High School Football

State quarterfinals: High school football games of the week, predictions

Peninsula’s Braeden Potter (30) leaps over a cluster of players during a run in the first quarter. Peninsula High School payed Bethel in a football game at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
Peninsula’s Braeden Potter (30) leaps over a cluster of players during a run in the first quarter. Peninsula High School payed Bethel in a football game at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Every high school football game to watch in the state quarterfinals in the South Sound and beyond this weekend.

Note: Ranking numbers are seeds as assigned by the WIAA state playoffs seeding committees.

4A STATE PLAYOFFS

NO. 6 GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN EAGLES (10-1) VS. NO. 3 LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS (11-0)

7 p.m. Saturday, Lake Stevens High School

About the Eagles: Can the Eagles dial up a repeat of last season, when they put up 38 points on the road and bumped Lake Stevens in the first round? The offense is still there. Graham-Kapowsin’s backfield is averaging 233.2 yards per game, and 6.5 yards per carry behind a sturdy offensive line. And QB Dylan Morris (160 of 262, 2,370 yards, 27 TDs), a UW commit, is on the cusp of becoming just the seventh player in state history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career. He needs 386 yards to hit that mark, and is currently ninth on the all-time passing list behind Lake Stevens’ Jacob Eason (now at UW) and Hockinson’s Canon Racanelli (Central Washington).

About the Vikings: Lake Stevens will test Graham-Kapowsin’s defense on the ground. As impressive as the Eagles’ rushing totals are, the Vikings’ totals are even better. The Lake Stevens backfield is averaging 258.7 yards per game, and 8 yards per carry, with RB Dallas Landeros (121 carries, 952 yards, eight TDs) and RB Thomas Lewis (79 carries, 725 yards, 12 TDs) leading the way. WR Kasen Kinchen (34 catches, 849 yards, 12 total TDs) is also the Vikings’ best defensive player with seven interceptions. Lake Stevens has been in the state playoffs each of the past five seasons, but hasn’t advanced to the semifinals since 2015.

TNT pick: Lake Stevens, 40-38

NO. 5 PUYALLUP VIKINGS (10-1) VS. NO. 4 MOUNT SI WILDCATS (10-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Mount Si High School, Snoqualmie

About the Vikings: Puyallup has a pretty good record in the state quarterfinals — in the program’s previous eight appearances in this round, the Vikings have made it to the semifinals five times. Will that success continue? It’s tough to bet it won’t. QB Jacob Holcomb (176 of 252, 2,648 yards; 99 carries, 619 yards; 46 total TDs), the 4A SPSL MVP, hasn’t faced a defense that has held him in check for four full quarters. And, the Vikings have plenty more weapons, including RB Kyle Cramer (217 carries, 1,355 yards, 18 TDs), who gashed Eastmont in the opening round for 235 yards. Defensively, LB Danny Uluilakepa has a classification-leading 146 tackles.

About the Wildcats: How far can Oregon commit Cale Millen (261 of 346, 3,439 yards; 95 carries, 398 yards; 50 total TDs) take these Wildcats? Millen, who holds all of the program’s passing records, has Mount Si in the state playoffs for the first time since 2013 — and the first time ever as a 4A school. With his 47 passing TDs, Millen also has a chance to become the fifth QB in state history to throw for 50 or more. WR Jonny Barrett (87 catches, 1,460 yards, 27 TDs) is Millen’s top target in a pass-heavy offense, and his 27 receiving TDs are fourth all-time for a single season.

TNT pick: Puyallup, 45-42

3A STATE PLAYOFFS

NO. 7 PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (9-2) VS. NO. 2 O’DEA FIGHTING IRISH (9-1)

5 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Seattle

About the Seahawks: Coach Ross Filkins has led the Seahawks to the state playoffs eight times in his 23 years. But, Peninsula seems to get tripped up in this round. This will be the sixth time in the past seven years that the Seahawks will play in the state quarterfinals, but they’re still searching for that semifinals berth. Peninsula hasn’t been to the semifinals since 1979 — a year after the program won its only title. QB Burke Griffin (101 of 159, 1,414 yards; 126 carries, 1,036 yards; 23 total TDs) leads the Seahawks in passing and rushing, while RB Braeden Potter (132 carries, 932 yards, 17 totals) has become a reliable weapon in the past several games.

