Author Archives: Brandon Sparks

PHOTO GALLERY: Saints Take #4 Falcons to the Wire

Matt Merchant’s penalty kick goal in the sixth minute proved to be the game winner as #4 Seattle Pacific survived a barrage in the final ten minutes of play to hold off a game Saint Martin’s squad, 1-0.

Kyle Witzel had an opportunity in the 85th minute to draw the Saints level and worked hard to get himself two shots, the second of which just barely missed, banging off the crossbar and rebounding across the front of the goal. Max Harvey had another shot in the 87th minute but the Saints were not able to finish and dropped their GNAC opener and fell to 1-3-1 overall.

Nick Rosato made four saves in goal for the Saints, who were outshot 16-11. Cody Lang made five saves in the shutout for the Falcons, who improved to 5-0.

Friday Scoreboard: Ruiz Leads Climbers to Win, Blazers Top Tornadoes; Spurr Scores Golden Goal

High School Football
Shelton 26, Foss 6

Willy Ruiz rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Shelton Highclimbers to 26 first half points in a 26-6 win over Foss to open 3A Narrows League play.

The Highclimbers and Ruiz capitalized on two Foss turnovers to open the game. After a 23 yard run by Sidaris Fletcher on fourth down, Skylar Ross picked off an Orlando Stumvoll pass on the next play. Shelton then put together a 12 play drive that ended with a four yard dive by Ruiz to give them a 6-0 lead.

On the next drive, Fletcher again converted a fourth down with a 12 yard run, but the Climbers recovered a fumble by Stumvoll on the next play. Ruiz broke a 23 yard run on first down and punched it in from 13 yards out one play later to give Shelton a quick 12-0 lead.

Junior quarterback Tyler Giraldes gave the Climbers a 19-0 lead with a three yard keeper capping off a 13 play drive that saw Ruiz rush for 65 yards. Foss tried to answer back right away but Gabe Reyna put himself in perfect position to pick off a Stumvoll long bomb. Shelton did the Falcons one better and Giraldes aired it out to Kyle Kimball for a 60 yard touchdown on the next play that put the Climbers up 26-0.

Foss finally got on the board in the third quarter – their first points in any quarter other than the fourth this season – when Stumvoll hit AJ McGee for a 35 yard touchdown. But Shelton picked off two more passes in the fourth quarter to cement the victory.

Giraldes went 6-for-12 with 120 yards passing while Colton Paller provided a nice counter to Ruiz and racked up 92 yards on the ground. Sidaris Fletcher ran for 118 yards and Stumvoll completed seven passes for 140 yards for Foss.

In other action…
Black Hills 21, North Kitsap 6
North Thurston 14, Wilson 13
Olympia 48, South Kitsap 7
River Ridge 26, Franklin Pierce 19
Timberline 35, Yelm 21
Tumwater 49, La Center 6
Lincoln 71, Capital 46
Raymond 27, Rainier 13
Elma 26, Rochester 14
Hoquiam 20, Tenino 13

Men’s Soccer

Evergreen 1, Eastern Oregon 0 – Box Score

Willie Spurr scored the golden goal six minutes into the overtime period to give Evergreen a 1-0 win in their Cascade Conference opener at Eastern Oregon. Angel Guerra made five saves in net and the Geoducks moved to 4-0 this season. They will face Warner Pacific at 10:00 in Portland on Saturday night.

Women’s Soccer

Eastern Oregon 5, Evergreen 0 – Box Score

College Volleyball

College of Idaho 3, Evergreen 0 (25-17, 25-20, 26-24) – Box Score

Week Three: My Girls’ Expert High School Football Picks


Not the best of weeks for my seven and four year-old daughters last week with their expert football picks. Addie (7) went 4-4 while Rory (4) went 3-5. That moves Addie to 11-7 and Rory to 9-9 on the season.

But this week I think they really have it dialed in and their reasoning is epic and spot on, if you ask me.

