The first round of state went as planned with all 8 home teams coming away with a victory. With Shadle Park and Mount Spokane winning, we have guaranteed that one of the semifinal games will be played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, date and teams still to be determined.
I went down to Lincoln’s 35-30 win over O’Dea, and came away very impressed with the Abes. I know they are undefeated and I have them ranked high for a reason, but I was still very much intrigued to see how they would handle a big time stage.
For a look at the updated look at the 3A 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.
Marysville Pilchuck Tomahawks (10-1) @ Columbia River Chieftains (9-2)
Saturday 4:00 pm at Kiggins Bowl
Marysville Pilchuck: Avg. Points For – 44.9 / Points Against – 19.4
Columbia River: Avg. Points For – 36.5 / Points Against – 19.7
The backfield duo of Austin Joyner (Yes, I have seen him play) and Killian Page is one of the state’s best, and is really what gets the Marysville Pilchuck train rolling.
In a 49-14 win over Mountlake Terrace in the first round, the two combined 472 yards rushing, 7 touchdowns and averaged nearly 14 yards per carry. Marysville Pilchuck only attempted one pass the entire night, which fell incomplete. Page is now over 1,500 yards on the season, with Joyner not far behind.
The Chieftains offense can be very explosive at times, but look for Tomahawk LB Drew Hatch to have a big game. Hatch is one of the more underrated LB’s in the state, and will have a big task at hand with the balance Columbia River has on offense.
Senior Gabe Evenson is a duel-threat QB with close to 500 yards rushing on the season, and just over 2,000 yards through the air. Senior RB Vincent Daniels is a good compliment to Evenson in the backfield, while Nathan Hawthorne, Holden Fielding, Carson Bassett and Jacob Bystry are the most likely targets when Evenson goes to the air.
For the Chieftains to win, it is very simple, but also very difficult… They are going to have to find a way to slow down Joyner and Paige. If that duo gets going, it could be a very long night for the “home team”.
This game is being played at the Kiggins Bowl, which is not the home field for Columbia River, but they are plenty familiar with the stadium as three rivals schools in the Vancouver area share the stadium.
Peninsula Seahawks (10-1) @ Bellevue Wolverines (11-0)
Friday 7:00 pm at Bellevue Memorial Stadium
Peninsula: Avg. Points For – 38.8 / Points Against – 15.7
Bellevue: Avg. Points For – 40.9 / Points Against – 5.4
This is the third straight season these two teams have met in the Quarterfinals, and Bellevue has thoroughly dominated the last two meetings. Last year’s 48-27 Bellevue win was not nearly as close as it looks, as the Wolverines were up 48-0 with about nine minutes left in the first half.
The 2014 version of this game looks much different on paper, as this may be the best team Peninsula has fielded. Senior Robert Kvinsland has the makings of a D1 QB, and has weapons galore to work with.
Senior RB Major Ali has had a tremendous season, and will need to have a big game if the Seahawks are too be successful, as it would really open up the passing game. WR Matt Shirley has come on the last month or so and done a great job, while Kyle Olson-Urbon is one of the top wide outs in the 2016 recruiting class.
Only problem for Peninsula… They are facing Bellevue.
The offense is clicking once again and RB Sam Richmond is back following a minor knee surgery early in the season.
Since allowing 21 first half points to Mercer Island in week three, the Bellevue defense has only allowed 24 TOTAL points, most coming late in games.
For Peninsula to be successful, they are going to have to play mistake free football, as the Wolverines really make their money in the turnover game.
Eastside Catholic Crusaders (10-1) @ Lincoln Abes (11-0)
Saturday 4:00 pm at the Lincoln Bowl
Eastside Catholic: Avg. Points For – 37.2 / Points Against – 12.2
Lincoln: Avg. Points For – 49 / Points Against – 11.1
I couldn’t be more excited for a game. On paper, this has the looks of a state championship type game. These two teams met a year ago on the Sammamish Plateau in the round-of-32, with EC running away from Lincoln 41-21.
A lot of people were questioning the Lincoln Abes heading into last week, but I held firm with our rankings believing that Lincoln was the better team, and they looked great from the start.
The Jordan Kitna to Jayson Williams connection is one of the best in the state, and when you mix in a little Dehonta Hayes and Alvin Johnson, the Abes have a ton of weapons to make this game a track meet.
I still think the Abes haven’t played their best football, and even though they beat O’Dea, they have plenty of things they can still correct.
Eastside Catholic is here for a reason, and have been in many big games the last few years, including two straight state championship games.
University of Washington commit Brandon Wellington has been on a tear since getting back onto the offensive side of things, which has really helped QB Harley Kirsch get back into the big time form we all know.
Speaking of ‘on a tear’, Crusader WR Matt Laris has been virtually unstoppable in recent weeks, posting 397 yards and 7 TDs in his last three games. Laris is a big target at 6’4″ 210 pounds, and is also one of the better blocking wide receivers in the state.
Couple big matchups to look for in the game…
Eastside Catholic DE Cody Baker vs Lincoln OT Ben Puapuaga: Baker has committed to Montana, while Puapuaga was recently offered by the Grizz. If Puapuaga can give Kitna time, things should really open up.
Eastside Catholic OL vs Lincoln Front Seven: Lincoln brought a lot of pressure against O’Dea, and they like to bring MLB BJ Hawthorne up the middle. Then interior of EC’s line with Montana commit Alex Neale, Connor Heger and Brody McKnight should have a tough task on their hands, but they’ve proven to be up to the task in the past.
Shadle Park Highlanders (8-3) @ Mount Spokane Wildcats (9-2)
Saturday 1:00 pm at Joe Albi Stadium
Shadle Park: Avg. Points For – 38.6 / Points Against – 23.6
Mount Spokane: Avg. Points For – 32.3 / Points Against – 14.1
This game features two teams that know each other very well, as this will be the fourth meeting between the two in just over a year, and the second in less than a month. I doubt many people will be clicking the link I have setup to Joe Albi, as both teams use the facility as their home field.
Boise State commit Brett Rypien leads the Shadle Park offense, and will be looking for a better result than the 28-21 loss to Mount Spokane on Halloween Night. The Highlanders led 21-7 late in the first half, before giving up a TD just before the halftime buzzer.
Mount Spokane took over from there, limiting Rypien to just 67 yards in the second half, and came away with a 28-21 win.
In last week’s win over the Wilson Rams, Mount Spokane rushed 52 times for 582 yards. They are going to want to do much of the same this week. Look for seniors Mike Schupp, Dakota Hipes and Roy Hyatt to get a bulk of the carries for the Wildcats.
The last time these two met it was QB Matt Pulliam doing most of the damage for Mount Spokane. He was their leading rusher, threw for 174 yards and had a hand in all four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 passing).
For Shadle Park to be successful, they are going to need receivers Cam Duty, Sam Stratton, Jayden Nguyen and George Pilimai, to find their spots in the Mount Spokane defense.