AS WE TURN toward fall the return of prep coverage and Peninsula College soccer will soon take over our sports page.
The Pirates began training at the beginning of the month and we’ll have season previews for the North Division-defending champ men and the NWAC-defending champion women’s teams gracing our page shortly.
Also on the way when preps get rolling: season previews for our area high school football squads and capsule previews for girls soccer and volleyball.
And once we get into mid-September, cross-country in time for the Salt Creek Invitational, effectively the kickoff of the fall running season.
Rangers picked No. 2
One media outlet has faith in two North Olympic Peninsula teams ahead of the beginning of high school football practices Wednesday.
SB Live tabbed Quilcene, Class 1B runners-up in 2021, as the No. 2 team in their preseason top-10 ranking of eight-man football teams. The Rangers went 10-2 last season, ending Odessa’s state championship run before losing to Almira/Coulee-Hartline 50-20 in the state title tilt.
Here’s what they had to say about Quilcene: “[The Rangers] have big, strong, athletic pieces returning all over the lineup [Deakon Budnek, James Miller, Max Budnek, Taylor Boling] to be a serious contender. Question is — what happens at quarterback? Two potential challengers left the program, leaving exciting ninth grader Jayden Love as the odds-on favorite to be under center.”
Neah Bay, which went 5-3 and made the first round of the 1B state playoffs last season, returns it’s top running back Jodell Wimberly and experienced senior quarterback Julian Carrick. SB Live slotted the Red Devils at No. 8.
“Underclassmen occupied the top three positions in every offensive category for a first-round playoff team last fall, potentially setting them up for a big run this fall.
“RB Jodell Wimberly led a formidable rushing attack at 134.8 yards a game as a ninth grader, while now-senior QB Julian Carrick added 106 yards a game behind an always-big front line.”
Quilcene visitsNeah Bay on Oct. 21 in what should be a nonleague playoff tuneup.
Seahawks aiming low
Professionally, the Seahawks begin preseason games today at Pittsburgh with an eye on Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle in Week 1, Sept. 11.
Before that date, the team will likely pick Geno Smith to be it’s starting quarterback. Drew Lock, acquired in the Wilson trade with Denver, isn’t getting much time with the starting offensive unit in practice, despite showing flashes of ability.
Neither has enjoyed much NFL success, Smith is 13-21 as an NFL starter, mostly with the Jets and Lock was 8-13 with the Broncos. And while QB wins aren’t a definitive statistic, it’s hard to find good QB’s on bad teams and those Jets and Broncos teams certainly qualify.
So Seahawks fans are likely to experience losing in droves this fall. Maybe not a franchise-worst type of season (2-14 in 1992), but one with a lot of prolonged losing streaks.
The team effectively choosing what amounts to a one season committment to the absence of excellence in order to get the best draft positioning doesn’t hurt my feelings.
Seattle will have two first-round picks and two second-round selections next April, the additional picks also part of Wilson’s trade.
Drafting a prospective franchise QB, additional seconardy and line depth and maybe a play-making receiver as a brace against DK Metcalf potentially leaving in free agency are all possibilities.
Putting trust in a rookie Russ and one of the NFL’s most dominant defenses of all time got the team to two Super Bowls. Let’s try that strategy, again?
Mistrustful of the M’s
Seattle’s 10-10 mark in the second half (entering Friday’s late game at Texas) has included two series wins over the Yankees, keeping them in one of two AL Wild Card spots.
Luis Castillo’s performance with the team since the trade-deadline deal with the Reds has quieted critics who felt the team gave up too many prospects. Mitch Haniger also has been hitting since his recent return, and its always a net positive to add a former All-Star to the lineup. Hopefully Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis can shake off his slumping ways at Triple-A Tacoma. Lewis has struggled mightily in his return from being hit in the head with a pitch in late May.
As for the standings? We hear your request and will run the Wild Card standings down the stretch of the season and playoff chase.
Here’s what they look like through Thursday’s games:
American League Wild Card Standings
W L Pct. GB
Toronto 60 50 .545 —
Seattle 61 52.540 —
Tampa Bay 58 52.527 —
Baltimore 58 53.523 ½
Minnesota 57 53.5181
Chicago Sox 56 56.5003
Boston 55 58.487 4½
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at mcarman@ peninsuladailynews.com.