Here is the full schedule with some of the broadcast links:


Black Hills Wolves vs. North Kitsap Vikings
Tumwater Stadium – 7:00 PM

Addie: Wolves – “I don’t think that the Vikings had, when Vikings were around, established good metal so I’m thinking the Wolves would run up behind them and bite their butts and that would be so ouchy that they would just go have to find a Band-Aid.
Rory: Wolves – “The can chew up the armor. They can karate kick and jump on their heads.”

Capital Cougars @ Lincoln Abes

Lincoln Bowl, Tacoma – 7:00 PM

Rory: Cougars – “They can go and jump on their heads, bite their butt and then they would run away to find an ice pack.”
Addie: Abes – “They could get a gun that shoots really hard jelly balls and cheese balls and then fire it everywhere” (editors note: ???)

North Thurston Rams @ Wilson Rams

Stadium Bowl, Tacoma – 7:00 PM

Addie: NT Rams – “They would be the only ones with the idea to take their horns and make them go sideways and catch the other Ram’s head and pick up the Rams and bring them to a metal place and then run back.”
Rory: NT Rams – “I would say the same thing.”

Olympia Bears vs. South Kitsap Wolves

Ingersoll Stadium – 7:00 PM

Rory: Bears – “The Bears can, like, jump and then throw and then put their paws on top of the Wolves and then smash them.”
Addie: Bears – “They could get in the cave and when one of the Wolves came by looking for one to attack the Bear would grab the wolf into and pull it into the cave and eat them.”

Rainier Mountaineers vs. Raymond Seagulls

Raymond High School – 7:00 PM

Addie: Seagulls – “They can fly and if they have a fish in their mouth they can drop a ton of fish on the Mountaineers and the Moutaineers would be so grossed out they’d have to go take a really long shower.”
Rory: Seagulls – “I’ll say the same.”

River Ridge Hawks vs. Franklin Pierce Cardinals

South Sound Stadium – 7:00 PM

Addie: Cardinals – “They can fly as fast as they can and when the Hawks are flying after them they can go straight toward a tree and then go up at the last second and the Hawks will be so surprised they will run right into the tree.”
Rory: Cardinals – “I’ll say the same thing. Yeah, the same thing.”

Rochester Warriors vs. Elma Eagles

Rochester High School – 7:00 PM

Addie: Eagles – “The Eagles can fly down, grab the pants, pull them down and their underwear will be showing and when they get back home to the castle, the queen or whoever they work for will say ‘OHHHH, I’M SO GROSSED OUT…YOU AREN’T WEARING ANY PANTS’ and then they will be so embarrassed that they lock themselves in their room.”
Rory: Eagles – “They can grab the Warriors shirt and pull them straight up into the air.”

Shelton Highclimbers @ Foss Falcons

Mount Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma – 7:00 PM | Radio: KMAS

Addie: Highclimbers – “If they have weapons, they can slice off the Falcons head in the air.” (editors note: GRUESOME! Sorry.)
Rory: Falcons – “When the Highclimers are up, they can swoop and grab their ears and go and fly up in the air.”

Tenino Beavers at Hoquaim Grizzlies

Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam – 7:00 PM | Radio: KXRO

Addie: Beavers – “The Beavers can go chk, chk, chk, chk, chk on the dams and when the Grizzlies are drinking there will be too much water for them and when the river overflows they will be pulled down the stream and they will bonk straight into the wood of the Beavers and will get a ton of splinters. Once they get out of the water they will have a ton of splinters on them and they will have to go home and get a bunch of birds to peck them all off.”
Rory: Beavers – “The Beavers can fall onto the dam and the Beavers can run away and when the Grizzlies get water they can step into the dam then won’t know that they put it in. And then they would get splinters.”

