FREEMAN VS. MOUNT BAKER
Time: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
Site: Tacoma Dome
Scotties update: No. 3-ranked Freeman (13-0) rallied from behind to earn a 28-20 win during the Class 1A State Playoff semifinals last week. Three first-quarter turnovers put the Scotties in a 20-0 hole before the first 12 minutes ended, but Freeman scored 28 straight during the remaining three quarters. Quarterback Preston Hoppman threw touchdowns of 11 and 18 yards, and running back Marcus Goldbach caught one of Hoppman's TD passes and scored twice on the ground. Max Laib was kept out of the end zone but finished with 113 yards, and Goldbach finished with 86.
Mountaineers update: No. 4-ranked Mount Baker (11-1) kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to beat Cascade Christian 31-28 during the Class 1A State Playoff semifinals last week at the Tacoma Dome. Mount Baker let Cascade Christian pull even during the final eight minutes to send the game into OT. Following a Mountaineers' defensive stop on the Cougars' opening possession, Alex Tyska booted a 28-yard game-winning field goal. Quarterback Andrew Zender ran for a team-high 106 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, and Izaiha Schwinden carried 15 times for 71 yards and three scores. Mount Baker's offense has averaged 45.3 points during state, and its defense has given up an average of 22.7 points.
MOUNT BAKER PLAYERS TO WATCH
Zender has led Mount Baker's potent offense with expertise all season. His 106-yard performance last week helped the Mounties get to the title game, and his proven record of taking care of the football will be paramount against Freeman. Zender also will be relied on defensively at linebacker to slow down the Scotties' rushing attack
As great as Schwinden has been on the offensive side of the ball, compiling a team-high 1,261 yards and 22 touchdowns, he's been just as important on defense. He'll need to have a big game if Baker wants to claim its first football state championship.
The Mountaineers don't have a lot of size, but starting senior offensive and defensive lineman Kirkpatrick's 226-pound body gives Baker a presence up front. His play will be magnified against Freeman's big line and will be relied on to open running lanes and shut them down when he's on the defensive side of the ball.
MOUNT BAKER KEYS TO THE GAME
1. FIND A HERO
A different Mount Baker offensive player has stood out each week during the Mountaineers' state-title run. Finding the hot offensive weapon early will certainly help Mount Baker's chances.
2. PLAY BIG
So far Mount Baker's offensive and defensive front has held up well despite its lack of size. Baker's ability to plug up holes on defense and generate enough running room for backs on offense will be extremely important.
3. AVOID THE MISTAKES
Andrew Zender has only thrown three interceptions this year, and Mount Baker owns a plus-seven turnover margin during the state playoffs. They'll need to stay crisp on Saturday.
FREEMAN PLAYERS TO WATCH
Laib is only one-half of Freeman's strong rushing attack. Partner Marcus Goldbach, who is a more powerful back, complements Laib's shiftiness well. Laib has run for 1,389 yards this season and will be looking to add to that total against Baker. He also was a Class 1A Northeast first-team selection on both offense and defense.
Genteman earned offensive and defensive Class 1A Northeast MVP honors, and he's a big play waiting to happen. Genteman will be relied on to stop Mount Baker's rushing tandem of Liam Short and Izaiha Schwinden, and his 6-foot-3, 205-pound body makes him a prime target in Freeman's passing attack.
Rose is a fixture among Freeman's line, helping the Scotties produce a pair of 1,300-yard running backs this season. His 6-foot-6, 314-pound frame makes him tough to move, and he'll present obvious matchup problems with Mount Baker's undersized offensive and defensive fronts.
FREEMAN KEYS TO THE GAME
1. FEED M&M
Running backs Max Laib and Marcus Goldbach have run all over opposing defenses. They've each rushed for more than 1,300 yards. Laib, a quick back, and Goldbach, a power back, complement each other well. Coach Jim Wood said it's imperative the Scotties get their running game going Saturday.
