Rainier Beach at Squalicum
The Squalicum football team seeks its third straight trip to the state playoffs when it takes on Rainier Beach in the 3A quad-district playoffs Friday, Nov. 4.
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Site: Civic Stadium
Scouting the Vikings: Rainier Beach suffered its second straight loss 17-14 to Seattle Prep last week and finished second to O’Dea in the Metro League. The Vikings fell 51-21 to Garfield a week earlier after winning their first seven games. They committed five fumbles against Garfield, three of which were converted into scores, and they were flagged for multiple penalites. Though the Rainier Beach definitely struggled in that game, it has posted three shutouts this season and hasn’t allowed another opponent to score more than 18 points. The Vikings also had great production through the first seven weeks, averaging 40.9 points per game during the stretch. Delovontae Sanders (788 yards, 10 TDs) and Freddie Roberson (679 yards, 9 TDs) lead the Vikings’ rushing attack.
Viking to watch: Junior quarterback Derek McKinney Jr. has passed for 1,025 yards and 13 touchdowns and run for 176 yards this season.
Rainier Beach’s key to victory: Thought the Vikings have kept opponents off the scoreboard through most of the season, it’s unlikely they’ve seen the wealth of playmakers Squalicum can throw at them. Their ability to contain them and limit the big plays could play a big role in the outcome of the game.
Scouting the Storm: Third-ranked Squalicum wrapped up an unbeaten regular season with a 55-27 victory over Arlington Oct. 27. The Storm is making its first appearance in the 3A quad-district playoffs after advancing to the 2A state quarterfinals each of the past two years. Running back Triston Smith was held to 38 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries against Arlington, ending his string of consecutive 200-yard games at three. He stands second in Whatcom County with 1,273 yards and 18 TDs this season. Damek Mitchell has surged to second in the county in receiving yardage (687 yards, eight TDs) with back-to-back 100-yard games. Garrett Sorenson has passed for 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Storm player to watch: Ben Peterson is the piston that makes Squalicum go. He’s rushed for 478 yards and 10 TDs this season, passed for 182 yards and three scores and recorded 352 yards and five touchdowns receiving. That’s not counting his huge contributions on defense, in the return game and kicking the ball.
Squalicum’s key to victory: The Storm spent the offseason focusing on how to limit the mistakes that cost it in its state quarterfinal loss against Tumwater last season. Now’s the time to show how much it has improved. If Squalicum plays clean, there’s no reason to think it won’t make its third consecutive state appearance.
Herald prediction: Squalicum 42-17