High School Sports

State quarterfinals: Top high school football games to watch, predictions

Sumner's Ben Wilson runs during the first quarter. Sumner played Bonney Lake at Sumner High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, September 1, 2017.
Sumner's Ben Wilson runs during the first quarter. Sumner played Bonney Lake at Sumner High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, September 1, 2017. jbessex@gateline.com

STATE QUARTERFINALS

CLASS 4A

MONROE BEARCATS (10-1) VS. NO. 8 SUMNER SPARTANS (9-2)

7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sunset Chev Stadium, Sumner

About the Bearcats: Last week’s plan against Puyallup? Feed Isaiah Lewis (234 carries, 1,962 yards, 24 TDs), and feed him often. He carried it 46 times for 229 yards behind the Bearcats’ massive offensive line – with all five being returning starters, including Eastern Washington commit Josh Jerome – in the 21-14 win at Sparks Stadium. Now they head back to the Valley for the second week in a row – and face Sumner in the state playoffs for the second year in a row after losing a shootout, 58-42, in the first round last year.

About the Spartans: Coach Keith Ross said his team hasn’t seen an offensive line this season like Monroe’s. But these physical games are the ones Sumner loves and thrives on. Just look at last week’s win over the hottest team in the state, No. 3 Union. TCU-bound Ben Wilson (152 carries, 1,026 yards, 16 TDs) went “full-on beast” with 20 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Maybe this week is another opportunity to unleash 4A SPSL MVP Tre Weed (1,855 all-purpose yards, 25 TDs) out in space.

TNT pick: Sumner, 31-28

NO. 2 WOODINVILLE FALCONS (11-0) VS. NO. 5 GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN EAGLES (11-1)

5:30 p.m. Saturday at Art Crate Field, Spanaway

About the Falcons: Here’s a chance for the 4A KingCo to prove it’s the toughest league in the state over the SPSL. First it beat Olympia, then limited the South Sound’s top regular-season passer in Kentwood QB Justin Seiber last week. WSU OL commit Cade Beresford paves the way for dual-threat QB Jaden Sheffey (168-257, 1,874 yards, 19 TDs; 105 carries, 497 yards, 14 TDs).

About the Eagles: UW QB commit Dylan Morris (180-267, 2,833 yards, 29 TDs) is undoubtedly having his finest season yet and the Eagles seem to be getting somewhat healthy around him at the right time, too. Micah Smith (117 carries, 816 yards, 7.0 average) returned last week and ran for 200 yards behind 4A SPSL lineman of the year Ethan Porter to remind everyone why he was the South Sound’s leading rusher a year ago.

TNT pick: Woodinville, 28-25

CLASS 3A

NO. 10 RAINIER BEACH VIKINGS (7-2) VS. PENINSULA SEAHAWKS (8-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Roy Anderson Field, Purdy

About the Vikings: Their talent is unquestioned. Beach has six players ranked among the top 30 2018 recruits in the state by 247 Sports, including Anthony Stell, who had seven catches for 74 yards and a TD in last week’s come-from-behind 28-21 win over Mt. Spokane. Quarterback Max Nall, who was at Garfield last year, is capable of beating teams with his rocket arm or his legs. The Vikings also have WR Mason Starling, who was at Franklin Pierce last year, TE/LB Jarrell Anderson, who was at Bethel last year, and junior UW OL commit Nathaniel Kalepo. This is Rainier Beach’s first trip to state since 2006.

About the Seahawks: No, they don’t have all the D1 players flying all over the field, though WR Alex Beloate (24 catches, 607 yards, 5 TDs) did get an offer from Redlands this week. Peninsula just seems to find new ways to win every week in their fourth state-quarterfinal appearance since 2012, but coach Ross Filkins’ 11-as-1 mantra will be put to arguably its toughest test this week. QB Burke Griffin (163-246, 2,087 yards, 17 TDs) should be a factor, too.

TNT pick: Rainier Beach, 28-17

NO. 5 TIMBERLINE BLAZERS (11-0) VS. NO. 1 BELLEVUE WOLVERINES (10-1)

7 p.m. Saturday at Bellevue High School

About the Blazers: This is a tough squad with a lot of momentum, especially after upending defending 3A champion Kamiakin in the final seconds last week. RB Michael Barnes (191 carries, 1,180 yards, 10 TDs) can break off a big run at any time, but this team is predicated on defense – particularly against the run where the Blazers are limiting opponents to 43.9 yards per game (1.7 avg). They will miss OLB Mason Simeta (one-game suspension), the team’s top run stopper. Timberline is 0-3 against Bellevue in the state playoffs.

