4A FIRST ROUND
Rogers (6-4) at No. 2 Federal Way (10-0), 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, Federal Way
About the Rams: Big-play containment will be the key in this game. If Rogers gives up five scores of 25 or more yards like it did in a 41-14 season-opening loss to the Eagles, the result will likely be the same. The Rams are much better now than in August, and recent signs – giving up 108 yards on 41 rushes to Monroe last week – are encouraging.
About the Eagles: Federal Way might have been ripe for an upset last week. The Eagles committed six turnovers. They were down two backfield starters. But RB Zeek McNeal (83 carries, 1,175 yards, 14 TDs this season) pulled his team through with 291 yards rushing against Issaquah. RBs Chico McClatcher and Rod Jones Jr. are expected back.
TNT pick: Federal Way, 40-24.
Computer pick: Federal Way, 35-6.
3A FIRST ROUND
Nathan Hale (8-2) at No. 8 Peninsula (8-2), 7 p.m. at Roy Anderson Field, Purdy
About the Raiders: It’s not how big you are, but how well you work together. Not many 200-pounders take the field for Nathan Hale, but the team wins games – and the Metro League Sound Division title this season. RB Aaron Mandell (four special-team returns for TDs, five blocked punts) is a don’t-miss standout.
About the Seahawks: Peninsula has faced a pair of wing-T programs this season – at Mountain View during the regular season, and last week in a 36-12 state play-in victory over Oak Harbor. But the Raiders run a more wide-open, big-play version of it. RB Jimmy Price (118 carries, 891 yards, 12 TDs) is hitting his stride in the postseason.
TNT pick: Peninsula, 34-21.
Computer pick: Peninsula, 31-8.
2A FIRST ROUND
Steilacoom (6-4) at No. 4 Tumwater (9-1), 7 p.m. at Tumwater Stadium
About the Sentinels: At the season’s midway point, the Sentinels were lost in a complex playbook. So coach Brian Koch went back to basic wing-T principles, utilizing only 10-15 plays. Since then, RBs Brian Thomas (145 carries, 1,307 yards, 18 TDs) and Michael Mack (819 yards, nine TDs) have been nearly unstoppable.
About the Thunderbirds: Say what you want about coach Sid Otton’s wing-T, what is really driving the bus this season is special teams. With RB/WR Andrew Brown (16 returns, six TDs), the Thunderbirds regularly starts drives near midfield. But Tumwater could be sidetracked by suspensions of players this week.
TNT pick: Tumwater, 27-18.
Computer pick: Tumwater, 29-12.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 1 King’s (10-0) at No. 4 Hoquiam (10-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam
Skinny: Too bad the 1A bracket broke this way – many feel this could have been the state championship game. There has been some gamesmanship leading up to the showdown. First, after the contest was originally scheduled for Friday night, King’s requested the game be moved to Saturday afternoon – which was agreed to. Then the bombshell – could the game also be moved to nearby Stewart Field in Aberdeen where there is artificial turf? The Grizzlies did not take kindly to that request, especially after they opened the state playoffs on a frozen field at Connell in 2010, and at King’s last season. The Knights won last year’s first-round game, 42-28, but the Grizzlies will get another shot at Knights’ QB Billy Green (2,626 yards, 42 TDs, two INTs). Hoquiam is paced by tailback Nolan Hoiness (144 carries, 2,039 yards, 29 TDs) and linebacker Ronnie Espedal (122 tackles, 10 tackles for loss).
TNT pick: King’s, 45-42.
Computer pick: Hoquiam, 33-18.todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com