High School Sports

Previews and predictions for the state high school football championships

Tumwater senior Jakob Holbrook leads teammates as they celebrate the T-Birds' 10-6 state semifinal victory over Archbishop Murphy in Satuday's 2A state football semifinal at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup on Nov. 25, 2017.
Tumwater senior Jakob Holbrook leads teammates as they celebrate the T-Birds' 10-6 state semifinal victory over Archbishop Murphy in Satuday's 2A state football semifinal at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup on Nov. 25, 2017. toverman@theolympian.com

CLASS 1B STATE CHAMPIONSHIP (EIGHT-MAN)

NO. 1 SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN KNIGHTS (13-0) VS. NO. 4 ALMIRA/COULEE-HARTLINE WARRIORS (11-2)

4 p.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome: Sunnyside Christian: Defeated Cusick (quarterfinals) and Odessa (semifinals). ACH: Defeated Naselle (quarterfinals) and Lummi (semifinals).

Coaches — Sunnyside Christian: Jeremy Thomas. ACH: Brandon Walsh.

About the Knights: There may not be a more motivated team in the state tournament than the Knights. They lost in last year’s semifinals, 42-40, against Odessa-Harrington in their bid to reach the Tacoma Dome. Now they’re here thanks to the Marsh Family. Senior QB Chance Marsh (182-286, 3,350 yards, 57 TDs; 83 carries, 454 yards, 11 TDs), junior RB Kyler Marsh (112 carries, 1,439 yards, 18 TDs) and senior WR Lane Marsh (87 catches, 1,541 yards, 26 TDs), who is Chance’s twin, have made this season a family thing. Chance Marsh threw for 451 yards and six TDs in last week’s, 62-22, revenge win over Odessa.

About the Warriors: Speaking of family traditions, how about the Isaaks at ACH? Derek Isaak was QB in the Warriors 2011 title loss to Lummi, then Dallas Isaak was the 1B state player of the year when he ran for 2,720 yards and 46 TDs and threw for 1,663 yards and 29 TDs on ACH’s way to the 2015 championship. Now it’s junior QB Maguire Isaak (83-for-122, 1,793 yards, 35 TDs; 117 carries, 1,172 yards, 17 TDs) playing for a state title.

TNT pick: Sunnyside Christian, 40-21

Jerod Young: jyoung@thenewstribune.com

CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Rainier Beach football
Vikings wide receiver Mason Starling (8) is tackled by Seahawks safety Nick Eberhardt (24) during the 3A state quarterfinal football game between Peninsula High School Seahawks and Rainier Beach High School Vikings at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy, Wash., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Rainier Beach wins 37-28. David Montesino dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

NO. 4 O’DEA FIGHTING IRISH (11-1) VS. NO. 10 RAINIER BEACH VIKINGS (9-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome — O’Dea: Defeated Mercer Island (first round), Ferndale (quarterfinals) and Bellevue (semifinals). Rainier Beach: Defeated Mt. Spokane (first round), Peninsula (quarterfinals) and Garfield (semifinals).

CoachesO’Dea: Monte Kohler. Rainier Beach: Corey Sampson.

About the Fighting Irish: Jamyn Patu (215 carries, 1,921 yards, 26 TDs) might not be thought of in the same recruiting breadth as O’Dea alum and current UW running back Myles Gaskin, but it’s hard to argue with his production the past two years. He’s got the Irish back in the title game and should have some extra motivation on Friday against his former school. He led the Vikings in rushing as a sophomore (404 yards) before rushing for 1,596 for O’Dea last season. And he’s got 3A Metro Mountain division offensive lineman of the year Griffin Korican to run behind.

