Week 1 prep football picks

Week 1 is always the toughest to pick winners in high school footballs.

We can go out to the training camps. We can look at the rosters and see which players are back. We can look back at last year as a guideline. But until teams hit the field against live competition, it’s really difficult to get a good feel of just what teams have to offer.

Add to the fact that teams like Skyview, Heritage, Prairie, Camas, and Union are playing teams from outside Southwest Washington, so there’s that added unknown factor.

So we’ll take our best shots here. Honestly, if we do better than 6-6 in these games, we’ll be happy.

Issaquah vs. Heritage: Heritage gets a tough test in Week 1. Issaquah has reached the Final 8 at state the last two seasons, including making the state final in 2008. Heritage’s young defense will be tested out of the gate. PICK: Issaquah

Skyview vs. Sherwood, Ore.: The Sherwood Bowmen are the top-ranked team in Oregon 5A and reached the state semifinals last season. The Bowmen have 15 returning starters. Skyview advanced to the Washington 4A state semifinals and aiming to get back to state. PICK: Skyview

Fort Vancouver vs. Ridgefield: The Trappers are coming off a 2-7 season, but they bring a load of experience back. The Trappers are hoping lessons learned the hard way will pay off this season. The Spudders are in a similar situation, and they gave Fort a battle last season. PICK: Fort Vancouver

Columbia River vs. Battle Ground: The Tigers and Chieftains meet again in Week 1. The two teams have split their previous two meetings. Both teams are starting over. Battle Ground has new coach, and River has 11 new starters on offense. The Tigers started strong last year, then faded. River struggled out of the gate before finishing strong. But River’s defense should carry them until the offense catches up. PICK: Columbia River

Mountain View vs. Evergreen: Evergreen begins its second season under coach Charles Anthony. And the Plainsmen are looking to building off their sucessess from last season. Mountain View has had a back-to-back winning seasons. It’s a rivalry game, so it’s anybody’s to win. PICK: Evergreen

Washougal vs. Hudson’s Bay: Both teams are looking to make a strong start under a new head coach. Both are looking to build on what they started last year. Bay is just in a better starting position. PICK: Hudson’s Bay

Prairie vs. Lakewood: Prairie are looking to add some running attack to their passing game. Prairie have not had winning season in 13 years and would love to start on the right foot. But taking on a 3-hour road trip may not be the best way to do thatPICK: Lakewood

Hockinson vs. La Center: Hockinson is the bigger school, but La Center has more senior leadership. The Wildcats used a lot of underclassmen during last season’s playoff run, and now those players are ready to lead the way. The Hawks only have five seniors, so there will be an early learning curve. PICK: La Center

Kalama vs. Woodland: Like Hockinson, Woodland is also lean on experience. Kalama is a perennial playoff contender in Class 1A. And the Chinooks won this rivalry game in 2008 and 2009. It may be Kalama’s year again. PICK: Kalama

Tenino vs. Stevenson: Stevenson returns all-league QB Zach Castro along with 13 other seniors. The Bulldogs made a strong push for a playoff spot, and now hope to be in a better position this season. PICK: Stevenson

Camas vs. Timberline: After getting a terrible playoff draw last season, the Papermakers made an early exit. Timberline reached the state playoffs, but lost in the first round. But the Papermakers look to be even stronger this season. PICK: Camas

Union vs. Bellevue: Union had two league championship teams the past two seasons, strong enough to make deep pushes in the Class 3A state playoffs. Both times, the Titans’ runs were ended by Bellevue. Union made a strong showing against the Wolverines last season. But now Union looks to bring some new faces into the fold. Bellevue has a new team, too, but the Wolverines are still the Wolverines until someone beats them. PICK: Bellevue

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