Timberline Blazers @ Yelm Tornadoes

Yelm High School – 7:00 PM

Addie: Tornadoes – “If the Blazers are up in a tree and the Tornado comes, the tornado will blow their pants away and if they are in a really tall tree and if they get their pants torn off by the tornado, they will get so embarrassed because people will be looking at them. When the tornado comes back they will jump into the tornado and get blown away to the ocean.”
Rory: Tornadoes – “They can swoop them up and when the ??? come they won’t know which way to go and then go down the mountain. It can swoop.”

Tumwater T-Birds vs. La Center Wildcats

La Center Stadium – 7:00 PM

Addie: T-Birds – “They can bring thunder with them and when the Wildcats are running from them, they can shoot a bolt of lightning at them and they will go RRRRROOOOOWWWWW and then run away.”
Rory: T-Birds – “I’ll say the same thing!”

Tuesday Scoreboard

College Volleyball
Northwest 3, Evergreen 1 (24-26, 25-14, 25-7, 25-16) – Box Score

High School Volleyball
Tumwater 3, Timberline 1 (26-28, 25-11, 25-21, 25-14)
Olympia 3, Yelm 0 (25-6, 25-16, 25-17)
Northwest Christian 3, Rainier 0 (25-21, 29-27, 25-18)
White River 3, River Ridge 0 (25-8, 25-5, 25-9)

Girls Soccer
North Thurston 8, Lincoln 0
Capital 3, Wilson 1
Bellarmine 8, Timberline 0
White River 2, River Ridge 0
South Kitsap 3, Olympia 0

High School Football Power Rankings: Surprising Domination

tornado-avatar3Today’s power rankings reflect the hot starts for seven teams and are based more on surprise factor than anything.

Tumwater has surprised no one, that’s why they sit at #7 despite likely being the best team in the area.

So Yelm gets the nod at #1 because they have shocked me to this point. Yeah, neither of their opponents have been very stout, but I did not expect the domination that they have shown to this point.


1. Yelm Tornadoes (2-0)
Last week: 1a (no change)
Previous game: Beat Foss, 41-8
Next game: vs. Timberline (0-2) – Yelm Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Yelm has been mighty impressive so far, albeit against competition that doesn’t look particularly strong nor play at the same level as the Tornadoes. But Brandon Thompson is a legit weapon accounting for four touchdowns so far but what might be more impressive is that the Tornadoes have spread around the scoring. Daylon Matthews has thrown for five touchdowns to three different receivers. They also called me out on Twitter for not believing before their opener and so they get the #1 slot for the time being. The test will come this week when Timberline comes to town.

2. Olympia Bears (2-0)

Last week: 1i (-1)
Previous game: Beat Capital, 41-7
Next game: vs. South Kitsap (1-1) – Ingersoll Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: 83-7. Olympia has absolutely bowled over Ferris and Capital in the first two games. Like Yelm, it might be hard to judge just how good these Bears are because of the competition. Ferris, after dropping a 42-0 decision to Oly, lost to Couer D’Alene 40-0 this week. Nonetheless, Scott Gunther – like Thompson – is a big time threat with 216 yards and three touchdowns in the Spaghetti Bowl. The ease of the Bears victories this season has been surprising and has earned them the #2 spot this week.

3. Black Hills Wolves (2-0)

Last week: 1d (-2)
Previous game: Beat Rochester, 42-7
Next game: vs. North Kitsap (1-1) – Tumwater Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Of all the teams locally, would you guess that Black Hills has scored the most points? 97 points. They upset #10 ranked 1A squad Montesano in week one and dropped Rochester, who were coming off an emotional win over Centralia, back to earth. Lots of different Wolves have gotten into the act but that offense will get a test when they see North Kitsap on Friday night. The Vikings – previously ranked #6 in 2A – have allowed just 10 points this season but are coming off a 10-3 loss to WF West on Friday night.

