chiawana started playing.
Bulldogs QB Armani Reyes (716 yards passing) is the No. 3 passer in the MCC, while WR Des Licon (21 catches for 434 yards) is the No. 2-ranked receiver.
Meanwhile, the Bombers have been hot these past two weeks, and their offense is the third-best in the MCC.
Richland QB Harrison Westover is the No. 2 passer in MCC play with 766 yards. His top target is Ben Fewel, the MCC’s top receiver with 36 catches for 511 yards and five TDs.
All kickoffs are 7 p.m. Friday unless otherwise noted
College Place (0-1 SCAC East, 2-1 overall) at Kiona-Benton (1-0, 2-1). Host Bears hoping to follow up last week’s 34-20 win over River View with another victory over an SCAC East opponent.
Dayton/Waitsburg (0-1 EWAC, 0-3 overall) at Liberty Christian (0-1, 0-3), Hanford High. An EWAC battle between two teams off to a struggling start.
DeSales (3-0) at Pilot Rock (2-0). The visiting Irish have adjusted to the B-8 game terrifically. Now they step out of Southeast 1B play for this non-leaguer.
Grandview (0-3) at East Valley-Yakima (1-2). Two struggling teams open CWAC South play.
Lind/Ritzville/Sprague/Washtucna/Kahlotus (1-2) at Columbia-Burbank (3-0). Host Coyotes, led by RB Abe Garcia, step out of EWAC play to take on the five-town conglomerate.
Mabton (0-1 EWAC, 2-1 overall) at Tri-Cities Prep (2-0, 3-0), Chiawana High School. Host Jaguars’ are led by QB Dante Maiuri, who has been tearing up opposing defenses with his passing.
Okanogan (2-1) at Royal (3-0). Host Knights, the top-ranked 1A team in the state, step out of SCAC East play to take on a tough Caribou Trail team.
Othello (1-2) at Quincy (2-1). The CWAC North opener for both teams. Will visiting Huskies’ tough non-league schedule have them prepared? Are host Jackrabbits as good as their record indicates?
Selah (1-2) at Prosser (1-2), Fiker Stadium. Visiting Vikings have to figure out how to stop Mustangs QB Kaiden Rivera, who is 69 for 111 with 590 yards passing so far. Eleven different Prosser receivers have caught at least one pass.
Southridge (0-3 MCC, 0-3 overall) at Hanford (1-2, 1-2), Fran Rish Stadium. The visiting Suns must figure out how to stop the Falcons’ 1-2 punch – RB Dylan McElderry (320 yards rushing) and QB Easton Wise-Hyde (684 yards passing).
Wahluke (0-1 SCAC East, 2-1 overall) at Connell (1-0, 1-2). Visiting Warriors must find a way to stop Eagles standout RB Jekoby Tuttle, who dominated last week against College Place.
Walla Walla (1-2 MCC, 1-2 overall) at Hermiston (0-3, 0-3). Visiting Blue Devils bring sophomore RB Jakob Humphrey (249 yards rushing). Bulldogs counter with WR Garrett Walchli (16 catches-247 yards receiving).
Warden (0-0 SCAC East, 2-1 overall) at River View (0-1, 2-1). This is a key SCAC East contest. Host Panthers must figure out a way to stop Cougars QB Ryan Arredondo.
West Valley-Yakima (1-2) at Sunnyside (2-1). The visiting Rams’ Isaac Madrigal is the top Big Nine passer, and teammate Jack VandeBrake is the top receiver. The Grizzlies’ scrappy defense must contain them.
• Dan Colby, a longtime teacher and coach (40 years) in the North Franklin School District, will be honored Saturday in Connell. The Connell High School Cross Country Course will be dedicated with a name change: the Dan Colby Cross Country Course.
• Kamiakin’s boys cross country team dominated in the first MCC meet of the season, this one on Wednesday in Walla Walla. The Braves had five of the first seven runners cross the finish line of the 3.1-mile course. Senior Stanford Smith led Kamiakin, winning the race in 16 minutes, 0.4 seconds. Teammate Isaac Teeples was second in 16:04.90. Walla Walla’s Cooper Cortinas helped the Blue Devils place second as a team (71 points) by finishing third in a time of 16:21.07. Hanford finished third as a team. On the girls’ side, Wa-Hi’s Ella Nelson finished first in 19:13.57, followed by Kennewick’s Geraldin Correa at 19:16.33, and Richland’s Natalie Ruzaukas in third at 19:48.34. Ruzaukas helped the Bombers take the team title at 62 points, followed by Hanford at 76, and Kennewick at 77.
• The WIAA athletes of the week for Week 3 were announced Wednesday, and Chiawana football’s Gabe Schilz and Hermiston volleyball’s Halee Stubbs were on this week’s list. Sunnyside football’s Mike Rivera made the Week 2 list.