About the Wolverines: Look who’s back. After serving a WIAA-imposed one-year postseason ban last year, Bellevue is back in the thick of things for a run at a 13th state championship (though, the WIAA imposed this year that two of those titles have been vacated). RB Isaiah Ifanse (207 carries, 2,091 yards, 37 TDs), a former Tumwater resident, reminds some of ex-Wolverines star JR Hasty with his blend of power and speed. LB Quinn Sullivan (team-high 97 tackles, five sacks) leads a swarming, sure-tackling defense. The Wolverines’ last quarterfinal loss came in 2005 to Prosser (38-35).

TNT pick: Bellevue, 29-18.

CLASS 2A

NO. 2 TUMWATER THUNDERBIRDS (9-2) VS. NO. 8 STEILACOOM SENTINELS (9-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Harry E. Lang Stadium, Lakewood

About the Thunderbirds: New coach, same result – Tumwater is back in the 2A quarterfinals for a sixth consecutive season. RB Dylan Paine (221 carries, 1,392 yards, 23 TDs) is a reliable playmaker out of the backfield who rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns in the earlier matchup against Steilacoom. The Sentinels also have to worry about CB Connor Clark (team-leading four interceptions).

About the Sentinels: The 2A SPSL champions have a chance to make school history Friday as no Steilacoom squad has ever reached the state semifinals. QB JJ Lemming (130 of 240, 2,195 yards, 24 TDs) really likes to push the football downfield to the talented WR duo of TJ Page (44 catches, 927 yards, 10 TDs) and Emeka Egbuka (41 catches, 782 yards, 12 TDs). This is a rematch of a Week 5 game, won 48-12 by the Thunderbirds.

TNT pick: Tumwater, 50-35.

CLASS 1A

NO. 9 LA CENTER WILDCATS (9-2) VS. NO. 6 CASCADE CHRISTIAN COUGARS (10-1)

8 p.m. Saturday at Sparks Stadium, Puyallup

About the Wildcats: Want to know the biggest advantage Trico winner La Center has on other 1A schools? Just look at the league player of the year in OG/NG Jack Hiller (6-5, 250), a two-way standout who likely will be the school’s first NCAA Division I athlete. Hiller has opened big holes in the wing-T for RB Wyatt Dodson (162 carries, 1,278 yards, 13 TDs). He has also teamed up with DE Wyatt Siebert (6-7, 190) to make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.

About the Cougars: Is Cascade Christian ready for another deep run after surviving a 61-53 first-round game against Nooksack Valley last week? The Cougars rushing attack is a nice blend of power in RB Madden Tobeck (134 carries, 1,601 yards, 25 TDs) and speed in RB Tyquan Coleman (52 carries, 638 yards, 10 TDs). And QB Parker Johnson (88 of 141, 1,978 yards, 24 TDs) can make all the throws. The Cougars won only other meeting against La Center – 27-6 in 2011.

TNT pick: La Center, 33-28.

CLASS 1B

TACOMA BAPTIST CRUSADERS (6-3) VS. LUMMI NATION BLACKHAWKS (8-3)

2 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish High School

About the Crusaders: Tacoma Baptist’s “Revenge Tour” continues this weekend in Sammamish. After losing to Quilcene in the regular season, the Crusaders avenged that loss with a 54-38 victory in the state prelimary round. Now they turn their attention to the 2010 state champions, who won earlier in Bellingham, 58-28. QB Parker “PJ” Talen (46 of 78, 951 yards, nine TDs; 1,597 rushing yards, 19 TDs and has three receiving scores) is a game-changing performer who has also lined up at wide receiver this season.

About the Blackhawks: Coach Jim Sandusky’s squad keeps rolling along, making its 14th consecutive state playoff appearance. And after losing six two-way starters from a season ago, this team has had to grow up quickly — especially after suffering a brutal 84-6 loss to No. 1 Sunnyside Christian. Dual-threat QB Dashawn Lawrence is the key to Lummi’s offense. He passed for 191 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another 100 yards in last week’s 58-16 win over Rainier Christian.

TNT pick: Lummi, 55-47.

tcotterill@thenewstribune.com

tmilles@thenewstribune.com

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