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.
The Emerald City Kickoff Classic always comprises great matchups throughout the state in high school football. The ‘Jamboree’ week kicked off with the Bridgeport Mustangs and the Darrington Loggers, both schools of less than 200 students. Bridgeport had a down year last year, winning only one game, while Darrington put up a solid 7-4 record in 2013.
Both teams battled equally in the first quarter, with the ball hovering around midfield and the score remaining at 0-0. Darrington began to awaken in the second quarter.
Lane Monteith, a 5’9 215 pound senior for the Loggers took over the contest both offensively and defensively. He scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, and led all players in tackles with 6.5 total, 5 solo.
With such small enrollment, neither team had more than 20 players suited, and Darrington finished the game with just 13 players due to injuries throughout the course of the game. Look for the Loggers to continue to play great football on the back of Monteith and their quarterback Trent Green.
Darrington finished off Bridgeport 35-7. It looks like Bridgeport will continue to rebuild this year, but look for a better result overall than last season.
Top Performers: Bridgeport
Jonathan Oregon, 12 carries for 93 yards
Lane Monteith, 9 carries for 52 yards, 2TDs, 6.5 tackles