Washington teams across most classifications begin the postseason this weekend with play-in games for slots in their respective state playoff brackets. In Idaho, meanwhile, teams reach the quarterfinals. At a glance, here are the weekend playoff games:
4A: Walla Walla (5-4)
at Gonzaga Prep (8-1)
Road to postseason: Walla Walla finished second in the Mid-Columbia Conference. G-Prep captured the Greater Spokane League 4A title.
Statistical leaders: Quarterback Trevor Cornado has led WW, throwing for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns. He didn’t play in the Blue Devils’ regular-season finale because of an injured ankle. WW had the second-best defense in the MCC. RB Jack Bamis has led G-Prep with 857 yards in league with more than 1,000 overall.
At a glance: G-Prep made too many mistakes last week but found a way to prevail over Ferris. The Bullpups must shore up those things. Still, G-Prep has too many weapons for WW to contain, and the Bullpups’ defense has been a steady force.
4A: Lewis and Clark (5-4)
vs. Chiawana (8-1)
Friday, Edgar Brown Stadium, 7
Road to postseason: LC finished second in the GSL 4A. Chiawana captured the MCC title.
Statistical leaders: It’s no secret what has been at the forefront of Chiawana’s success. Running back Austin Urlacher has rushed for 1,784 yards and 24 TDs. He could eclipse 2,000 Friday unless LC keeps him under control. LC RB Taylor Duncan, who has more than 1,000 yards overall, had 811 in league with 10 TDs.
At a glance: It’s no secret what the Tigers must do to win. They must find a way to corral Urlacher and not let the defending state champions run them over. The only way LC can win is keep it a low-scoring game.
3A: Shadle Park (6-3)
vs. Kamiakin (7-2)
Friday, Lampson Stadium, 7
Road to postseason: Shadle took second in the GSL 3A. Kamiakin earned the MCC’s top seed.
Statistical leaders: RB T.J. Faamausili ranked second in the MCC with 1,092 yards and 18 TDs. QB Brett Rypien piled up the statistics in league again for Shadle, finishing with 2,029 yards and 23 TDs against just three interceptions.
At a glance: The Highlanders haven’t been hitting on all cylinders for a month. The last quality win was a 25-13 decision Oct. 3 over G-Prep. Shadle must return to that form to have a chance against Kamiakin. The Braves will dial up a defensive plan for Rypien. The question is if Shadle can slow down Kamiakin’s pound-and-ground attack.
3A: Kennewick Lions (5-4)
vs. Mt. Spokane Wildcats (7-2)
Friday, Albi Stadium, 5:30
Road to postseason: Mt. Spokane captured the GSL 3A title. Kennewick earned the MCC’s second seed.
Statistical leaders: Kennewick has been led by RB Dwight Norwood, who has rushed for 1,059 yards and 14 TDs. QB Matt Pulliam has led the Wildcats with a combined 1,103 yards passing and rushing.
At a glance: Mt. Spokane just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing – playing great defense and being efficient on offense. A slow start will allow Kennewick to hang around. If Mt. Spokane starts quickly, it will be a long night for the Lions.
5A: Capital (8-2)
at Lake City (8-1)
Road to postseason: Capital finished second in its division and won a first-round game against Skyline. LC captured the 5A Inland Empire League title.
Statistical leaders: QB Conner Poulson has led Capital, throwing for 1,597 yards and 24 TDs to lead all QBs in the Southern Idaho Conference. Poulson is a dual-threat QB. Capital has two RBs who have gained 600 yards. LC QB Michael Goggin has thrown for 1,883 yards and 15 TDs. Lake City’s dangerous player is all-purpose back Jerry Louie-McGee, who can score from anywhere on the field.
At a glance: Lake City has essentially had three weeks for some of its injured players to heal, especially RB Connor Newby. Capital will have difficulty defending all of LC’s weapons. No doubt the Eagles will move the ball, but LC’s defense must be opportunistic.
Coeur d’Alene (7-3) at Rocky Mountain (7-2)
Road to postseason: Rocky Mountain won its division title. CdA earned an at-large berth and defeated Meridian in a first-round game.
Statistical leaders: RB Jake Roper led RM to a divisional title by rushing for 261 yards and four TDs in a 54-36 win over Capital. The Grizzlies will use as many as four RBs. CdA has been led by junior QB Austin Lee, who has passed for 3,107 yards and 21 TDs. Six receivers have caught 15 or more.
At a glance: CdA returned to form and found its swagger in a road win over Meridian last week. The Vikings must limit penalties and mental mistakes to advance to the semifinals, which would likely be a rematch against top-ranked Highland. LC beat Rocky on a last-second field goal to open the season.
4A: Sandpoint (6-4)
at Blackfoot (8-0)
Road to postseason: Blackfoot won its conference title. Sandpoint earned the IEL 4A second seed and defeated Century in a first-round game.
At a glance: The Bulldogs built a difficult league schedule for a game like this. Coach Satini Puailoa believes Sandpoint has played five teams as good as or better than the No. 1-ranked Broncos. Sandpoint went 1-4 against those teams but was competitive. The Bulldogs’ one win was against GSL 3A champ Mt. Spokane. Sandpoint is breaking the trip up to eastern Idaho over two days.
4A: Rigby (5-4)
at Lakeland (7-2)
Road to postseason: Rigby finished second in its conference then scored a big first-round win over Kuna. Lakeland captured the IEL 4A title.
At a glance: The Hawks should come out storming after having a week off and time to scout and prepare. Rigby’s strength has been defense, but the Trojans will be without defensive leader and linebacker Alan Caudillo, who was ejected for inadvertently kicking a player’s head. Lakeland’s balanced offense is led by QB Tyrel Derrick.
3A: Fruitland (7-2)
at Timberlake (8-1)
Road to postseason: Fruitland finished second in the Snake River Valley. Timberlake won the Intermountain League title.
At a glance: Fruitland has played in the state title game eight straight years. Several times in that span the Grizzlies have been the road block to Timberlake advancing in the playoffs. The Tigers would like nothing more than to end Fruitland’s streak. The Tigers’ defense must rise up.
2A: St. Maries (6-3)
at Orofino (8-1)
Road to postseason: St. Maries qualified automatically as the third seed from District I-II and advanced by beating New Plymouth 36-28 last week. It was St. Maries’ first playoff win since 1987. Orofino got a bye by finishing second in District I-II.
At a glance: This is a rematch of a tightly contested game Orofino won 15-14 in which St. Maries committed six turnovers. The Lumberjacks will be out to prove they’re worthy of advancing one more week in the playoffs. They’ll have to sustain more drives and continue to play sound defense.
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