The last time Ferndale and Bellevue were on the same football field at the same time, Jake Locker was just a junior and nearly pulled off a miraculous come-from-behind upset victory over the top-ranked Wolverines in the 2004 Class 3A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
But Locker's 43-yard fourth-down heave toward Rocki Sandusky in the end zone was tipped away in the closing seconds, and Bellevue held on for a 31-28 victory and claimed the state title.
Locker, Sandusky and Ferndale would get their chance to raise the trophy a year later.
Bellevue (10-0) is once again the top-ranked team in the state this year, and the No. 6 team in the country, according to MaxPreps.com. Ferndale (9-1) checked into the final state 3A poll at No. 7 last week, and the two teams, and the two teams will meet once again in the first round of the 3A State Playoffs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 at Bellevue High School.
It will mark the fourth time the two schools have met in the state playoffs. The Wolverines have won the past two meeting, but the three games have been decided by a combined total of 24 points, and the Golden Eagles' 35-28 win in 1999 came in overtime.
Lynden and Mount Baker will play a bit closer to home, as they'll both host first-round games at Civic Stadium.
The No. 8 Mountaineers (8-1), who won the NWC 1A title and received a bye from last week's district and tri-district playoffs, will host Woodland at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round of the 1A State Playoffs.
Mount Baker is making its first state appearance since 2005 and is seeking its first win in the round of 16 since a 1994 win over Washougal.
Woodland (8-2) also will play its first state playoff game since 2005, and the Beavers have not won in the playoffs since 1984.
The No. 2 Lions (9-1), meanwhile will host Mark Morris at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, in the first round of the Class 2A State Playoffs.
Lynden, which is making its seventh straight trip to state, is the defending state champion and is seeking its fifth title in seven years.
The Monarchs (9-1) are making their fifth straight state appearance and advanced to the state semifinals in 2011 before losing to Archbishop Murphy.
Meridian (8-4) rounds out the Whatcom County teams in action this weekend and makes the longest trip, as it will make the 256-mile trip to Battle Ground District Stadium to play No. 5 La Center in the first round of the 1A State Playoffs at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The schools have played two times previously in the state playoffs, with the Trojans claiming both on the road to state titles in 2003 and 2006.
Meridian is making its fifth straight appearance at state, while the Wildcats have made it three of the past four years but are seeking their first win since 2004.
No. 4 Lummi (9-2) also qualified for the Class 1B State Playoffs for the ninth straight year, but the Blackhawks will wait until next week before traveling to face the winner of this week's quad-district playoff game between Quilcene and Taholah.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, NOV. 9
CLASS 3A STATE PLAYOFFS
? First round: Ferndale at Bellevue, 7 p.m.
CLASS 1A STATE PLAYOFFS
? First round: Woodland at Mount Baker (at Civic Stadium), 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, NOV. 10
CLASS 2A STATE PLAYOFFS
? First round: Mark Morris at Lynden (at Civic Stadium), 5 p.m.
CLASS 1A STATE PLAYOFFS
? First round: Meridian at La Center (at Battle Ground District Stadium), 1 p.m.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.