MERIDIAN VS. COUPEVILLE
Time: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30
Site: Blaine High School
Trojans update: Meridian (5-4) enters as the NWC 1A's No. 3 seed after it went 1-1 in a Kansas Tiebreaker on Saturday, Oct. 27, beating Nooksack Valley 3-0 but losing 6-0 to Blaine. The Trojans dropped into the three-way tie after a 30-8 loss to Mount Baker on Thursday, Oct. 25. After holding the Mountaineers to a first-half field goal, Mount Baker rushed for four second-half TDs to put the game away, accumulating 241 yards on 35 carries in the process. Max McGuinn passed for 157 yards and rushed for the Trojans' only score, but was also intercepted twice in the game and again in the tiebreaker against Blaine. Junior Castro leads Meridian with 451 yards rushing this season, while Sam Chambers is the leading receiver with 239 yards.
Wolves update: Coupeville (2-7) enters at the Cascade Conference 1A's No. 2 seed. The Wolves suffered a 34-8 loss to Sultan in their regular-season finale. Their wins came against South Whidbey and Orcas Island this year, and they lost to Nooksack Valley and Lynden Christian early in the season. Coupeville struggled defensively with Sultan's team speed last week and with picking up blitzes on offense. The injury bug also is biting the Wolves, who lost starting running back Bryce Fleming, defensive back Korbin Korzan and linebacker Danny Savalza. Running back Jake Tumblin also moved to quarterback and completed two of 12 passes. He also rushed for 120 yards, including scoring on a 41-yards touchdown run.
Key to the game: With this being only a half game, so that the winner can move on to face Blaine in another half game for the right to advance to a tri-district playoff game at Eatonville later in the week, mistakes must be limited, because every miscue is amplified in the shortened game.
Player to watch: Meridian receiver Trevin Todd caught eight passes last week. Though that generated only 41 yards, it showed he can be a reliable target for McGuinn. His 18 receptions this year rank second to Sam Chambers' 21, and Todd has 133 yards and a TD.
MERIDIAN/COUPEVILLE WINNER VS. BLAINE
Time: Approximately 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30
Site: Blaine High School
Borderites update: Blaine (6-3) enters at the NWC 1A's No. 2 seed after it won a pair of Kamas Tiebreakers on Saturday, Oct. 27, beating Nooksack Valley 8-6 and Meridian 6-0. The Borderites dropped into the three-way tie after a 34-28 loss to Nooksack Valley on Thursday, Oct. 25, and have lost two straight. Running back Mario Gobbato, who scored a touchdown in the first tiebreaker, enters with 2,199 yards rushing and 28 TDs, but the Pioneers held him to 76 yards on 23 carries - his lowest output since the final game of 2010. Isaiah Jackson caught five passes for 76 yards, while Brett Allen snared four more passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Cole Muder intercepted a pass to clinch the tiebreaker win over Meridian, and Caleb Johnson batted down a 2-point conversion pass in the tiebreaker win against Nooksack.
Key to the game: Blaine's last full-game victory was a 34-27 victory over Meridian on Oct. 12. That, a tiebreaker win over the Trojans and home-field advantage should give the Borderites plenty of confidence. But whichever team Blaine faces, the Borderites better come out ready to play. Warm ups also will be important as they'll be coming in cold against a team that already has a half under its belt.
Player to watch: Blaine quarterback Nate Kramme not only passed for a season-high 177 yards and two TDs against Nooksack Valley, he was highly effective running the bootleg after faking to Gobbato in the tiebreakers. Kramme picked up a team-high 20 yards on two carries, scored on a 9-yard run against Meridian and on a 2-point conversion run against Nooksack Valley.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.