About the Fighting Irish: The defending 3A state champions have won it all four times — and all under Monte Kohler, who is 62 wins away from passing Tumwater’s Sid Otton as the winningest coach in state history. The Irish have been to nine title games with Kohler, and are 14-8 in the quarterfinals in their history, dating back to their first appearance in the state playoffs in 1978. This year’s O’Dea group features a balances rushing attack behind RB Cameron Daniels (91 carries, 599 yards, 13 TDs) and RB Mark Tafia (76 carries, 535 yards, seven TDs).

TNT pick: O’Dea, 20-13

NO. 12 YELM TORNADOS (8-3) VS. NO. 3 BELLEVUE WOLVERINES (11-0)

1 p.m. Saturday, Bellevue High School

About the Tornados: Yelm has already made history. This Tornados team is first to advance to the state playoffs since the program’s only other appearance in 1987. But, no Yelm team has ever made it out of the quarterfinals. QB Kyle Robinson (131 of 240, 2,149 yards, 25 total TDs) and a sure-handed receiving corps led by WR Kodee Gifford (55 catches, 1,087 yards, 11 TDs) look to lift the Tornados to that next historic mark. Yelm’s defense is also in a favorable spot. The Tornados played Tumwater’s version of the wing-T earlier this season, and gave the T-Birds their closest game of the season — Tumwater won, 17-14 — excluding a loss to rival Black Hills.

About the Wolverines: No surprise here — Bellevue is usually still around at this juncture. The Wolverines are 10-time state champions — 12 if you count the titles they vacated for recruiting violations — and have lost just twice in 18 appearances in the quarterfinals. Coach Michael Kneip, a former Bellevue and Washington Huskies player, has the Wolverines’ vaunted wing-T back in shape and averaging 349.2 rushing yards per game. RB Alex Reid (207 carries, 1,328 yards, 13 TDs) leads the way, and has rushed for 100-plus yards in eight consecutive games. Bellevue has attempted just 21 passes this season.

TNT pick: Bellevue, 31-14

NO. 8 TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (9-2) VS. NO. 1 EASTSIDE CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (9-1)

7:45 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Seattle

About the Blazers: Timberline remembers its last meeting with this 3A powerhouse. It was just two seasons ago in Lacey when the Blazers entered halftime tied with Eastside Catholic, only to have the Crusaders shut them out in the second half and roll to a win. The trip north against this year’s Eastside Catholic team could be even tougher, and the Blazers will need veteran QB Hunter Campau (105 of 162, 1,458 yards; 222 carries, 1,366 yards; 34 total TDs) at his best to make a run at the two-time state champions (2014 and 2015). Timberline hasn’t been in the semifinals since 1975.

About the Crusaders: Eastside Catholic is the top-ranked team in the state, regardless of classification, and No. 172 nationally on MaxPreps. RB Sam Adams (59 carries, 753 yards, 13 TDs) has 29 offers from FBS schools, and leads a team that has the biggest group of Division I prospects in the state. But, the quarterfinals doomed the Crusaders last season — Garfield beat them in a 13-10 upset — snapping a streak of five consecutive wins in this round. Eastside Catholic advanced to the 3A championship game in four consecutive seasons between 2012-15, winning titles in 2014 and 2015, but hasn’t been back since.