2. STOP ZENDER
Quarterback Andrew Zender ran for a team-high 106 yards last week and is also a threat to find his talented receivers, especially on bootlegs. Freeman coach Jim Wood heavily emphasized the Scotties' need to limit the Mountaineers' signal-caller.
3. USE THEIR BEEF
The average weight of Freeman's offensive line is right around 250 pounds, while Mount Baker's line tips the scales at 207.7 pounds. The Scotties have a distinct size advantage in the trenches and should be able to use that to help control the line of scrimmage.
FREEMAN OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Scotties coach Jim Wood said Freeman's offense runs the ball 60 percent of the time and throws 40 percent of the time, but it's no secret Freeman does its best offensive work in the ground game. Speedy Running back Max Laib is a first-team All-Northeast Conference selection and has run the ball 216 times for 1,389 yards and 21 touchdowns. Marcus Goldbach, also a first-team All-Northeast Conference choice, is a power back and has run 174 times for 1,326 yards and 23 touchdowns. Freeman works out of a Pistol formation, and the Scotties' large offensive line has been a big reason for Laib's and Goldbach's success. Junior quarterback Preston Hoppman is first-year starter but has played well. He's completed 52 percent of his passes for 1,407 yards and has tossed 19 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Senior receiver Kian Genteman earned defensive and offensive All-Northeast Conference MVP honors and is Freeman's X-factor. He's caught 43 balls for 690 yards and nine touchdowns and is a big-play threat.
FREEMAN DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Freeman's defense runs a 4-4, and behind the Scotties' stout defensive line is a group of talented, athletic linebackers. It starts with defensive All-Northeast Conference MVP Kian Genteman and Marcus Goldbach on the inside and first-team All-Northeast selection Connor Rubright and Billy Sims on the outside. Teigan Glidewell, a 6-foot, 245-pound junior lineman, is a talent along the defensive line. The Scotties defense is giving up 9.5 points per game, and it has a pair of secondary all-conference selections.
MOUNT BAKER OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
The Mountaineers' Wing-T offense has been potent this season, averaging 43.1 points per game. Mount Baker uses a variety of offensive weapons, but running backs Liam Short and Izaiha Schwinden garner the most attention from opposing defenses. Schwinden can run and also catch, compiling a team-high 1,261 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns and another 292 receiving yards and four TDs. Short gives Mount Baker a bruising presence and is a nice change of pace to Schwinden. The junior 191-pound back has run for 1,150 yards and 16 touchdowns. Three-year starting senior quarterback Andrew Zender has done a tremendous job of running the Mountaineers' offense. He's taken care of the football and has thrown for 1,034 yards and 15 TDs with only three interceptions. He's also run for 485 yards and 11 scores. Mount Baker does it all behind a strong, yet undersized, offensive line filled with five of six new starters, including tight end Hunter Gates. The Mountaineers average just 207.7 pounds across the front, but their speed has helped them get out in front of Baker's running backs on pulling plays.
MOUNT BAKER DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
The Mountaineers' 4-3 defense has given up 15.5 points per game, but it is a physical group that loves to hit. Mount Baker has a strong defensive front with players such as Hunter Gates and Max Martinson, and behind them is a deep linebacking core of Andrew Zender, Cody Larson, Liam Short and Danny Kirkpatrick. Arguably Baker's biggest strength, though, is its secondary. Cornerbacks Joey Walton and Seth Bass and safeties Izaiha Schwinden and Travis Lindsey have made life tough for opposing quarterbacks this fall, giving up only nine touchdowns while recording 15 interceptions.
Mount Baker 24-21
TUMWATER VS. LYNDEN
Time: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
Site: Tacoma Dome
Thunderbirds update: No. 1-ranked Tumwater (13-0) held off Prosser's late rally to earn a 45-40 win during the Class 2A state semifinals last week. The Thunderbirds led 31-12 at halftime, and Prosser outscored Tumwater 28-14 in the second half. Tumwater running back Trevor Davis ran for a team-high 112 yards on 11 carries, and ran for scores of 50 and 8 yards. Easton Trakel ran for 84 yards and scored, and Christian Cummings ran for 82 yards on 21 carries. Tumwater's defense gave up 478 total yards and allowed quarterback Mason Schutt to throw for 406 yards and five TDs.
