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Hermiston and Hanford highlight Week 8’s slate of football games

Here’s a look at Friday’s high school football games:

Hermiston (4-2 MCC, 5-2 overall) at Hanford (5-1, 6-1), Fran Rish Stadium, 7 p.m.

This is a huge matchup, featuring the MCC’s top two offensive units (Falcons No. 1, Bulldogs No. 2).

The visiting Bulldogs have been led all season by offensive stars Andrew James and Wyatt Noland.

James, the quarterback, is ranked third in the MCC in total offense with 1,393 yards (925 passing, 468 rushing). Noland is the league’s leading rusher with 1,227, averages 7.9 yards a carry, and has scored an astounding 18 touchdowns this season.

The Falcons defense, though, is pretty good, ranked second in the MCC. Hanford must find a way to stop those two.

Hermiston’s defensive unit has to figure out a way to contain Hanford QB Garrett Horner, the conference’s leading passer with a 165 pass efficiency rating. He’s thrown for 1,701 yards, and he has tossed 18 TD passes compared to just two interception. What’s more, Horner on any night will complete passes to eight or nine receivers.

Now, throw in senior RB Jared DeVine, who has come back from a severely sprained ankle and has 537 yards rushing. During his absence, junior Dylan McElderry has performed admirably with 262 yards rushing this season.

McElderry has also scored 10 touchdowns. DeVine has nine.

Richland (4-2 MCC, 5-2 overall) at Kennewick (4-2, 5-2), Lampson Stadium, 7 p.m.

Two teams with identical story lines: begin the season in an 0-2 hole, then reel off five straight wins. Something has to give tonight.

Richland’s defense must find a way to stop Kennewick’s creative offensive unit. Lions coach Bill Templeton has no qualms of using the fly sweep, or any trick play in the book. Freshman running back Myles Mayovsky has not played like the first-year player he is on varsity for the Lions, rushing for 557 yards. Talon LaFontaine averages 18.1 yards a catch for Kennewick.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions must figure out a way to stop the three-headed monster of Josh Fonner, Dhaunye Guice and Cody Sanderson.

QB Fonner has 11 TD passes against zero interceptions so far. He was masterful at running the Bombers’ attack last week against Kamiakin, coming up with drives of 6 minutes and 5:03 in the second half. Guice is the No. 2 rusher in the MCC with 821 yards, has great moves outside, and is fast. Sanderson is a dual threat. He can catch the ball at receiver, and uses his 200-pound body on running plays when Richland needs a few key yards.

Wenatchee (4-0 Big Nine, 5-2 overall) at Sunnyside (2-1, 4-3), 7 p.m.

Sunnyside lost 34-27 last week to Eastmont, its first Big Nine loss of the season. With just one state berth available in the conference, the Grizzlies have their backs to the wall.

They must win out, which means beating Wenatchee, then Davis and Moses Lake. At the same, they’ll need help. They’ll need Eastmont to lose not once, but twice.

Right now, though, Sunnyside needs to care of business. Mainly, that’s QB Derrick Escamilla throwing to Mike Rivera, and trying to beat a Wenatchee defense that has posted four shutouts this season.

Wenatchee will counter with RB Nathan Blauman, who has rushed for 791 yards and scored 14 TDs.

Prosser (3-0 CWAC South, 5-2 overall) at Wapato (0-3, 1-6), 7 p.m.

The visiting Mustangs clinched the CWAC South title last Friday with their 34-0 win over Toppenish. This game will finish out the regular season for them.

Prosser is waiting to see who it plays out of the North in the CWAC championship game – Othello, Ellensburg or Ephrata. If those three teams finish tied for first after Friday’s games, there will be a mini-tiebreaker next week.

That CWAC title game is set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at Lions Field in Moses Lake. The winner automatically qualifies for the 2A state playoffs.

DeSales (3-2 EWAC, 3-4 overall) at Tri-Cities Prep (5-0, 7-0), Chiawana High School, 7 p.m.

The Holy Bowl. It’s always a big game between these two private Catholic schools.

Prep coach Dan Whitsett’s team is locked in at No. 1 for the Eastern Washington Athletic Conference standings, and a home contest in the regional round of the playoffs in two weeks.

The Jaguars have four players who have 150 yards or more rushing this season. But the best number might be plus-11. That’s the Jags’ turnover margin, and a reason why they are undefeated.

Kobe Singleton has seven interceptions so far. The defense also averages 3 sacks a game.

State playoffs

Talked to Ryland Spencer this week. He’s seen more high school football games this season than anyone, and he’s on a number of committees charged with ranking state teams as the WIAA begins seeding the state playoffs.

Here’s how it will work: After all regional playoffs around the state are completed by Nov. 3, we’ll know the 16 teams qualified for state in each classification.

Then the committees – comprised of people who have watched games either in person or on film – will meet in Renton at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, and rank them from 1 to 16. Then No. 16 plays No. 1, No. 15 plays No. 2, and so on, in the first round of the state playoffs.

Committee members were determined before the season began when the WIAA put out a call last summer for volunteers.

Other games

All times 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted

College Place at Cashmere, 6 p.m.: Battling for a regional 1A berth, visiting Hawks step out on SCAC play.

Columbia-Burbank at Dayton-Waitsburg: Visiting Coyotes settling into No. 2 spot in EWAC; Hosts need a win to get into regionals.

Kiona-Benton at Connell: Visiting Bears trying to take host Eagles’ hold on SCAC East second place.

Kittitas/Thorp at Mabton: Host Vikings trying to give visitors their fourth consecutive loss in this EWAC game.

Othello at Pullman: Huskies heading into ESPN College GameDay town for non-leaguer, waiting for CWAC North standings to sort itself out.

River View at Royal: Visiting Panthers heading into the heart of the lion’s den, against unbeaten SCAC East champs.

Selah at Grandview: Out of the playoff picture, Vikings and Greyhounds playing for CWAC South pride.

Southridge at Moses Lake, Lions Field: Visiting Suns hoping a non-league road trip will give them a fresh outlook.

Wahluke at Warden: Host Cougars, tied for third in the SCAC East, trying to hang on to a playoff spot.

Walla Walla at Pasco, Edgar Brown Stadium: MCC battle between 7th-8th place teams; two evenly matched squads.

White Swan at Liberty Christian, Hanford High School: Winless Cougars visit Patriots in EWAC play; LC trying to move into second place.

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