Class 1B State Playoffs
LOPEZ AT LUMMI
Time: 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
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Site: Lummi Nation School
Lobos update: Lopez (8-2) earned a dominating 62-8 Class 1B State Playoff opening-round win over Evergreen Lutheran last week. Lopez beat Naselle 56-24 the previous week in the quad-district playoffs to advance to the state round. The Lobos are led by the two-prong rushing attack of Vinny Kramer and Edwin Kramer. Senior quarterback Rande Gruenwald gives the Lobos a dual-threat with his arm and his legs, and Lummi coach Jim Sandusky said this year’s Lopez team is arguably the school’s best in program history. Lopez is averaging 52.2 points per game and scored a combined 42 points during both its losses. Besides the loss to Lummi, Lopez lost to Neah Bay 54-14 in Week 5.
Blackhawks update: Lummi (9-3) overcame a long bus ride and snowy conditions to earn a 52-0 Class 1B State Playoff opening-round win against Lyle-Wishram on the road last week. The Blackhawks’ defense was dominant in the win, blanking Lyle-Wishram and holding its offense to 10 total yards. Lyle-Wishram threw for 29 yards and amassed negative 19 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Lummi quarterback Austin Brockie threw for two touchdowns, and Hank Hoskins ran for a 50-yard touchdown on the game’s first play. Enrique Medina caught a 40-yard touchdown pass, and John Ballew ran for a score. Lummi played Lopez on Nov. 1 and beat the Lobos 66-28. The Blackhawks have won seven of their last eight games.
Key to the game: It would be easy for Lummi to look forward to a potential state semifinal matchup with rival Neah Bay. It seems every year the two have met in the state playoffs. But Lopez has proved it’s a strong team this season, and Lummi can’t overlook its talent. If the Blackhawks provide maximum effort and continue to make explosive offensive plays, the Lummi-Neah Bay postseason matchup should happen, yet again.
Offensive player to watch: Dean Williams has come on of late and should again provide a strong option for either starting quarterback Hoskins or backup Brockie. Williams has game-changing ability and undoubtedly will be a tough matchup for Lopez’s secondary.
Defensive player to watch: Coach Jim Sandusky complimented defensive end Jason James on his strong performance last week against Lyle-Wishram. The junior again should be relied upon heavily to stop Lopez’s rushing attack led by the Kramer brothers.
Herald’s pick: Lummi 58-28
Class 2A State Playoffs
SQUALICUM AT TUMWATER
Time: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
Site: Tumwater District Stadium
Storm update: Squalicum (9-2) continued its offensive assault last week and played tremendous defensively, earning a 45-7 Class 2A State Playoff opening-round win over Orting on the road. The Storm led 31-0 at half and rolled the rest of the way to clinch the team’s first state win in program history. Standout junior wide receiver Josiah Westbrook tallied 163 yards and touchdowns of 33, 47 and 63 yards on four receptions, and quarterback Christian Jorgensen completed 12 of 16 passes for 279 yards, three TDs and one interception. Running back Nick Manchester ran for 60 yards and two TDs on six carries. Last week’s win marked the fifth straight week Squalicum has scored more than 40 points.
Thunderbirds update: Tumwater (11-0) racked up 473 rushing yards during its Class 2A State Playoff 42-24 opening-round win against Fife last week. The top-ranked T-Birds led 28-3 at half and were never seriously threatened in the second half. All-purpose player Griffin Shea finished with 266 rushing yards on 10 carries, and QB Noah Andrews recorded 122 rushing yards on eight carries. Tumwater is averaging 44.6 points per game and is allowing an average of 11.6 . The T-Birds are led by running back Ian Saner, who was recently selected 2A Evergreen Conference Offensive MVP.
Key to the game: Squalicum has proved, especially during the second half of the season, its offense is tough to stop. It has so many weapons to account for, stopping the Storm isn’t easy. Squalicum should get its points, even against a power such as Tumwater. But will the Storm’s defense be able to slow down the Thunderbirds’ prolific run game? If Squalicum can, and its offense can protect the football, the Storm have a chance.
Offensive player to watch: Manchester has played outstanding since he’s returned to full health, scoring 10 rushing TDs since Week 6. The Storm will need him to be effective in order to open up Squalicum’s potent pass game.
Defensive player to watch: Senior defensive lineman Chris Paz is a player Squalicum can lean on in the trenches to help set the tone against Tumwater’s rushing attack. In the Storm’s biggest game in program history, it’ll need some seniors to step up.
Herald’s pick: Tumwater 28-24
Class 2A State Playoffs
HOCKINSON AT LYNDEN
Time: 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22
Site: Civic Stadium
Hawks update: Hockinson (11-0) leaned on its overwhelming defense to record a 7-2 Class 2A State Playoff opening-round win against North Kitsap last week on the road. The win marked the ninth time the Hawks’ defense had allowed seven or fewer points. Hockinson trailed 2-0 before running back Tommy Harshaw ran for an eventual game-winning, 29-yard third quarter touchdown. Hockinson limited North Kitsap to 99 rushing yards on 35 carries and yielded only 61 passing yards. Harshaw led Hockinson with 45 rushing yards on 14 carries, and quarterback Mitch Lines completed 6 of 13 passes for 79 yards. Hockinson’s defense is allowing an average of 4.8 points per game.