Lions update: No. 2-ranked Lynden (13-0) came from a touchdown behind to beat Ellensburg 21-7 during the Class 2A state semifinals last week in Moses Lake. The Lions overcame a sluggish offensive start to reel of 21 straight points. Quarterback Sterling Somers threw two touchdown passes - a 2-yarder to tight end Jaremy Martin and a 29-yarder to Jalani Phelps. Running back Trent Postma scored from 1 yard out in the third quarter. Somers completed 11 of 24 passes for 156 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. He also ran for a team-high 93 yards on 13 carries. Postma was limited to 62 yards on 18 rushes, and Phelps contributed a team-high 81 receiving yards on four catches.
LYNDEN PLAYERS TO WATCH
A big moment has never proved too much for Somers since he replaced starter Lucas Petersen in Week 7. Somers had led the Lions to wins over Ferndale, a district win against Sultan and state tournament wins against Kingston, Sumner and Ellensburg. His confidence level seems to grow each week, as has his accuracy and overall ability to lead Lynden's offense.
Martin is one of three returning starters who played a role in Lynden's state title win against Tumwater last season. He's one of the best linebackers to ever play for coach Curt Kramme and will surely be integral in slowing down the Thunderbirds' high-scoring offense.
Wittenberg has emerged as a great third target for quarterback Sterling Somers this postseason. Tall, athletic receivers Scooter Hastings and Jalani Phelps will undoubtedly garner the most attention from Tumwater's secondary, which could leave Wittenberg, who has 11 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown during the state playoffs, in line for a big game.
LYNDEN KEYS TO THE GAME
1. KEEP IT BALANCED
Running back Trent Postma didn't enjoy a ton of success against Ellensburg last week, but it's imperative the Lions can move the ball on the ground and keep the ball away from Tumwater's explosive offense.
2. STAMP OUT MR. 1,700
Tumwater's offense has thrived off big plays all season, and it's because it has tremendous athletes. Running back Christian Cummings has run for 1,700 yards this year, but linebackers Trent Postma and Jaremy Martin are more than likely the most talented duo the Thunderbirds have faced this season.
3. PROTECT SOMERS
Lynden's vertical passing attack is only effective if the Lions' front five can keep sophomore quarterback Sterling Somers upright. Tumwater loves to bring pressure - its 43 sacks prove that. Lynden may have an advantage against the Thunderbirds' smaller corners, but that won't matter if Somers doesn't get time to throw.
TUMWATER PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Class 2A Evergreen All-Conference Player of the Year's 1,700 rushing yards (9.6 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns make him a must watch. Longtime Thunderbirds coach Sid Otton called his senior runner one of the best backs he's coached during his 40-year tenure.
Foerstel's nine sacks this season pulls him within two from of earning Tumwater's single-season sack record. Foerstel is strong, quick and athletic, and his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame makes him strong against the run, as well. Foerstel also has scored three of Tumwater's 11 defensive/special teams touchdowns on a blocked punt, fumble recovery and interception return.
Not many secondaries have found success against Lynden's receiving corps, but the 2A Evergreen Conference first-teamer is a play-maker known for locking-down receivers. He's compiled six interceptions and 75 tackles and will look to add to that total this weekend.
TUMWATER KEYS TO THE GAME
1. AERIAL SUCCES
Tumwater has run for 3,848 yards, but Lynden's defense has limited opposing offenses to 3.5 yards per rush. Thunderbirds quarterback Jayden Croft, who has thrown for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns, will need to help Tumwater move the ball through the air.
2. PLAY TALL
Tumwater has a trio of strong secondary players in Gabe Gleizes, Garrett Terrell and Logan Schiendelman, but each one stands 5-foot-11. Scooter Hastings, who stands 6-foot-7, and 6-foot-3 Jalani Phelps can change a game with one deep ball. Tumwater needs to find a way to play big and slow the duo down.
