Meridian at King’s
The Meridian football team travels to face King’s in the Class 1A Northwest District playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 5. The winner moves on to the state playoffs.
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: King’s High School
Scouting the Trojans: Meridian wrapped up the regular season with a 49-7 loss to Mount Baker Oct. 28, but rebounded to beat Nooksack Valley in a Kansas Tiebreaker Tuesday, earning the 1A NWC’s No. 2 seed to the Northwest District playoffs. Simon Burkett threw for 245 yards in the loss against Mount Baker, but was intercepted a season-high four times in the game. T.J. Dykstra, who had a crucial interception in the tiebreaker, was Burkett’s top target, catching seven passes for 101 yards. Despite what the score might show, Meridian’s defense did an admirable job, limiting the Mountaineers to 231 total yards, inclduing 175 on the ground. But Meridian struggled with its own running game, gaining just 29 yards on 12 carries.
Trojan to watch: Tony Schleimer has lived up to his last name, developing into a dependable running back. Schleimer, who is the nephew of Mount Baker standout Jed Schleimer and a long list of Mountaineers standouts at the position, has 616 yards and 10 TDs on 131 carries this season.
Meridian’s key to victory: The Trojans are making their 18th straight postseason appearance and have advanced to state 14 times during that string. The task to make it this year certainly will be a tall one, but don’t put it past coach Bob Ames and his staff to find a way to surprise a very talented opponent.
Scouting the Knights: Eighth-ranked King’s won its fifth straight, topping Sultan 48-7 Oct. 21, and enter as the No. 1 seed out of the Cascade Conference. The Knights’ only losses this year have come at the hands of Archbishop Murphy (38-0 on Sept. 16) and Burlington-Edison (38-7 on Sept. 2). The defending state runners up are seeking an eighth straight appearance in the state bracket. Andrew Cline rushed for 71 yards and a TD on 10 attempts in the game, while quarterback Jack Van Dyke passed for 103 yards and threw TD passes to Brennon Blevins and Breven Campbell.
Knight to watch: Running back Caleb Pery rushed for 201 yards and fourth touchdowns on 16 carries in the win over Sultan. He and Cline make quite a dynamic duo that Meridian must find a way to slow.
King’s key to victory: The Knights have averaged 53.4 points during their five-game win streak. If they get that kind of production again, Meridian, which has topped 40 points only once this season, will be hard pressed to keep up.
Herald prediction: King’s 42-17