Lions update: Lynden (10-1) used big plays on offense and engineered an impressive defensive performance during a 41-21 Class 2A State Playoff opening-round win against River Ridge at Civic Stadium last week. Wide receiver Jonathan Whetnall got the Lions started with two big pass receptions, and Lynden’s defense blanked River Ridge until the Lions’ backups entered the game. Lynden led 35-0 at half and started the running clock with an early second-half score. Quarterbacks Sterling Somers and Clark Hazlett combined to go 10 of 18 for 258 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. Running back Trent Postma ran for 41 yards and two TDs, and Whetnall tallied 128 yards and a score. Jordan Wittenberg and Scooter Hastings each caught touchdown passes.
Key to the game: Hockinson loves to run the football, and Lynden’s run defense is beginning to mold into form after struggling a bit toward the end of the regular season. Coach Curt Kramme placed an emphasis on sound tackling. If the Lions can prevent the big play, their offense should be able to do enough against a Hockinson’s defense.
Offensive player to watch: Jordan Wittenberg has been Mr. Consistent all year. The junior has 1,174 receiving yards and 11 TDs. The only three games he hasn’t scored, he went for more than 100 yards. There’s no reason to think he won’t show up again Saturday.
Defensive player to watch: Lynden will need a strong performance out of 2A defending all-state POY Trent Postma. There aren’t many linebackers better than him, and he will be counted on to set the tone against the Hawks’ ground-and-pound offense.
Herald’s pick: Lynden 31-13
Class 1A State Playoffs
EATONVILLE AT MOUNT BAKER
Time: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22
Site: Civic Stadium
Cruisers update: Eatonville (10-0) rolled to an easy win and scored a season high in points with a 72-34 Class 1A State Playoff win against Charles Wright at home last week. The Cruisers led 41-18 at half and outscored Charles Wright 31-16 in the second half. The Cruisers are led by junior quarterback Jacob Mccormick, who has completed 59 of 100 passes this fall for 941 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Eatonville’s running game touts three effective backs. Logan Moose, George Tomal and Ryan Franz have each ran for more than 500 yards. Moose has logged 541 yards and 10 TDs, Tomal has 623 yards and seven TDs and Franz has a team-high 644 yards and 11 TDs.
Mountaineers update: Mount Baker (9-2) got strong blocking up front and received tremendous efforts by running backs Liam Short and Jed Schleimer, as the Mountaineers earned a 41-28 Class 1A State Playoff opening-round win against Montesano at home last week. Short and Schleimer combined for 404 yards. Short racked up 213 yards and two TDs on 28 carries, and Schleimer put together a career-best 191-yard peformance and also scored an early touchdown. Baker led 21-0 after the first quarter The Bulldogs cut the Mountaineers’ lead to 28-21 early in the third quarter, but Baker pulled away with 13 unanswered points. The Mountaineers finished with 458 rushing yards, Zach Yurchuk and Johnny Mata scored TDs and quarterback Mason Bass threw an early 11-yard touchdown pass to Carson Schmidt.
Key to the game: Mount Baker should face a tougher test this week. The Mountaineers pride themselves on physicality, and that showed last week with Short’s and Schleimer’s hard running. If Baker again can be the more physical team, it could find itself back in the Tacoma Dome.
Offensive player to watch: Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said in the past few weeks “the light switch has come on” for sophomore back Schleimer. If he can build off last week’s momentum and continue to compliment Short, it would add a key element to the Mountaineers’ offensive.
Defensive player to watch: Linebacker Kolton Zender has put together a big year, and Baker will need him to continue his strong play against Eatonville’s talented offense.
Herald’s pick: Mount Baker 31-24
Class 2A State Playoffs
BURLINGTON-EDISON AT SEDRO-WOOLLEY
Time: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
Site: Arlington High School
Cubs update: Sedro-Woolley (10-1) put together a masterful defensive performance last week, earning a 41-0 home win over Chehalis W.F. West during the opening round of the Class 2A State Playoffs. The Cubs’ defense yielded 130 total yards (56 rush, 74 pass), and Mason Elms accounted for 194 yards and four touchdowns. The do-everything back ran for 142 yards and and three scores and hauled in two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Carter Crosby added two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.
Tigers update: Burlington-Edison (8-3) came from behind to earn a 13-3 Class 2A State Playoff opening-round win over Kingston on the road last week. Running back Lorenzo Mationg led the Tigers with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Quarterback Mason Schwetz completed 7 of 14 passes for 102 yards, and Tarren Lautenbach caught a team-best three passes for 73 yards. Burlington-Edison’s defense limited Kingston to 70 rushing yards on 23 carries and 154 passing yards. The Tigers have allowed only 30 points during their past four games. Burlington-Edison played Sedro-Woolley in Week 3 and suffered a 28-10 home loss.
Player to watch: Carter Crosby recorded seven touchdowns through the first five weeks of the season but missed the past five games before returning against W.F. West last week. His return gives even more firepower to the Cubs’ offense. He scored twice during Sedro-Woolley’s first meeting with Burlington-Edison. Expect him to cross the goal line a time or two this time as well.
Herald’s pick: Sedro-Woolley 30-14