4. Rainier Mountaineers (2-0, 1-0 2B Pacific)

Last week: 1e (-3)
Previous game: Beat Kittitas, 34-6
Next game: @ Raymond (2-0) – Raymond HS – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Rainier is off and running, literally. On Friday night, the Mountaineers racked up 400+ yards and four touchdowns on the ground with McCoy Bichler accounting for three of those. The fast start for the Mountaineers mirrors last season and like last season, they now face one of the 2B Pacific’s traditional powers in Raymond. The Seagulls, ranked #8 in the AP 2B poll, barely beat Life Christian in their opener, 26-25, before beating up on Chief Leschi last week.

5. Tenino Beavers (2-0)

Last week: 1g (-4)
Previous game: Beat Castle Rock, 39-20
Next game: @ Hoquiam (2-0) – Olympic Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Thomas Pier has already rushed for 497 yards and eight touchdowns for the Beavers. Thomas Pier is really good. The Beavers moved into the AP’s #10 spot in 1A and will likely move up a little bit after this week but now it gets real with a trip to Hoquiam on Friday night. The Grizzlies have posted 96 points themselves in wins over Meridian and Stevenson.

6. River Ridge Hawks (2-0)

Last week: 1g (-5)
Previous game: Beat North Thurston, 19-13
Next game: vs. Franklin Pierce (0-2) – South Sound Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: It was a rivalry dogfight at South Sound Stadium on Friday night and River Ridge did just enough to pull out the victory. Now 2A SPSL play begins and the Hawks get a rematch with Franklin Pierce, who gave the Hawks their only regular season loss last season on a last minute field goal. But Franklin Pierce has allowed 129 points to Lakes and Sumner to open their season.

7. Tumwater T-Birds (2-0)

Last week: 1j (-6)
Previous game: Beat Timberline, 48-10
Next game: @ LaCenter (0-2) – LaCenter Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Look, Tumwater should probably be #1. They look dominant and are doing what they have done so far without Easton Trakel for both games and QB Noah Andrews last week. They just have so many weapons. And this week they travel to 0-2 1A LaCenter.

8. North Thurston Rams (1-1)

Last week: 1f (-7)
Previous game: lost to River Ridge, 19-13
Next game: @ Wilson (0-2) – Stadium Bowl, Tacoma – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: The Rams fought hard against a good River Ridge team but just couldn’t get enough going on offense to pick up the win. They will open 3A Narrows League play in Tacoma when they take on a Wilson squad that is struggling mightily. The other Rams are 0-2 and got shutout by Olympic in week one and were shocked by an improved Stadium squad last week.

9. Shelton Highclimbers (1-1)

Last week: 1b (-8)
Previous game: Lost to Sumner, 34-3
Next game: @ Foss (0-2) – Mount Tahoma Stadium – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: If you just look at the score, this looks like a blowout. Like Shelton laid a giant egg. But the Highclimbers trailed just 14-3 deep into the third quarter and held their own for a good portion of the game against a good Sumner team and their stud Connor Wedington. Turnovers eventually killed Shelton and they ran out of gas in the end but the improvement in this squad was evident. They now open 3A Narrows League play against a Foss team that looks very beatable.

10. Timberline Blazers (0-2)

Last week: 11 (+1)
Previous game: Lost to Tumwater, 48-10
Next game: @ Yelm (2-0) – Yelm HS – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Uli Maae was the only Blazer to get on the board for the Blazers in their loss to Tumwater. The defense kept the T-Birds down for a little while before Tumwater went nuts in the second half. They will need that defense to step up against a Yelm team that looks really dangerous if they want to open 4A Narrows play with a win.

11. Capital Cougars (0-2)

Last week: 12 (+1)
Previous game: Lost to Olympia, 41-7
Next game: @ Lincoln (2-0) – Lincoln Bowl – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Lose to your rival 41-7 and lose your starting quarterback with a broken arm late in the game. What a tough start for the Cougars. And now they have to go to Lincoln, who look just as good as they did before Jon Kitna chased the money to Texas.

