4A State Tournament First Round Preview

4A State Preview Box

 

The 2014 State Tournament is set with 16 teams. While many arguments could be had about who plays who, until the geniuses at the WIAA wake up and realize there needs to be a change, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it.

That being said, let’s have a look at each matchup for the first round of the state tournament. For a look at the 4A State Tournament Bracket click Right Here.

I’ve added a link to each game with the Google Map location of the stadium. If you need directions, simply click the name of the stadium and in the upper left corner of the map you can click “directions” and enter your city.

 

Eastlake Wolves (7-3) @ Bothell Cougars (10-0)

Friday 7pm at Pop Keeney Stadium

Eastlake: Avg. Points For – 24.5 / Points Against – 19.9

Bothell: Avg. Points For – 47.8 / Points Against – 8.6

This game is  a rematch of a week one 41-19 Bothell win on the Plateau, but things are a little different this time around. Kingco MVP Sam McPherson’s high school career has come to an end with a torn ACL. Even without McPherson, I still consider Bothell to be the favorite to win a state title.

Eastlake’s three loses came to the three teams ahead of them in the Kingco 4A standings. They have technically played two non-conference games and have beaten two League Champions, Emerald Ridge (SPSL South) and Gig Harbor (Narrows).

The QB battle will be one to watch, as Bothell’s Ross Bowers and Eastlake’s Blue Thomas are two of the top athletes at the position. Both athletes are playing at a very high level right now and will be vital to their team’s success.

Last week Blue Thomas completed 29 of 43 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. The Bothell Defense hasn’t allowed more than seven points in a game since September 26th when Mount Si scored 13.

 

Bellarmine Prep Lions (7-3) @ Camas Papermakers (10-0)

Saturday 5pm at Doc Harris Stadium

Bellarmine Prep: Avg. Points For – 26.9 / Points Against – 18.0

Camas: Avg. Points For – 50.0 / Points Against – 13.1

This game is a rematch of last year’s semifinal game in the Tacoma Dome, with Camas coming away with a 49-21 win, and if Bellarmine Prep wants to win, they are going to have to be near flawless.

Camas QB Liam Fitzgerald has been one of the big revelations this year. The junior gunslinger has thrown for 2,507 yards and 23 touchdowns, while completing 68% of his passes. The top target for Fitzgerald is James Price, who through ten games has 68 catches for 1,149 yards and 11 TDs, with a TD catch in 8 of those 10 games.

Bellarmine Prep is going to have to run the ball, and chip away first downs to control the clock and keep the Camas offense off the field. The most likely scenario is handing the ball to RB Nathan Goltermann-Doyle. While small in stature, listed at just 5’5″ 140 pounds, Goltermann-Doyle is a big time back. He has the ability to break one at any time, while also having the toughness to fight for the tough yards.

I don’t see many scenarios in which Bellarmine Prep wins this game, but they have shown over the last few years to be a great playoff football team, and have won some big time games.

 

Union Titans (9-1) @ Federal Way Eagles (8-2)

Friday 7pm at Federal Way Memorial Stadium

 Union: Avg. Points For – 38.3 / Points Against – 16.4

Federal Way: Avg. Points For – 43.7 / Points Against – 21.7

Another rematch of a recent game, as these two teams met week one at Federal Way. Union battled to comeback from a halftime deficit and came away with a 34-27 win.

Federal Way was missing some of its top players in the first meeting, and lost three more as the game went along, but make no mistake, Union played a great second half to win that game.

Both teams look to be without their starting QB as Nolan Henry (Union) and D’jimon Jones (Federal Way) appear to be out again this week. When healthy, they are two of the top athletes in the state at their position. It looks like Jordan Lawson will get the start for Union, while Gabe Togia will get the nod again for Federal Way. Both have done a tremendous job stepping in for their injured counterparts.

Look for the Titans to go run heavy this week with Caleb Browning, Alex Berfanger and Jack Bauer, seeing a bulk of the carries. Federal Way is going to want to get the ball in the hands of Chico McClatcher, who is possibly the state’s most exciting player.

 

Newport Knights (8-2) @ Lake Stevens Vikings (9-1)

Saturday 7pm at Lake Stevens High School

Newport: Avg. Points For – 32.8 / Points Against – 23.5

Lake Stevens: Avg. Points For – 42.8 / Points Against – 16.5

Yet another rematch, this time from the 2013 round-of-32 when Newport RB Conner Baumann went absolutely wild rushing for 481 yards, seven shy of a state record, and scored six touchdowns in a 62-35 win for the Knights.

Newport graduated much of that team, but still return some quality athletes. Senior RB Paul Wells leads the rushing attack with over 1,200 yards and has 15 TDs, and is also the teams leading receiver with 6 receptions for 89 yards and a TD.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Knights only attempt about two passes per game, but with big bodies Calvin Throckmorton (Oregon Commit) and Nolan Richardson up front, they average well over 300 yards on the ground.