3. FIND THE EDGE
The Thunderbirds love to get their athletes out in space, and Tumwater coach Sid Otton is brilliant enough to find ways to get them out on the edge. Lynden hasn't given up many big plays, but Tumwater has to find a way to navigate through the Lions' D.
TUMWATER OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Lynden coach Curt Kramme said the Wing-T itself doesn't make for a good offense, rather it's how well a club runs the offensive scheme, and few teams do it better than Tumwater. The Thunderbirds have an offense that will get a few yards, a few more and then pop a long run for a touchdown seemingly out of nowhere. Class 2A All-Evergreen Conference MVP Christian Cummings headlines Tumwater's rushing attack. He has game-breaking speed and has carried the ball 177 times for 1,700 yards and 28 TDs. Sophomore wing back Easton Trakel also is a talented runner, carrying the ball 59 times for 565 yards. He also has a team-high 26 receptions for 632 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jayden Croft is an experienced quarterback and has completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns. What makes Tumwater's offense go is its offensive line, which has a pair of standouts in senior first-team All-Evergreen Conference selections Korye Trejo and Dayton Newell.
TUMWATER DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Tumwater's defense is a fast, athletic group that likes to get after the quarterback. The Thunderbirds have given up an average of 16.2 points per game and have posted three shutouts. Tumwater is coming off its worst defensive showing of the season after giving up 40 points and 478 total yards of offense to Prosser. Defensive end Nick Foerstel headlines Tumwater's front line and has a team-best nine sacks. Junior Daniel Dickason and senior Korye Trejo have combined for 11 sacks and can also get after the quarterback. Tumwater has sacked opposing signal-callers 43 times this fall. Its linebacking core is led by first-team All-Evergreen Conference selections Addison Barrett and Trevor Davis. The duo has combined for 215 total tackles. The Thunderbirds' secondary has three first- or second-team selections, but Tumwater doesn't have a ton of height along the back.
LYNDEN OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Lions coach Curt Kramme has crafted another successful spread offense in spite of graduating a myriad of talented seniors. Junior Lucas Petersen began the season as Lynden's starting quarterback but was replaced by sophomore Sterling Somers after Petersen broke his wrist prior to Week 7. Somers has filled in admirably, throwing for 1,119 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. Somers' confidence and comfort within Lynden's offense has seemed to grow every week. It helps Somers has been able to hand the football off to junior back Trent Postma, who's run for a team-high 1,324 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has great receiving targets in Jalani Phelps, Scooter Hastings, Jordan Wittenberg, Cameron Wainwright and Trey Shagren. Phelps has caught a team-high 52 passes for 750 yards and nine touchdowns, and Hastings has 36 receptions for 717 yards and eight TDs. The Lions are averaging 33.5 points per game and have enjoyed their offensive success behind an entirely new offensive line composed of tackles Derron Dunnigan and Kody Ames, guards Trevor Lange and Caden Lair and center Tristan Campbell.
LYNDEN DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN
Without a doubt, Lynden's perfect record and overall success has been spearheaded by its tremendous defense, which runs a 3-4 with two stand-up defensive ends sometimes lining up along the line. The Lions have given up a measly 10.1 points per game and have limited teams to 3.5 yards per rush. Headlining Lynden's defensive line is end Jalani Phelps, but largely the line is responsible for setting up standout linebackers Jaremy Martin and Trent Postma for tackles, and the duo has made plenty this fall. Martin's 106.5 solo tackles have broken a 22-year old Lynden single-season record. Postma has a great blend of speed and power and is often used to spy opposing team's top threat. Behind the linebackers resides a strong secondary made up of safeties Lucas Petersen and Rudy Mendoza and cornerbacks Jordan Wittenberg and Jacob Boland. The group has allowed only eight touchdowns while recording 20 interceptions.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.