12. Rochester Warriors (1-1)

Last week: 1c (-11)
Previous game: Lost to Black Hills, 42-7
Next game: vs. Elma (2-0) – Rochester High School – Friday, 7:00 PM

Notes: Yeah, Rochester is 1-1. They got an emotional win in their opener against Centralia. So what makes them drop all the way into the #12 spot this week? With their loss to Black Hills, they are already eliminated from the playoffs. They are the only team that is already assured to not be playing in the postseason. This is nothing personal, Warriors, and I will move you up throughout the season despite the playoffs being out of reach. But man, your situation stinks.

Monday Scores: Saints Pick Up First Win, Rams Sweep Shelton

Women’s Soccer
Saint Martin’s 4, Trinity Lutheran 0 – Box Score
Western Oregon 1, Evergreen 0 – Box Score

High School Volleyball
North Thurston 3, Shelton 0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-14)
Central Kitsap 3, Capital 1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-11, 25-16)

Friday Scores: Spartans Overwhelm Highclimbers Late

High School Football
Sumner 34, Shelton 3

Shelton hung with Sumner for the first 35 minutes and found themselves down by just 11 points at the half and well into the third quarter. But Connor Wedington and Josh Riley proved to be too much for the Highclimbers and the Spartans pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 34-3 win at Highclimbers Stadium.

Wedington tallied 157 yards on the ground including rushing touchdowns of nine, 61 and eight yards and added an interception of Shelton quarterback Tyler Giraldes. Josh Riley broke the game open at the end of the third quarter with a 50 yard touchdown run that put the Spartans up 21-3. Kolby Nikolaisen finished off the game by ripping the ball out of the hands of a Highclimbers running back and waltzing into the end zone to put Sumner up 34-3.

Both Wedington and Nikolaisen had long touchdowns called back on penalties. Wedington went for a 53 yard scamper that didn’t count and Nikolaisen intercepted a pass and took it to the house minutes before getting the fumble recovery that did make it into the score book.

Willy Ruiz rushed for 141 yards for the Highclimbers while Tyler Giraldes threw for 82 yards. Cody Bragg’s 25 yard field goal in the first quarter were the only points that Shelton could muster. Kyle Kimball intercepted a pass from Sumner QB Luke Ross and Giraldes hit Skylar Ross for 30 yards on the next play. But penalties derailed the drive near the goal line before Bragg’s field goal cut the Sumner lead to four points at 7-3.

Shelton fell to 1-1 in their two non-conference games and will open 3A Narrows League play against Foss at Mount Tahoma Stadium next week. Sumner moved to 2-0 and will face Enumclaw at home on Friday night.

In other action:
Black Hills 42, Rochester 7
Olympia 41, Capital 7
River Ridge 19, North Thurston 13
Tumwater 48, Timberline 10
Yelm 41, Foss 8
Rainier 34, Kittitas 6
Tenino 39, Castle Rock 20

Women’s Soccer

Stanislaus 4, Saint Martin’s 3 (OT) – Box Score

After falling behind 3-0 in the 51st minute, Abby McFaul scored in the 68th minute and again in the 73rd minute before Saint Martin’s completed the comeback with a 79th minute equalizer by Hannah Frakes. But Jade Poon scored the overtime game winning golden goal in the 96th minute for Cal State-Stanislaus.

College Volleyball

#9 Southern Oregon 3, Evergreen 0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-19) – Box Score

Week Two: My Girls’ Expert High School Football Picks


In week one, my seven year-old daughter went 7-3 and my four year-old went 6-4 with their expert high school football picks. They are back once again this week and at least one of them finally has come to understand that Tumwater is the best team in the area. The T-Birds have been their Achilles heal over the years. Perhaps that will jinx the T-Birds tonight against Timberline, but probably not.

Here is tonight’s full high school football schedule with broadcast information and my daughter’s lock it down predictions:


Black Hills Wolves @ Rochester Warriors
Rochester HS – 7:00 PM

Rory: Warriors – “Because they can crush everything with their big weapons!”
Addie: Warriors – “Yeah, same thing.”

