Class 3A State Football Playoffs first round Bethel at Ferndale
Time: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Civic Stadium, Bellingham
What’s at stake: Winner moves on to the Class 3A state quarterfinals and will host Mercer Island or O’Dea Nov. 17 or 18. The loser is eliminated.
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Previous state playoff meetings: First meeting
SCOUTING THE BRAVES
Coach: Mark Iddins (fourth season)
Seed: West Central District No. 3
State appearances (last): 10 (2011)
State playoff record: 10-10
State titles: None
After finishing second in the 3A Pierce County League, Bethel pulled away late to beat Yelm 32-22 in the district playoffs Friday. Freshman Will Latue rushed for four touchdowns, including a 6-yard game winner and a 7-yard game clincher in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Nate Hughes has been one of the South Sound’s most efficient quarterbacks this year, after the Braves struggled to decide on a starter last year. One area of concern for the team this year has been its run defense, but Bethel has found a way to win ballgames. The Braves’ lone loss of the season came 44-29 to Lincoln on Sept. 15.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Coach: Jamie Plenkovich (14th season)
Seed: Northwest District No. 1
State appearances (last): 21 (2016)
State playoff record: 23-20
State titles: One (2005)
After winning the 3A Wesco North title, Ferndale cruised past Ballard 70-7 in the district playoffs Friday. Cole Semu rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries in the game, giving him 1,472 yards and 31 rushing TDs this season. He’s averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Jacob Broselle rushed for 66 yards and two TDs, giving him 533 yards and five scores this year, while James Hinson threw his 12th and 13th TDs of the season when he connected with Watiko Leighton and Reid Benson. The Ferndale defense was particularly impressive, holding Ballard to 12 yards on 20 carries, scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery and intercepting two passes.
Key to the game: Ferndale’s offensive strength of running the ball (346.8 yards per game) seems to play to Bethel’s defensive weakness, so the Golden Eagles need to exploit that. Ferndale also played nearly error free in spite of the cold and snow last week, and a similar performance certainly would help this week.
Prediction: Ferndale 42-10.