Cascade Christian certainly has a new non-conference rival on nail-biters.
It is the Meridian Trojans, coached by longtime coach Bob Ames.
And the two perennial Class 1A playoff programs went down to the wire again Friday night.
The difference was the Trojans’ defense, which got a fourth-down stop and an interception in the final four minutes to turn away the Cougars, 34-29, at Meridian High School.
Simon Burkett threw four touchdown passes for No. 8 Meridian, including the game-winning 1-yarder to Harlon Stuit with less than four minutes remaining.
Fourth-ranked Cascade Christian raced down to the Trojans’ 34, and faced a fourth-and-1 with two minutes to go. But quarterback Parker Johnson was stuffed by Meridian’s Manny Salbaza, and the Cougars turned it over on downs.
They got the ball back with 1:04 remaining, and crossed midfield again. But Johnson’s pass was picked off by Dawson Logan to sew up the Trojans’ victory.
Last season, Cascade Christian preserved a 34-33 regular-season victory with a blocked PAT kick in Sumner. But Meridian avenged that defeat in the state playoffs with a 34-21 win – in a game that was tied 21-21 with seven minutes to go.
“They made the plays, and we didn’t,” Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said. “They’re a good team. That quarterback (Burkett) is the deal.”
Of course, Davis would not mind seeing the Trojans down the road in November.
“If we can play out the same script as they did last year, I’ll take it,” Davis said.
Puyallup 35, at Rogers 0: Jacob Holcomb threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and the Vikings made it a clean sweep of their intra-district rivals by shutting out the Rams at Sparks Stadium.
It was Puyallup’s first shutout victory since blanking Rogers back in 2014.
4A NPSL OLYMPIC
At Auburn 42, Decatur 27: Zeke Turner rushed for 107 yards, and Joe Fagan added 103 as the Trojans pounded the Gators in the ground in earning a victory at Memorial Stadium.
Cole Washburn had a big night for Auburn, scoring on a 40-yard fumble return in the first quarter, then putting the game away with his short scoring run early in the fourth quarter.
Lakes 24, at Wilson 9: The Lancers forced four turnovers, and got just enough offense to beat the Rams at Stadium Bowl.
Jaiden Archie’s 52-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter gave Lakes a 24-2 lead.
Khalil Lewis rushed for 79 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown.
2A SPSL MOUNTAIN
At White River 28, Foster 21: T.J. Stroschein hit Jacob Selander on a 15-yard touchdown pass with less than four minutes remaining for the game-winning score, and the Hornets came back in the second half to win in Buckley.
Luke Northam’s 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter cut Foster’s lead to 21-20, setting up the Hornets’ late-game heroics.
At Washington 56, Evergreen of Seattle 7: Ezra Adams’ 92-yard kickoff return late in the first quarter broke a 7-7 tie, and the Patriots flattened the Wolverines at Franklin Pierce District Stadium in Parkland.
2A SPSL SOUND
Eatonville 57, at Clover Park 13: Caden Jumper and Alex Brymer scored four touchdown runs apiece, and the Cruisers pulled away late in the first half at Harry E. Lang Stadium.
Wade Wikander broke a 13-13 tie with his 28-yard field goal late in the first half, and Brymer pushed the Eatonville advantage to 23-13 with his 7-yard scoring run with 33 seconds remaining before halftime.
At River Ridge 34, Orting 7: Running back Brian Melloy rushed for 116 yards on 24 carries, and quarterback Tomasi Manu chipped in with 49 as the Hawks handled the Cardinals at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.
Rochester 21, Charles Wright Academy 7: It was a strong showing for the Warriors as they battled hard to win out over the Tarriers.
“We ran the ball well early. They made some defensive adjustments that slowed us down from the second quarter on,” Rochester coach John Moorhead said. “They made some defensive adjustments that slowed us down from the second quarter on.”
However, it was the defense for Rochester that held the Tarriers to only seven total points that helped give them the edge.
“The entire defensive backfield played very well,” Moorhead said. “We had about three kids that normally don’t start come in and play the whole game.”
However, the Warriors still have some things to work on even in victory.
“We gotta execute better when people make their defensive adjustments,” Moorhead said. “They did a good job adjusting, probably better than we did but our kids played hard.”
Rainier 74, Chief Leschi 0: It was a game that the Warriors don’t want to remember as the Mountaineers won in big fashion.
Leading the way was Zach Loftgren, earning 189 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.