Columbia High goes for its second win in a row Friday when it entertains Stevenson for CHS's 2005 homecoming game.
The Bruins (3-2) halted a two-game skid last Friday, beating Hockinson, 24-8.
"Hopefully, the momentum from that game will carry over against Stevenson," Bruins Coach Matthew Whitmire said. "We're looking at the possibility of going to 4-2, but not even talking about what comes after that. Right now, this is the only game that matters."
Stevenson (0-3, 2-3), meanwhile, has scored only 17 points in losing three straight. (It put up 86 points in its two wins). Last Friday, the Bulldogs mustered just a first-quarter field goal in a 29-point loss to La Center.
Last season, Stevenson and Columbia met on the second Friday in October.
The Bulldogs rallied in the second half of their homecoming game to defeat the Bruins, 20-13, and end a six-game losing streak in the series.
Whitmire said Stevenson is a team that concerns his coaching staff. "Anytime you have a rivalry, you just don't know what's going to happen," he noted.
"Stevenson has developed a mindset the last few years that they expect to beat us. For added incentive, it's our homecoming and everybody likes to rain on somebody else's homecoming parade," Whitmire said, adding, "It's a natural rivalry and they're going to be coming in here hungry for a win."
Job one for Columbia High will be to stop Stevenson fullback Cory Creighton, who has been the workhorse of the Bulldogs' offense this season.
Creighton, a senior, scored five touchdowns and rushed for 404 yards in Stevenson's first two games but has been held out of the end zone since, though he carried 18 times for 83 yards against La Center
Columbia will look to counter with its own running game that got back on track last Friday versus Hockinson.
Senior wingback Andrew Culp ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns in that game, raising his season totals to 706 yards and eight TDs.
The CHS ground game will be aided even more by the return of junior wingback Mason Giovannoni, who missed the Bruins' last two games because of a knee injury. Prior to getting hurt against Montesano, Giovannoni carried 48 times for 428 yards and five scores. He also was CHS's leading tackler.
"Mason will be back for the Stevenson game, which will be a monumental lift for our team, both offensively and defensively," Whitmire said.
The Bruins also will have the extra advantage of playing at home, where they are 3-0 and have outscored opponents, 104-35.
"When we're at home, playing in front of our fans, we play with more emotion, more purpose. There's no question about it," Whitmore said. "That's something we hope can work to our advantage Friday night."