Class 3A State Football Quarterfinals O’Dea at Ferndale
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Civic Stadium, Bellingham
What’s at stake: Winner moves on the 3A state semifinals and will host either Timberline or Bellevue Nov. 25. The loser is eliminated.
Previous state playoff meetings: O’Dea won a first-round meeting last year 42-21, a first-round game in 2010 31-10, a 2003 quarterfinal 31-0 and a 1995 semifinal 36-0; Ferndale won a 1988 quarterfinal 35-20.
SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH
Coach: Monte Kohler (33rd season)
Seed: District 2 No. 3
State appearances (last): 33rd (2016)
State playoff record: 45-29
State titles: Three (1991, ’94, ’95)
After finishing second in the Metro League Mountain Division standings, O’Dea beat Shadle Park 49-7 in the district playoffs and Mercer Island 55-21 in the first round of state Friday. Junior Mark Tafia and seniors Jamyn Patu and Connor Gregoire all had 100-yard games against Mercer Island. Tafia led the way with 136 yards and three TDs, while Gregoire had 110 yards. Patu’s 111 yards and two TDs gave him seven straight 100-yard games and nine-straight games with a TD and upped his season totals to 1,390 yards and 20 TDs. Quarterback Emonte Scott has passed for 513 yards and five TDs this season, with Victor Felder (217 yards, 3 TDs) the Irish’s top receiver this year. O’Dea’s lone loss this year came Oct. 6 against Eastside Catholic 21-7.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Coach: Jamie Plenkovich (14th season)
Seed: Northwest District No. 1
State appearances (last): 22nd (2016)
State playoff record: 24-20
State titles: One (2005)
After winning the 3A Wesco North title, Ferndale beat Ballard 70-7 in the district playoffs and Bethel 42-14 in the first round of state Friday. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles lost star running back Cole Semu (1,527 yards, 31 TDs rushing) to a lower leg injury on his first carry of the game. Bryan Ebe picked up much of the slack, posting season highs in carries (22), yards (127) and TDs (3). Gabe Zwade also saw a bit more work, rushing 16 times for 58 yards and a TD. Quarterback James Hinson rushed for 51 yards and passed for 134 yards, connecting with Conner Obergottsberger and Reid Benson for scoring passes. Benson has emerged as a valuable big target, catching nine passes for 125 yards and two TDs in Ferndale’s two playoff games. The Golden Eagle’s last appearance in the state semifinals was 2005, when they went on to win the 3A state title.
Key to the game: Though O’Dea won last year’s first-round meeting in Seattle by three touchdowns, Ferndale enter Friday’s quarterfinal with some confidence. For most of the first half, the Golden Eagles were the better team last year, before the Fighting Irish ripped off six straight TDs. If Ferndale can play like it did in the first half for an entire game, and rely on its defense, there’s no reason to think it can change the outcome this year.
Prediction: Ferndale 24-21