About the Vikings: No school has ever played in more 3A state basketball title games than Rainier Beach (12), which is just ahead of, you guessed it, O’Dea (eight). Beach beat O’Dea for the state basketball title in 2016, but the Vikings will play in a football championship for the first time on Friday, and coach Corey Sampson will assure you this is far from the same Rainier Beach that O’Dea beat, 49-28, in early October. It was without “three D1 guys” in WR/DB Anthony Stell (35 catches, 812 yards, 15 TDs), WR/DB Mason Starling (a transfer from Franklin Pierce) and Sampson’s son, WR/DB Darrien Sampson (24 tackles, 5 PD, 1 INT). Bethel transfer Jarrell Anderson (25 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 INT) is a first-team Metro Mountain division defensive end and tight end.

TNT pick: O’Dea, 29-24

TJ Cotterill: tcotterill@thenewstribune.com

CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Tumwater football

NO. 3 HOCKINSON HAWKS (13-0) VS. NO. 2 TUMWATER T-BIRDS (11-2)

10 a.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome — Hockinson: Defeated Pullman (first round), Liberty of Issaquah (quarterfinals) and West Valley of Spokane (semifinals). Tumwater: Defeated Lynden (first round), Steilacoom (quarterfinals) and Archbishop Murphy (semifinals).

CoachesHockinson: Rick Steele. Tumwater: Bill Beattie.

About the Hawks: Here’s some perspective on QB Canon Racanelli (237-333, 3,805 yards, 53 TDs) entering the title game. Through last week’s semifinals, he's eighth on the state’s all-time list for single-season passing TDs. That’s just two behind former Lincoln star Jordan Kitna (55 in 2014), while Prosser’s Kellen Moore (67 in 2013) tops the list. Racanelli has thrown for more than 300 yards in seven games this season to his trusted receiving corps, which includes sophomore Sawyer Racanelli (79 catches, 1,642 yards, 25 TDs). The dual-threat QB (106 carries, 595 yards, 16 TDs) has reached the end zone four or more times in every game, and has the Hawks averaging 46 points per game.

About the T-Birds: Tumwater has five state titles in its history (2010, 1993, 1990, 1989, 1987), and is making its fifth appearance in the championship game in eight years. The T-Birds shocked the state in last week's semifinals, knocking out defending state champion Archbishop Murphy with a herculean defensive effort. They held 2A's top-ranked team to negative rushing yards, less than 100 total yards, and didn't give up a defensive TD. For the season, Tumwater is allowing just 12 points per game, while averaging 330 rushing yards and 39 points. Tumwater has four running backs with more than 500 yards this season, led by sophomore Dylan Paine (290 carries, 1,698 yards, 24 TDs).

TNT pick: Tumwater, 31-28

Lauren Smith: lsmith@theolympian.com

CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Meridian football
Meridian quarter back Simon Burkett (13) looks for an open man during the second quarter on Friday evening Sept. 8, 2017, at Blaine High School in Blaine, Wash. Paul Conrad for The Bellingham Herald

NO. 1 ROYAL KNIGHTS (13-0) VS. NO. 2 MERIDIAN TROJANS (13-0)

1 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome — Royal: Defeated Freeman (first round), Okanogan (quarterfinals) and Newport (semifinals). Meridian: Defeated Hoquaim (first round), Montesano (quarterfinals) and La Center (semifinals)

CoachesRoyal: Wiley Allred. Meridian: Bob Ames.

About the Knights: The two-time defending state-champion Knights are looking to get their third and push their winning streak to 41 games in a row. And they’ll bring another Jenks to the Tacoma Dome to throw passes with Kaden Jenks’ younger brother, Sawyer Jenks (133 of 216, 2,610 yards, 38 TDs, 4 INTs). He frequently targets WR Corbin Christensen (52 receptions for 1,070 yards, 16 TDs) and even if those two only play like normal humans, RB Alonso Hernandez (157 carries for 1,111 yards and 16 TDs) has proven he can take over games, too. The Knights are exactly what you could hope for in a state team: devastatingly effective and with a lot of experience.