TNT pick: Eastside Catholic, 35-17

2A STATE PLAYOFFS

NO. 6 TUMWATER T-BIRDS (10-1) VS. NO. 3 LYNDEN LIONS (10-0)

4 p.m. Saturday, Civic Stadium, Bellingham

About the T-Birds: The road only gets tougher for Tumwater, but that has been true for the T-Birds in the state playoffs in most recent years. Last season, they turned a path that included 2A juggernauts Lynden and Archbishop Murphy into a runner-up finish in 2A. But, this time, the T-Birds have a three-hour bus ride to Lynden standing between them and the program’s 16th appearance in the semifinals. The T-Birds have been to the title game nine times, and won in it all in their first five appearances — Tumwater’s most recent title came in 2010 — but has lost in their last four. RB Dylan Loftis (109 carries, 1,251 yards, 18 TDs) is the rushing leader in Tumwater’s wing-T offense.

About the Lions: Seems these two storied programs have met a lot over the years — five times in the state playoffs to be exact, and the Lions hold a 3-2 series advantage. Like Tumwater, Lynden is plenty familiar with this stage of the season — of the program’s eight state titles, six have come in 2A since 2006. When QB James Marsh (52 of 90, 830 yards, 10 TDs) hurt his ankle in September, the Lions put QB Brock Heppner (40 of 64, 691 yards, six TDs) behind center. Now, they rotate. WR/DB Kobe Elsner (19 catches, 374 yards, five TDs) caught a scoring pass from each QB last week, and recorded his school-record tying seventh interception.

TNT pick: Lynden, 24-21

NO. 7 FIFE TROJANS (10-1) VS. NO. 2 BLACK HILLS WOLVES (11-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Tumwater District Stadium

About the Trojans: Fife is on a 10-game winning streak behind longtime coach Kent Nevin’s ground-and-pound offense that averages 250.9 rushing yards per game, and 6.2 yards per carry. The 2A SPSL champions have six backs who have eclipsed the 100-yard mark this season, and no player has been more consistent than QB Gannon Ginnis (146 carries, 927 yards, 28 total TDs), who was dubbed the 2A SPSL Mountain MVP. Fife is making its fourth trip to the quarterfinals, but has never advanced out of this round.

About the Wolves: Can Black Hills, which was heavily rewarded by the seeding committee for its undefeated run through the 2A Evergreen Conference, keep this historic season rolling? The Wolves are in the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history after making first-round exits in each of its first eight appearances — including the past three years. Black Hills is averaging 42.3 points per game — the third-best average in 2A — while allowing an average of just two touchdowns. The Wolves’ 48-8 drubbing of Burlington-Edison last week was the widest margin of any 2A opening round game. RB/DB Taylor Simmons (145 carries, 1,149 yards, 21 TDs), the 2A Evco MVP, is the Wolves’ top two-way threat.

TNT pick: Black Hills, 34-24

NO. 9 STEILACOOM SENTINELS (10-1) VS. NO. 1 HOCKINSON HAWKS (10-0)

6 p.m. Friday, Doc Harris Stadium, Camas

About the Sentinels: If anyone can hang with this high-flying Hockinson program — which hasn’t lost a game since the 2016 district round — it’s Steilacoom. WR/DB Emeka Egbuka (60 catches, 1,307 yards; eight INTs; 24 total TDs) is a force on both sides, and has nine FBS offers as a sophomore. The 2A SPSL Sound co-MVP averages 161.4 all-purpose yards per game, and has hit at least triple digits in yardage this season in four separate categories — receiving, interceptions, kickoff returns and punt returns. Egbuka’s defensive matchup against Hockinson’s Sawyer Racanelli could be one of the most intriguing in the state this season.

About the Hawks: Hockinson remains the team to beat in 2A as it seeks a second consecutive undefeated state title. WR Sawyer Racanelli (81 catches, 1,314 yards, 23 total TDs), who has an offer from Oregon State and serious interest from most of the Pac-12, leads the classification in receiving yards, and isn’t the only deep threat. WR Peyton Brammer (50 catches, 907 yards, 19 TDs) is just as dangerous, and QB Levi Crum (208 of 301, 3,076 yards, 52 total TDs) hasn’t been afraid to air it out in his first season as the Hawks’ starter. Hockinson has scored a classification-leading 497 points in 10 games — just ahead of Steilacoom’s 487 in 11 games.

TNT pick: Hockinson, 49-35

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12
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