STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
Lakes (5-4) vs. No. 9 O’Dea (7-2), 4 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Seattle
Skinny: What, this soon? One of these storied programs will miss the Class 3A state playoffs for the first time in years (O’Dea has an 18-year streak; Lakes is on a seven-year run). Neither came close to expectations this season. The Irish are the Metro League’s third seed, and the Lancers are the SPSL 3A’s second seed. Yet for the Lancers, who have defeated O’Dea in their only previous 3A playoff games (14-13 in the 2000 semifinals, and 21-16 in 2008 first round), this might be a good matchup. Led by defensive ends Benning Potoa’e and Gerald Goldwire, and inside linebackers Kevin Thompson and Dre Milton, Lakes has been holding foes to 114.3 yards rushing per game (3.8 yards per-carry average). They will need to be good against the Irish’s four-headed backfield, led by tailback Tatum Taylor and fullback Jack Flor. Lakes also needs a mistake-free effort from quarterback Rhys Gervais (1,474 passing yards, 13 TDs, 12 INTs).
TNT pick: O’Dea, 29-27.
Computer pick: O’Dea, 34-14.
CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
Union (6-3) at No. 7 Graham-Kapowsin (8-1), 7 p.m. today, Art Crate Field, Graham
About the Titans: If a program that has won six state playoff games since 2008 is the underdog, this could be the week’s whopper of a matchup. Both teams have a similar tough, disciplined makeup. Running back Leon Siofele (129 carries, 751 yards, 16 TDs) is an inside hammer, while wide receiver Trent Cowan (40 catches, 611 yards, three TDs) is the athlete to watch.
About the Eagles: G-K might have the advantage in speed. Expect running back Teague James (162 carries, 1,329 yards, 24 TDs) to see plenty of action off tackle – and more end-around runs from speedy wide receiver Kahlil Dawson (1,300 all-purpose yards, eight total TDs). Joe Gomez moved from defensive line to linebacker last week and had 15 tackles.
TNT pick: G-K, 23-17.
Computer pick: Union, 30-23.
CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
Olympia (4-5) at Auburn (7-2), 7 p.m. Saturday, Auburn Memorial Stadium
About the Bears: As often as these two reach the postseason (15 combined state appearances since 1997), this is their first meeting at the district or state level. Olympia is going with ex-receiver Michael Naipo at quarterback, but expect Kaden Wilson to get playing time, too. Defensive back Mitch Fettig (59 tackles, five INTs) stabilizes a bend-but-won’t-break defense.
About the Trojans: This is Auburn’s ninth trip to the playoffs in 11 seasons under coach Gordon Elliott. After missing last season, the Trojans are antsy. Their rushing attack averages 260.0 yards. But Auburn especially needs play-making running back Harold Lee (168.5 all-purpose ypg), who was out last week (head).
TNT pick: Auburn, 20-16.
Computer pick: Auburn, 24-11.
CLASS 3A DISTRICTS
Oak Harbor (6-3) at No. 8 Peninsula (7-2), 7 p.m. today, Roy Anderson Field, Purdy
About the Wildcats: This is no three-loss pushover. Despite coming in on a two-game skid, Oak Harbor held big leads in losses to Marysville-Pilchuck and Meadowdale – both top-10 teams. Fullback Fred Webster (156 carries, 863 yards, nine TDs) leads the double-wing rushing attack, but can a leaky defense stop Peninsula?
About the Seahawks: They dethroned Lakes last week, their first win over the Lancers. The next step is a big playoff run. The defense is outstanding with a plus-20 turnover margin and holding foes to 8.4 points a game after the opener. QB Austin Filkins (106-159, 1,374 yards, 15 TDs) is a leading SPSL 3A MVP candidate.
TNT pick: Peninsula, 37-23.
Computer pick: Peninsula, firstname.lastname@example.org