Lake Stevens can hit you through the air or on the ground. They have three receivers (Tevin Gray, Riley Krenz and Hunter Eckstrom) with over 600 yards on the season, while RB Andrew Grimes is close to 1,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and has eight 100+ yard games on the season.

For Newport the game plan is simple… Run the ball, eat up clock and keep the high powered Viking offense off the field.

 

Skyview Storm (7-3) @ Wenatchee Panthers (8-1)

Friday 7pm at The Apple Bowl

Skyview: Avg. Points For – 30.4 / Points Against – 18.9

Wenatchee: Avg. Points For – 33.3 / Points Against – 12.2

The Big Nine Conference gets two automatic berths into the state tournament, and with a week ten game being non-conference, Wenatchee opted to take a bye. Therefore the Panthers should be well rested and ready to go.

Skyview on the other hand made a three plus hour trip to Skyline last week, played some OT football, and now have to travel five plus hours to Wenatchee. If the WIAA ever makes a claim that they take travel into account for the playoffs, this year’s Skyview team should get first punch.

Wenatchee is an under-the-radar good team. Chase Resch is the Big Nine MVP, and one of the top two-way athletes in the entire state. He has 17 career interceptions, and can literally score any time he touches the ball. You should see University of Washington commit Trey Adams paving the way.

For the Storm to be successful, it looks like they will need a big game from QB Zac Shomler. Last week in a win over Skyline, the senior threw for 431 yards and 4 TDs, and is over 2,000 yards on the season. Also look for RB’s Josh Emmy and Blake Ingram to get in the mix, as both are closing in on 1,000 yard seasons.

 

Graham-Kapowsin Eagles (9-1) @ Gig Harbor Tides (9-1)

Saturday 7pm at Roy Anderson Field

Graham-Kapowsin: Avg. Points For – 38.1 / Points Against – 15.4

Gig Harbor: Avg. Points For – 43.4 / Points Against – 9.4

This matchup is quietly a huge game and should be a great game day environment.

Graham-Kapowsin has been doing things mostly on the ground this year with senior RB Shannon Edwards, and when you have a line like the Eagles do, nobody can blame them. With the likes of Foster Sarell, Elijah Lugo and Tyler Morris, the Eagles have some real beef up front to move the ball, but make no mistake, they are very capable of getting it done through the air with senior QB Trevor Asbjornsen.

Gig Harbor on the other hand has kind of become the Davis Alexander show. The junior QB does a little bit of everything for the Tides offense, and can beat you on the ground or through the air. RB Adrian Valona is having a great junior season, while the WR duo of Santana Johnson and Noah Samsen is one of the best in the state.

This game could come down to who plays the best defense. Through 10 games the Gig Harbor defense has allowed less that 14 points eight times, including five shutouts.

 

Todd Beamer Titans (7-3) @ Gonzaga Prep Bullpups (9-1)

Saturday 1pm @ Gonzaga Prep High School

Todd Beamer: Avg. Points For – 28.7 / Points Against – 12.2

Gonzaga Prep: Avg. Points For – 30.9 / Points Against – 17.7

The Todd Beamer Titans are one of the big surprises this season, and they have been doing it with a good running game and touch defense, oddly, that is usually the plan for the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups.

Gonzaga Prep only attempted seven passes, but scored twice in last week’s round-of-32 win over Walla Walla. They come at you with big time back Jack Bamis. The senior is a physical runner that takes multiple tacklers to bring down. Last week their leading rusher was actually QB Liam Bell, who had finished with 11 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

If Todd Beamer is going to win, you can expect to hear the name Andrew Tofaeono. The junior is one of the better two-way athletes in the 2016 recruiting class, and leads the Titans in rushing and tackling, while racking up 13 touchdowns. Another player to keep an eye on is CB Chaz McKenzie. He leads the team in INTs, and is great in run support. McKenzie should be tasked with making sure the Titans don’t fall asleep and get beat over the top.

The forecast is calling for a high of 32 on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if Beamer can overcome the cold.

 

A.C. Davis Pirates (9-1) @ Chiawana Riverhawks (9-1)

Saturday 1pm at Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium

A.C. Davis: Avg. Points For – 42.9 / Points Against – 8.4

Chiawana: Avg. Points For – 38.6 / Points Against – 7.6

Chiawana begins its state title defense against a tough A.C. Davis team that surprised a lot of people.

The plan is fairly simple for Davis… Stop Chiawana RB Austin Urlacher. The senior back is now over 2,000 yards for the season, and looking to get the Riverhawks back to the Tacoma Dome. If Urlacher gets going, it could be a very long day for the Pirates.

For Davis to be successful they are going to have to continue getting big games from QB Elias Moctezuma and WR Nikhil Lizotte. The two hooked up four times last week in a big win over rival Eisenhower, and when you toss in Ketner Kupp and Eric Briscoe, the Pirates have plenty of weapons for the senior gunslinger.

The Chiawana defense is no slouch, though, and only allowed 149 yards of offense last week in a win over Lewis & Clark.

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