Bellarmine Prep (6-3) at No. 10 Kentwood (8-1)
7 p.m. Saturday, French Field, Kent (winner is District 3 No. 5)
About the Lions : These programs have a combined 33 state tournament berths and 23 years of head coaching experience between Bellarmine Prep coach Tom Larsen (12 years) and Kentwood coach Rex Norris (11 years). But the Lions enter having lost each of their past two games, including a 49-0 demolition from Gig Harbor last week that dashed their hopes of a four-peat atop the 4A Narrows. Larsen said RB Nathan Goltermann-Doyle (172 carries, 1,141 yards, 12 TDs) sprained his foot against Olympia (he’s averaged 38 rushing yards the past two games after averaging 182 in the four games prior), though he should be fully healthy this week.
About the Conquerors: Not to take away from Kentwood’s No. 3 scoring defense in Class 4A (8.7 points allowed per game), but its offense has come around as well. Teams can’t stack the box against the run, led by RB Isaiah Williams (146 carries, 927 yards, nine TDs), every down anymore. Not with the consistent improvement from QB Brian Campbell (71 of 229, 956 yards, nine TDs, 2 INTs). The Conks have extended his leash as the season has progressed and that’s helped them outscore their opponents by an average of 42-12 on their three-game win streak. Norris hopes that offense continue to complement their athletic defense now that it’s playoff time.
TNT pick: Kentwood, 28-14
Glacier Peak (6-3) at No. 9 Auburn Mountainview (8-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Auburn Memorial Stadium, Auburn (winner Is District 3 No. 4)
About the Grizzlies: Glacier Peak prides itself on defense. Steve Hannan has been with the program since its inception seven years ago and became defensive coordinator two years in. It’s allowing less than two touchdowns per game and held six-time reigning 3A champ Bellevue to a season-low 30 points (though that was all in the first half and the Grizzlies lost 30-0). Coach Rory Rosenbach admitted his offense is a work in progress, but it takes what it can get. First-year QB Brady Southard (80 for 170, 1,100 yards, 16 TDs) will look to find WR Justin Guffey (38 catches, 608 yards, eight TDs).
About the Lions: Auburn Mountainview could score last year, but stopping opposing teams from scoring was a different story. The Lions improved significantly on that end this season (from 33.1 points allowed to 16.3) and that helped them jump from 3A SPSL mediocrity to the No. 2 seed to districts. Junior do-everything QB Gresch Jensen (118 of 215, 1,497 yards, 15 TDs, 10 INTs; 107 carries, 581 yards, eight TDs) leads AMV in passing yards, rushing yards and interceptions (he’s picked off five passes).
TNT pick: Auburn Mountainview, 24-21
Fife (6-3) at No. 8 Liberty (6-3)
7 p.m. Friday, Liberty High School, Renton (winner is District 2/3 No. 4)
About the Trojans: Maybe, just maybe, electric running back Austin Woods (bruised knee) will return for the first time since rushing for 131 yards on four carries in the first quarter of Week 1 against Shadle Park. Coach Kent Nevin said they are hoping Woods can play and has been a no-contact participant in practice this week. RB Tanner Knapp (112 carries, 745 yards, six TDs) has shouldered the load in Woods’ stead. With Wes Nixon and Khyri Edwards back after missing last week, Nevin said it’s the healthiest his team has been in five weeks.
About the Patriots: This will be just the third 2A team Liberty has played this season. It held its own in the 2A/3A KingCo this year against Juanita (4A), Mercer Island (3A) and … oh, yeah, Bellevue (3A) – though it lost that one 37-0. Just five years ago, the Patriots met Bellevue in the 3A state championship, losing 23-17, and now they’ll try their hand in the 2A playoffs. Liberty runs a two-back veer set, similar to what Fife had seen when it played Sumner (when it was in the 2A SPSL). It has five running backs who have more than 200 yards rushing this season, led by Drew Hall (115 carries, 773 yards, 11 TDs).
TNT pick: Liberty, 38-28
STATE GAME OF THE WEEK
Morton-White Pass (5-4) at No. 5 Raymond (7-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Stewart Field, Aberdeen (winner is District 4 No. 3)
The skinny: Could this be the year Morton-White Pass’ state title game run comes to an end? Or the year it finally leaves with a state championship trophy? The Timberwolves have reached and lost the 2B state title game three consecutive years, and beat Raymond in the semifinals last year to get there. The two teams meet again, this time with a ticket to the state tournament on the line. MWP QB Braiden Elledge (32 of 63, 456 yards, five TDs; 140 carries, 793 yards, 10 TDs) does just about everything on offense, while Raymond likes to spread the ball around in its wing-T offense. First-year coach Luke Abbott said he’ll occasionally rotate QB Rayce Newman (11 of 28, 270 yards, five TDs) to running back (46 carries, 292 yards, four TDs), though Elliott Murdock (88 carries, 900 yards, 17 TDs) has been the Gulls’ top threat.
TNT pick: Raymond, 28-21