Capital Cougars @ Olympia Bears

Ingersoll Stadium – 7:30 PM | KGY

Rory: Bears – “Because we live in Olympia and Bears can bite the Cougars. They can sneak up on them and bite their butts!”
Addie: Bears – “Yeah, that sounds amazing Rory!”

Rainier Mountaineers vs. Kittitas Coyotes

Rainier HS – 7:00 PM

Addie: Coyotes – “When the Mountaineers come back down the mountain, the Coyotes will be waiting down there so when they try to attack them, they just bowl on back up to the mountain and hit the other team instead of them.”
Rory: Coyotes – “They can run really fast and bite the Mountaineers butts.”
Addie: “Who’s cute? You’re cute. Who’s cute? You’re cute…
Rory: “Maaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhh…”
Addie: “Yes yes yes. Bite the Mountaineers butts!”

River Ridge Hawks @ North Thurston Rams

South Sound Stadium – 7:00 PM

Addie: Hawks – “They can go up really high and swoop down on to them and poke them.”
Rory: Rams – “It should be the male sheep with big horns because they can poke the other team when they are flying and they are trying to swoop down, the sheep can poke them.

Shelton Highclimbers vs. Sumner Spartans

Highclimbers Stadium – 7:00 PM | KMAS

Rory: Highclimbers – “They can climb trees and then jump on the warriors head. They can jump on them and squish them like a pancake!”
Addie: Highclimbers – “They can climb trees and then cut down the trees and it will land on them. Armor is not strong enough for tree branches. Like, all the really big tree branches.”

Tenino Beavers @ Castle Rock Rockets

Castle Rock HS – 7:00 PM

Rory: Beavers – “The Beavers can knock down the Rockets. They can chew on the tree and when it comes down, they can bonk down the Rockets.”
Addie: Rockets – “The Beavers can’t climb trees so if they go up trees then they can just land and pretend to crash and they will hit the Beavers, BOOM…BOOM BOOM.”

Timberline Blazers @ Tumwater T-Birds

Tumwater Stadium – 7:30 PM | Eli Sports and ROOT Sports TV

Addie: T-Birds – “They can fly up high and when they see them trying to look for them, they can hide and then surprise them so they run away.”
Rory: Blazers – “Because they can shoot and then they can spy on them then….wait, what are Blazers Daddy?”

Yelm Tornadoes vs. Foss Falcons

Yelm HS – 7:00 PM

Addie: Tornadoes – “They can get the Falcons all up in a big huddle, put them all together and spread them everywhere.”
Rory: Tornadoes – “Because they can swoop up the other team and then they can swoop them away to somewhere where they can’t win.”

Thursday Scores: Rams, Blazers and Cougs Open Narrows Volleyball With Wins

Girls Soccer
Black Hills 2, Yelm 1 – Delaney Trotter scored in the ninth minute and Joslin Lindsay broke a 1-1 tie in the 77th minute to give the Wolves the non-conference win.

North Thurston 4, Timberline 1
Tumwater 5, Eatonville 2
Capital 3, Olympia 1 – Quick Recap/Photo Gallery

High School Volleyball
Timberline 3, Yelm 0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-18)
North Thurston 3, Foss 0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-9)
Capital 3, Wilson 0 (25-12, 26-24, 25-16)
Black Hills 3, Port Angeles 0 (25-13, 25-7, 25-12)
Tumwater def. Olympia

PHOTO GALLERY: Midstokke’s Hat Trick Leads Cougars to Rivalry Win

Click any image to go to gallery and see full size.

Maddy Midstokke (#17) opened the scoring in the eighth minute and scored the game winner and added an insurance goal in stoppage time to give Capital a 3-1 win over Olympia on Thursday night. The Cougars moved to 1-0 behind the senior’s hat trick while the Bears dropped to 0-2 in the early going of the 2015 season. Jenna Killman scored the lone goal for Oly.

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