1A State Finals Preview, Colville vs. Cascade Christian By Steven Dion
Saturday will mark the fifth time since 2008 that Cascade Christian has played for a 1A state title with the Cougs from the Puyallup Valley claiming the hardware in ’10. The senior class for CCHS is loaded and appears to have the pieces to overturn the close-calls in recent years. Colville will present a hefty challenge though as the Indians have had an impressive run in ’14 en route to their first state championship appearance. There was a 4 game stretch midway through the season where Randy Cornwell’s team outscored opponents 191-7! Colton Vining’s ability to run the ball against a Cougar defense unit which packs a punch in addition to its speed with the likes of Mason Tobeck and Riley Ramos will be an interesting matchup.
The ability of Colville to stop the rushing attack of Zach Bartolome and Robert Terhune who tallied 310 yards on the ground last week will also dictate the outcome of this contact. I talked to CCHS head coach Randy Davis this week and he mentioned how his team used last year’s overtime loss in the semis as motivation to get in the weight room to take care of unfinished business in 2014. Quarterback Jaelin Goldsmith is playing his best football when it matters most and has his sights set on repeating a similar performance as last week when he threw for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns. So far, the extra work has paid dividends, but he also said in his few game tapes of Colville understands the challenge ahead of his team Saturday morning. A long road trip across the state and a chance to grab the first state title in school history is certainly enough motivation for a hungry Colville squad.
2B State Finals Preview, Napavine vs. Okanogan By Steven Dion
The Gridiron Classic kicks off with an intriguing 2B matchup with Okanogan and Napavine. The Bulldogs from the northeast corner of Washington made a statement in the semifinals by pitching a shutout against the 2-time defending champions in Lind-Ritzville-Sprague by the score of 34-0. Okanogan had a fluky loss to Brewster midway through the season, but beat the Bears by four touchdowns the second time the two met up. Napavine dominated Toledo in many key statistical categories last week in the semis, but advanced with a slim six point margin. The Tigers accumulated 346 total yards in the contest and nearly doubled the Indians in plays and first downs.
One thing that Josh Fay may emphasize to his team is not allowing Okanogan to sneak back into the contest late if NHS holds a lead. The combo of Taylor Hicks to Grant McEwen was very effective last Saturday which may lead to more that 11 pass attempts for the Tigers signal-caller in the 2B championship. The last time either of these teams appeared in the championship game was 2008 when Napavine claimed the title. If Okanogan can channel the dominance they demonstrated last weekend, they will be one tough customer. Bringing the hardware home would certainly make the 12 hour round trip for Steve Chamberlain and his Bulldogs well worth it.
1B State Finals Preview, Neah Bay vs. Liberty-Christian By Steven Dion
A clash of the 2012 and 2013 state champs. Neah Bay is the defending champion and winner of 2 in the last 3 seasons. Liberty-Christian defeated Neah Bay to capture the title in 2012 on the final play of the contest. I spoke with the head coach of the Red Devils Tony McCaulley this week and that game was certainly discussed this week to fire up his team, especially upperclassmen that played in the game. McCaulley’s team was tested by Lummi to reach the finals as they were limited to 213 total yards and lost 3 fumbles in a 26-20 win. The Red Devil defense also show signs of vulnerability as Lummi’s three trips to the red zone all resulted in scores. 40 of NBHS’s 45 plays were rushes, so Cole Svec and Reggie Buttram’s ability to move the football with their legs will be important.
Liberty Christian defeated Republic by the score of 46-20 en route to a state final berth. The score doesn’t fully indicate how dominant the Patriots were in this contest. Mike Olson’s team had a four touchdown lead before the Tigers even got on the board. John Lesser was responsible for 6 touchdowns, three by air and three by ground. Both teams have championship experience so it would not be a surprise to see a tight game decided in the fourth quarter. Looking forward to this game at 4 pm on Saturday night.
In the 2B playoffs round of sixteen, Sedro-Woolley hosted the Concrete Lions and the Napavine Tigers on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Napavine’s fans came all the way from south of Chehalis, a close to 300 mile round trip to watch their Tigers put on a show, and the athletes did not disappoint.
Concrete jumped out to an early 8-0 lead on a 2 yard rush by senior Josh Rogge and a successful 2-point try. Napavine quickly answered with a 4 yard quarterback draw by Brady Woodrum to cut the lead to 8-7. The Tigers then forced a Lion punt and struck again on a long pass from freshman Wyatt Stanley to classmate Mark Fagerness to take a 14-8 lead. Concrete answered on their next drive with another 2 yard run, this time by Gibson Fichter, and a successful 2-point try by Fichter to take the lead back from the tigers, 16-14.
But the Lions would fail to see the endzone again on the day and Napavine began pouring on the points. Two more Wyatt Stanley touchdown passes and two more rushing touchdowns closed the contest for the Tigers, who pitched a shut out in the second half against a strong Concrete club. Napavine took care of business and will advance to the state quarterfinals with a 44-16 victory.
Wyatt Stanley – 3 TD passes of 30, 11, and 11 yards
Darrington Loggers Chop Down Seattle Lutheran By Colin Caruso
On a beautiful day in Seattle with the sun shining, the Darrington Loggers traveled south to the big city to take on the Seattle Lutheran Saints. Both of these teams seemingly didn’t want to hold onto the football for the first quarter, which saw six turnovers, three from each team prior to a Bruce Massingale 99 yard score from the Loggers. The Saints turned the ball over again on their next possession, and this time Lane Monteith pounded the ball in the endzone for the Loggers, taking a 12-0 lead into the second quarter.
The game turned sour for the Saints in the second quarter. Two more turnovers for the Saints and a 28 point quarter for the Loggers really put this game out of reach. The Saints were able to get on the board late in the second quarter with a great TD run by Abijah Smith, but still they trailed 40-7 at the half.
The Loggers would tack on two more scores in the third quarter, and an additional score in the fourth, to bring their total to a whopping 60 points on the day. Darrington now moves to 4-0 overall with a good opportunity to make a run deep into the playoffs.
Top Performers: Darrington
Bruce Massingale – 8 carries 207 yards, 2TD
Lane Monteith – 8 carries 39 yards, 2TD
Garrett Green – 8 carries 162 yards, TD
Abijah Smith – 94 yards, rushing TD