Class 1A State Football Quarterfinals Montesano at Meridian
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Site: Civic Stadium, Bellingham
What’s at stake: Winner moves on to the 1A state semifinals and will host La Center or Cascade Christian Nov. 25. The loser is eliminated.
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Previous state playoff meetings: Montesano won a first-round meeting in 2009 54-14, a 2007 quarterfinal 21-7 and a 2004 first-round meeting 27-20; Meridian won a 1996 first-round meeting 37-0, a 1995 first-round game 29-20, a 1992 first-round meeting 24-17 and a 1984 semifinal 19-9.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Coach: Terry Jensen (16th season)
Seed: District 4 No. 1
State appearances (last): 29th (2016)
State playoff record: 35-25
State titles: Three (1983, ’94, 2013)
After winning the Evergreen 1A title, Montesano beat Stevenson 63-12 in the district playoffs and Charles Wright 41-0 in the first round of state Friday. Senior quarterback Trevor Ridgway passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns against Charles Wright and rushed for a third, while Carson Klinger rushed for 114 yards and a TD in the first half. Dakota Reninger caught a pair of scoring tosses and had two more apparent TDs nullified by penalties, but the Bulldogs still had 14 plays gain at least 12 yards. Defensively, Montesano had eight sacks in the game, with sophomore Brent Hollatz accounting for half of them. Seth Dierkop and Gage Iverson also had two sacks apiece.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
Coach: Bob Ames (44th season)
Seed: Northwest District No. 1
State appearances (last): 24th (2016)
State playoff record: 31-20
State titles: Three (1999, 2003, ’06)
After winning the NWC 1A title, Meridian beat Bothell Cedar Park Christian 63-3 in the district playoffs and Hoquiam 63-21 in the first round of state Saturday. Quarterback Simon Burkett passed for 295 yards and five TDs before being lifted in the second half, though he threw two interceptions. The Eastern Washington-bound senior now has 3,142 yards and 38 TDs this season. He spread the ball around, as Lukas Hemenway, Dawson Logan, Tony Schleimer, Kevin Galiano and TJ Dykstra each had a TD catch. Hemenway had a team-high 129 yards, while Bryce Vandenhaak rushed for 52 yards and two TDs and had five catches for 82 yards. The Trojans defense was outstanding, limiting the Grizzlies to 26 yards of total offense in the first half.
Key to the game: The Meridian defense has allowed only 10 points in two playoff games – the 14 others came via pick-6s last week – and Hoquiam’s offensive touchdown didn’t come until the game’s final play against Trojans reserves. Montesano will certainly be a bigger challenge, but if Meridian can get another strong performance out of the unit, the Trojans could be heading to the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
Prediction: Meridian 35-24