CLASS 3A PLAYOFFS
No. 5 Lakes (11-1) vs. No. 1 Bellevue (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Tacoma Dome
Radio: KJR 950 AM
Lowdown: Because of its precise execution of counters, traps and other misdirection plays, two-time defending champion Bellevue’s wing-T offense is incredibly difficult to prepare for. Lakes lost out on valuable practice time this week because bad weather and driving conditions cancelled school. Lakes has overcome plenty of obstacles already this season, so what’s one more? If the Lancers can stay home on defense and keep the Wolverines’ big-play capabilities in check, Lakes will have an opportunity to knock Bellevue off its championship pedestal. RB Latrelle Dukes, who ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-0 win over Liberty last week, is the Wolverines’ leading rusher, but three others (Joey Mangialardi, John Nguyen and Ari Morales) have run for about 500 yards. QB/DB Kendrick VanAckeran averages six pass attempts per game and has intercepted four passes. Lakes’ rushing attack has hit high-gear in the playoffs. RB Levonte Littlejohn has run for 789 yards and nine touchdowns in the postseason, bringing his season totals to 1,927 yards and 21 TDs. QB Cedric Dozier is a dual-threat, rushing and throwing for than 1,100 yards. Lakes has been tested this season, losing to No. 2 Capital in overtime and beating No. 3 Camas in overtime last week.
TNT pick: Bellevue 28, Lakes 20
Bellarmine Prep (11-1) vs. No. 3 Ferris (12-0), 4 p.m. Saturday, Albi Stadium, Spokane
Radio: KLAY 1180 AM will broadcast updates, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Lowdown: For the second week in a row, Bellarmine Prep will face a top-five team with a recent history of postseason success. Can the Lions shock the state again? Bellarmine Prep has the athletes to keep up with the Greater Spokane League champions and its linemen rose up in the second half against bigger Bothell and controlled the line of scrimmage. QB Sefo Liufau and WR Michael Rector hooked up for three touchdowns last week. If Ferris clamps down on Rector, Liufau can look to Scott Comfort or Jacob Wisness to make plays downfield. If weather conditions are poor, Bellarmine Prep will lean on RB Isaiah Flynn. Ferris’ defense carried the Saxons to a 13-7 win over previously undefeated Chiawana last week. Three Saxons (DL Drew Sharkey, LB Grant Livingston and DB Cody Sorenson) earned all-league honors. RB Kole Heidinger, WR Jordan Tonani and OL Dillon Beschel were first-team picks on offense.
TNT pick: Bellarmine Prep 20, Ferris 17
No. 2 Curtis (12-0) vs. No. 1 Skyline (11-1), 7 p.m. Saturday, Tacoma Dome
Radio: KLAY 1180 AM, KJR 950 AM
Lowdown: This is the matchup many wanted to see. Will it live up to its No. 1 vs. No. 2 billing, or be a repeat of last year’s 49-14 Skyline victory in the state quarterfinals? Don’t bet on a blowout – by either team. This Curtis team has been aching for a rematch with the two-time defending state champions since the season began. The Vikings self-destructed last season, turning the ball over three times in the first quarter and trailed 35-0 in the first quarter. The Vikings and Spartans have slogged through first halves in the playoffs, only to pull away from opponents after halftime. When Skyline is forced to punt, will the Spartans give Rahmel Dockery a chance to return the ball? Many teams have opted to kick the ball short and out of bounds, taking away Dockery’s game-breaking ability, but putting the Vikings in good field position. The Tacoma Dome has been a second home for Skyline, which is 10-2 at the dome. Curtis should not be awed by Skyline this time. The Vikings have the athletes to go toe-to-toe with the Spartans and the strength up front to pressure QB Max Browne, who’s thrown 44 touchdowns this season.
TNT pick: Curtis 31, Skyline 27
We’ll post semifinal capsules on the Capital-Kamiakin, Tumwater-Spokane East Valley and Meridian-Cascade Christian games on Friday.