While the Ferndale, Meridian and Mount Baker football teams already secured their postseason spots entering the final week of the regular season, four other Whatcom County squads are playing for the playoff lives and another will be scoreboard watching with baited breath.
Here’s a look at what Whatcom County teams need to have happen in Week 9:
The third and final berth out of the 1A Northwest Conference is still up for grabs, and Nooksack Valley and Lynden Christian are playing what amounts to a one-game, winner-take-all playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday in Lynden. The Pioneers (4-4, 1-4 1A NWC) are seeking their first postseason appearance since 2011, while the Lyncs (3-5, 1-4) last made the district playoffs in 2015. The winner will travel to face Sultan in the district playoffs Nov. 3 or 4.
Meridian (8-0, 5-0) already has clinched the 1A NWC title and knows it will host Bothell Cedar Park Christian in the 1A Northwest District Playoffs in a 7 p.m. game Friday, Nov. 3, at Anacortes High School. Mount Baker (6-2, 3-2), meanwhile, has already clinched the No. 2 seed out of the 1A NWC and will host King’s in the district playoffs at 7 p.m. Nov. 3.
The Trojans and Mountaineers will wrap up the regular season with a game against each other Friday night in Deming.
Squalicum’s postseason hopes are not over, yet, though the road to reach the state playoffs for the fourth straight year is loaded with potential landmines.
The Storm (5-3, 2-3 3A Wesco North) first must beat Arlington at 7 p.m. Thursday at Civic Stadium to force a three-way tie for the third and fourth seeds out of the North division with the Eagles (5-3, 3-2) and Stanwood (3-5, 3-3). If Squalicum wins, the Storm, Eagles and Spartans would play a Kansas City tie-breaker Saturday evening at Civic Stadium.
The first team to win two mini playoffs would receive the No. 3 seed and travel to face Rainier Beach Nov. 3 in the 3A district playoffs. The first team to suffer two mini playoff losses would be eliminated, while the remaining team would be the division’s No. 4 seed and have to face the 3A Wesco South No. 4 on Tuesday for the right to advance to the district playoffs next weekend.
Ferndale (8-0, 5-0) already has at least a share of the 3A Wesco North title and the top seed sewed up heading into Friday’s game at Marysville-Getchell. They will host the Metro League No. 7 either Nov. 3 or 4.
Lynden’s loss to Burlington-Edison last week, took the Lions’ postseason hopes out of their hands. Only the top three teams in the 2A NWC race are guaranteed spots in the district playoffs, and those spots will be filled by Sedro-Woolley (5-3, 4-1 2A NWC), Burlington-Edison (5-3, 4-1) and Lakewood (6-2, 4-1).
The Lions (4-4, 3-3) still have a shot, though, as the fourth-place 2A NWC team is factored in with 2A teams from the Cascade Conference, Wesco and Kingco using the district’s RPI system to determine the three “South” teams to advance to the 2A Northwest District playoffs.
Lynden’s RPI of 0.39167 currently would rank fourth among “South” teams, behind Archbishop Murphy (0.84583), Liberty (0.73902) and Granite Falls (0.43208). If Granite Falls (4-4) were to lose Friday’s game at Sultan, its RPI would drop below Lynden’s mark. But Mountlake Terrace (4-4), which has a 0.31867 RPI, also could jump ahead of Lynden if it wins at Shorecrest Friday night, so even a Granite Falls loss does not guarantee Lynden a trip to the district playoffs.
According to the district’s RPI page, “There are multiple factors to determine who will take South third place until after Friday night contests.”
Lummi doesn’t have a quad-district spot wrapped up, but it’s not far off. If the Blackhawks (6-3, 1-1 NWFL 1B) beat Neah Bay (4-4, 2-0) by more than 14 points Friday, they would claim the No. 1 seed and a bye to the second round of the quad-district playoffs Nov. 10 or 11.
If Lummi wins by between four and 14 points and Tulalip Heritage (5-1, 1-1) beats Crescent (4-4, 0-2) Saturday, Lummi would be the No. 2 seed. If Tulalip wins, and Lummi’s margin of victory over Neah Bay is three or less, Lummi would be the No. 3 seed and face a play-in game Tuesday. That scenario also would be true if Lummi loses Friday and Tulalip wins.
But if Lummi loses and Crescent wins, Lummi, Crescent and Tulalip would tie for the second and third seeds and would need to play a Kansas City tie-breaker Monday to determine which two teams advance.