CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
SKYVIEW STORM (6-3) AT OLYMPIA BEARS (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Ingersoll Stadium,
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About the Storm: This isn’t your normal three-loss playoff team. The Storm’s losses have been to Camas, Eastside Catholic and O’Dea. QB Brody Barnum(121 of 197 passing, 1,688 yards, 15 TDs; 533 rushing yards) is a dangerous moving target who seems to hit on the biggest plays when he leaves the pocket. The Storm has won three consecutive district playoff games after a 2013 loss at Newport of Bellevue.
About the Bears: If Olympia is going to have any chance of advancing to the state playoffs for the first time since 2011, RB Scott Gunther (213 carries, 1,639 yards, 30 TDs) has to find daylight. Expect the Bears to do various things formation-wise to give him creases. And on defense, speedy LB Zaiden Hernandez will be the one expected to spy Barnum.
TNT pick: Skyview, 28-24.
CLASS 4A DISTRICTS
BELLARMINE PREP LIONS (6-3) AT TODD BEAMER TITANS (8-1)
7 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Federal Way
About the Lions: The Beamer defense has seen many dual-threat quarterbacks in the 4A NPSL. QB Christian Moore (123 of 214 passing, 1,780 yards, 12 TDs) is a different animal altogether as a passer. If given time, Moore could have a big day against the Titans’ secondary. A Lions victory on Saturday will extend their string of state-playoff appearances to seven in a row.
About the Titans: Coach Darren McKay knows this Bellarmine Prep program well. He coached against the Lions when he was at Timberline and Gig Harbor. And his nephew, Garrett, was a starting wide receiver. His front seven on defense will have a huge size advantage against Bellarmine Prep’s offensive line. The Titans must get pressure on Moore in the pocket.
TNT pick: Bellarmine Prep, 19-17.
CLASS 3A DISTRICTS
STADIUM TIGERS (6-3) AT PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Roy Anderson Field, Purdy
About the Tigers: These two schools met in a nonleague game in Purdy in the second week — a 27-19 Seahawks victory. Right now, this offense is operating at a much higher level than in September, led by QB Hunter Wendling (183 of 271 passing, 2,516 yards, 20 TDs). The Tigers spread it around, but WR Max Novak (66 catches, 928 yards, 11 TDs) has had a monster finish to the year.
About the Seahawks: After his team’s 7-3 loss to Timberline for the 3A SSC title, coach Ross Filkins noted that a handful of breakdowns in the blocking scheme led to the offensive malaise. Peninsula needs to get the run game going, led by RB Kenny Easton (166 carries, 1,045 yards, six TDs). Easton and Blake Cantu combined for 249 rushing yards in the previous game against Stadium.
TNT pick: Peninsula, 29-22.
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 9 CHIAWANA RIVERHAWKS (8-1) AT NO. 7 GONZAGA PREP BULLPUPS (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Bullpup Stadium, Spokane
The skinny: As seen periodically in this district round statewide — this could easily be a matchup late in the state playoffs based on the quality of these two programs. Chiawana’s offense centers on one fantastic workhorse tailback in Andrew Vargas (243 carries, 2,232 yards, 35 TDs). He should see around 40 carries in this showdown. In fact, Vargas alone has outgained the Bullpups’ rushing attack (2,155 yards) out of the triple option. The difference in this Gonzaga Prep team is balance, with QB Ryan Gross (826 passing yards, 10 TDs) able to hurt defenses through the air. Give the nod to the defending Class 4A state champions in their stadium.
TNT pick: Gonzaga Prep, 23-20.
Todd Milles: firstname.lastname@example.org