About the Trojans: This is the sixth time in school history the Trojans have been in the state championship and the first time since 2006 when they won it all. So don’t count them out of this one as Eastern Washington University commit QB Simon Burkett (219 of 390, 2,938 yards, 25 TDs; 583 rushing yards, 10 TDs) has come in clutch for the team many times, including in their last game when he got three passing touchdowns along with one rushing touchdown against La Center. But key will certainly be how Meridian’s defense handles Royal’s high-flying offense.

TNT pick: Royal, 34-21

Chase Hutchinson: chutchinson@thenewstribune.com

CLASS 2B STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

NO. 1 KALAMA CHINOOKS (13-0) VS. NO. 2 LIBERTY OF SPANGLE LANCERS (13-0)

4 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome: Kalama: Defeated Adna (first round), Pe Ell/Willapa Valley (quarterfinals and Napavine (semifinals). Liberty: Defeated Lyle/Wishram (first round), DeSales (quarterfinals) and Asotin (semifinals).

Coaches — Kalama: Sean McDonald. Liberty: Mike Dewey

About the Chinooks: If the Chinooks are going to win their first state championship since 1998 (when they beat Okanogan), it is going to be through the play of QB Alex Dyer (202 of 250, 2,848 yards, 40 TDs). Dyer improved on his already strong numbers by going 16 for 23 for 276 yards and three touchdowns last week against Napavine. Not only can he gun the ball, but he can play defense too, nabbing an interception against Napavine.

About the Lancers: The Lancers are looking to get over the hump at the state championship by sticking to their bread and butter — feeding RB James Heer. And why not? Heer rushed for 196 yards on 33 carries and a touchdown last week in their win over Asotin, bringing him up to 1,874 yards on 239 carries and 28 TDs for the season. Their potent run game will open up the field for Alec Fletcher (119 of 195, 1,886 yards, 22 TDs).

TNT pick: Liberty 33-28

Jordan Whitford: jwhitford@thenewstribune.com

CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Woodinville football
Woodinville defenders Seth Pregler (left) and Nash Fouch force a fumble from Sumner running back Alex Fraser during the 4A state football semifinal at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup on Nov. 25, 2017. Woodinville recovered the fumble. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

NO. 1 RICHLAND BOMBERS (13-0) VS. NO. 2 WOODINVILLE FALCONS (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome

Road to the Dome — Richland: Defeated West Valley of Yakima (first round), Gonzaga Prep (quarterfinals) and Central Valley (semifinals). Woodinville: Defeated Kentwood (first round), Graham-Kapowsin (quarterfinals) and Sumner (semifinals).

Coaches — Richland: Mike Niedhold. Woodinville: Wayne Maxwell.

About the Bombers: This is Richland’s fifth title-game appearance, but the first time the Bombers have been in back-to-back 4A championship games. And after losing 24-14 to Camas a season ago, Nieldhold’s group has run the table to earn another shot. QB Cade Jensen (216 of 341, 3,187 yards, 46 TDs) has a really good grasp on this balanced offense, and RB Parker McCrary (178 carries, 1,026 yards, 10 TDs) punishes the interior of defenses. The defense has forced 10 turnovers in three state playoff games. The last school to lose in the title game the previous season, but come back to win it all was Ferris in 2010.

About the Falcons: If Woodinville wants to look at itself in the mirror, it might just need to stare across the field come Saturday night. The offense can move with power, led by RBs Brett Accimus (127 carries, 962 yards, 12 TDs) and Matt Jones (157 carries, 962 yards, 12 TDs), but QB Jaden Sheffey (154 of 252, 1,780 yards, 18 TDs; 535 rushing yards, 12 TDs) will take shots downfield to WR Nash Fouch (54 receptions, 721 yards, 10 TDs), a Montana commit. And the defense has shutdown performers at all levels, particularly in the front seven. Woodinville’s only other 4A title-game appearance was a 35-21 loss to Skyline in 2005.

TNT pick: Richland, 17-14.

Todd Milles: tmilles@thenewstribune.com

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