Time: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Sultan High School
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Pioneers (5-4) update: Nooksack Valley enters as the No. 3 seed out of the 1A NWC and beat Lynden Christian 35-17 Friday to claim a playoff spot. The win ended the Pioneers’ four-game losing slide. Quarterback Casey Bauman turned in a key performance, passing for 293 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 2,325 yards and 22 TDs and just three interceptions this season. Baylor Galley has been his top target with 652 yards and five TDs receiving, while Austin O’Bryan is a dual threat with 705 yards and four TDs rushing and 460 yards and four TDs receiving.
Pioneers previous state appearances (last): Eight (2010).
Turks (4-5) update: Sultan enters at the No. 1 seed out of the 1A Cascade Conference and beat Granite Falls 22-21 in overtime Friday. After being shut out the first two weeks of the season, the Turks swept the 1A teams in the league. Sophomore Brayden Haefele has led the offense with 600 yards and four TDs passing. He’s also rushed for 210 yards – second on the team to senior Tre Sargent’s 399 yards and two TDs, though he hasn’t had a carry the past two weeks. Alex Perrigo is the top receiver with 155 yards and two TDs.
Turks previous state appearances (last): Six (2010).
Key to the game: If Nooksack Valley gets its offense rolling, it could be a long night for the Turks. In their five wins this year, the Pioneers have averaged 43.4 points – nearly double the 22.3 they averaged in their four losses.
Player to watch: Jordan Veening caught six passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns last week in the big win over Lynden Christian, and he added an interception on defense. He’s second on the team with 594 yards receiving and has a team-high seven TD catches.
Prediction: Nooksack Valley 31-14.