No. 1 Bellevue (13-0) vs. No. 3 O’Dea (13-0), 7:30 p.m.
Lowdown: All the stands in the way of a fourth straight state championship for Bellevue is the last team that beat the Wolverines in the state playoffs. O’Dea’s ball-control offense grinded out a 21-13 win over No. 5 Camas in the semifinals. The Irish held the ball for 13 of the final 14 minutes of the game. If O’Dea can exert its will along the line of scrimmage against Bellevue, get some big plays from running backs Jayshawn Jordan and Jomari Brooks and a couple long kickoff or punt returns from Tatum Taylor, the Irish will push Bellevue to the limit. That’s easier said than done. Bellevue has already knocked off the second- and fourth-ranked teams in the state (Lakes and Kamiakin), holding them to a combined 24 points, and is intent on claiming its 10th state title. Stopping the Wolverines isn’t easy. QB Tyler Hasty and running backs Ari Morales, Myles Jack, John Nguyen, Joey Moore and Andy Bouleware have all had big games this season.
TNT Pick: Bellevue 27, O’Dea 17
No. 2 Almira/Coulee-Hartline (12-0) vs. Neah Bay (11-2), 4 p.m.
Lowdown: ACH’s defense has stifled opponents in the wide-open eight-man football game, allowing just 14 points in two playoff games. Offensively, RB Colin Deyarmin provides the bulk of the Warriors’ production. He rushed for four touchdowns in the quarterfinals and two in the 46-6 win over Pomeroy in the semifinals. ACH is going for its third state title and first since 2007. Neah Bay toppled No. 1 Lummi in the quarterfinals, beating the undefeated defending state champions 58-40. Running backs Titus Pascua and Josiah Greene power the Red Devils’ offense. Neah Bay is in the finals for third time, searching for its first championship.
TNT pick: ACH 45, Neah Bay 30
Skyline (10-3) vs. No. 9 Skyview (11-2), 7:30 p.m.
Lowdown: After the third week of the regular season Skyline and Skyview had a combined record of 2-4. Seems that the brutal non-league schedules toughened up the Spartans and Storm. Skyline of Sammamish is playing in its fifth straight state final, while the Strom from Vancouver are in the title game for the first time. The Skyview offense led by QB Kieran McDonagh (163 of 240 for 2,622 yards, 24 TDs and 4 INTs) and RB Parker Henry (2,161 rushing yards, 31 TDs), presents a pick-your-poison quandary. In the semifinals, Lake Stevens stacked the line of scrimmage and held Henry in check, but McDonagh torched the Vikings for 339 passing yards and two touchdowns and 65 yards on the ground and two more scores. Receivers Reiley Henderson and Forrest Russell are play-making receivers, capable of taking short passes for long gains. Skyview’s defense has been stout in the postseason, not allowing any team to score more than 17 points in a game. Skyline’s high-powered offense will put the Storm defense to the test. Led by two-time all-state QB Max Browne (3,813 yards, 43 TDs, 5 INTs), the Spartans will throw, throw and throw some more. RB Damian Greene has emerged as a threat out of the backfield in recent games. After a three-touchdown performance in the semifinals, coach Mat Taylor said Greene is “running possessed.”
TNT pick: Skyview 30, Skyline 27
No. 1 Lynden (13-0) vs. No. 6 Archbishop Murphy (12-1), 10 a.m.
Lowdown: Archbishop Murphy’s loss to Lakewood in Week 5 looks like an anomaly now. The Wildcats have reeled off eight straight wins, pummeling No. 2 Tumwater 41-6 in the first round of the playoffs, dumping No. 5 Othello 34-0 in the quarterfinals and routing No. 3 Prosser 50-14 in the semifinals. ATM’s powerful running game, paced by QB Hans VanderWel and running backs Alex Galgano and Eneliko Tevaga, provides the bulk of its offensive production. VanderWel doesn’t throw often, but when he does, it often has a big payoff. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 156 yards and two TDs against Prosser. Unlike ATM, Lynden has been challenged in each of its state playoff games. Turnovers and penalties hampered the Lions in a sloppy 17-7 semifinal win over W.F. West. Lynden blew threw the regular season, holding six teams to a touchdown or less. QB Josh Kraght is a run-pass threat and will receive plenty of attention from the Wildcats. Lynden has been Class 2A’s most dominant program in recent years and a win over ATM would give the Lions their fourth state title since 2006.
TNT pick: Lynden 27, Archbishop Murphy 21
No. 3 Connell (12-1) vs. No. 5 Cascade Christian (10-2), 1 p.m.
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Lowdown: Best two out of three? For the third season in a row, the Eagles and Cougars meet in the state finals. Connell won in 2009 and Cascade Christian, which also played in the 2008 title game, was victorious in 2010. Cascade Christian’s primary focus will be stopping RB Matt Hadley, the state’s career leader in touchdowns with 121. Hadley, who has orally committed to play at BYU, has rushed for 2,161 yards and 31 TDs this season. Pay too much attention to Hadley, and QB Chandler Salisbury (117 of 192 for 2,060 yards, 20 TDs) can beat the Cougars with his arm. His main target is WR Kade Eppich (49 catches, 900 yards, 11 TDs). Cascade Christian won a thriller in the semifinals, beating No. 2 Montesano 29-28 in triple-overtime. Receivers Jake Archer and Joshua Shreffler have a knack for making big plays and provide a safety valve for QB Jaelin Goldsmith, who threw three touchdowns last week.
TNT pick: Cascade Christian 26, Connell 24
No. 1 Waitsburg-Prescott (13-0) vs. No. 4 Morton/White Pass (11-1), 4 p.m.
Lowdown: Waitsburg-Prescott has a dominating defense, allowing only 27 points in three state playoff games. The offense isn’t shabby either, scoring at least 42 points in each of those contests. QB Zach Bartlow is a run-pass threat, piling up 3,444 yards of total offense. Bartlow has rushed for 22 TDs and passed for 31 this season. RB Billy Brown (1,279 yards, 10 TDs) is another weapon and WR Dalton Estes (51 catches, 804 yards, 15 TDs) is Bartlow’s favorite target. For Morton/White Pass, RB Brian Reynolds has been a late-season force, eclipsing 100 rushing yards in each of the Timberwolves’ past four games. Reynolds rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-21 overtime win against Napavine in the semifinals last week. Morton/White Pass has one of the best defenses in the state – it has posted eight shutouts – but faces its biggest test against the Cardinals.
TNT Pick: Waitsburg-Prescott 30, Morton/White Pass 26