High School Football

Storm ready to put last week behind and get back to business in 3A state playoffs

Rainier Beach’s Jerimiah Sio is swarmed by Squalicum players, from left to right, Damek Mitchell, Jack Wendling, Will Russell and Brian Pullman on Friday at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
Rainier Beach’s Jerimiah Sio is swarmed by Squalicum players, from left to right, Damek Mitchell, Jack Wendling, Will Russell and Brian Pullman on Friday at Civic Stadium in Bellingham. eabell@bhamherald.com

Bonney Lake at Squalicum

The Squalicum football team will look to advance to the state quarterfinals for a third straight year and put last week’s brawl with Rainier Beach in the rear-view mirror when it hosts Bonney Lake in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs Friday.

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Civic Stadium

1111 FOOT Squalicum

Scouting the Panthers

Coach: Jason Silbaugh (fifth season, 27-26)

District: West Central (No. 4 seed)

Previous state appearances: Two (last in 2015)

State record: 1-2

State titles: None

Panthers update: Bonney Lake advanced to state for the third time in four years, beating Mercer Island in a shootout 56-42 on Saturday in the 3A quad-district playoffs. Running back Jason Day led the way, scoring a school-record eight touchdowns for the Panthers. He rushed for 273 yards and seven TDs on 35 carries. Adam Fahsel added another 143 yards rushing. Mercer Island was able to stay in the game most of the way with an effective passing game against a normally stout defensive unit, which was susceptible to the play-action pass. Bonney Lake’s losses this year have come against Class 4A power Sumner (41-14 on Sept. 2) and PCL rival Lincoln (14-3 on Oct. 21).

Player to watch: While Day had the numbers last week, he was quick to credit offensive lineman Caleb Davis for opening the holes for him to run through. Teams have been stacking the box to try to slow Day in recent weeks, but Davis and the offensive line have found ways to get him going.

Key for the Panthers: With the exception of last week, the Panthers have allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points only once since the third week of the season. Obviously, they’re going to be challenged against by Squalicum’s high-scoring group, so they’ve got to clean up what gave them problems last week, or it could be a long night.

Scouting the Storm

Coach: Nick Lucey (third season, 30-4)

District: Northwest (No. 2 seed)

Previous state appearances: Two (last in 2015)

State record: 2-2

State titles: None

Storm update: Third-ranked Squalicum advanced to state for the third straight year when Rainier Beach left the field following a brawl in the quad-district playoffs Friday. The Storm led 35-7 at the time of the melee with 4:15 remaining in regulation. In the game, Triston Smith led the way with 131 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Smith now has 1,404 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns this season. Ben Peterson also had a nice game rushing for 47 yards and two TDs and catching four passes for 62 yards and another score. Though he was held to one catch last week, Damek Mitchell is the team’s leading receiver with 701 yards and eight TDs. The Squalicum defense also did not allow a pass completion last week, though Rainier Beach managed 286 yards rushing. Squalicum is trying to reach the state quarterfinals for a third straight year.

Player to watch: Mercer Island showed that the Boney Lake defense is vulnerable to a passing attack. Squalicum quarterback Garrett Sorenson has proven to be plenty capable of making big pass plays with a wide variety of targets, passing for 1,194 yards and 17 touchdowns despite missing two games with injury in September.

Key for the Storm: The Squalicum defense must find a way to slow up Day, and that means playing physical and not allowing the offensive line to open running lanes. Last week the Storm allowed 6.1 yards per carry to Rainier Beach running backs. If Day can break off big chucks of yardage, it could turn the game in Bonney Lake’s favor.

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