* CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS
No. 8 Mount Baker (10-1) vs. Montesano (10-2)
10 a.m. Saturday, Tacoma Dome
Coaches: Ron Lepper is in his 17th season at Mount Baker (116-59 record). Terry Jensen is in his 11th season at Montesano (110-30 record).
Road to the semifinals: Mount Baker defeated Woodland in the first round (21-14), and La Center in the quarterfinals (24-9). Montesano defeated Charles Wright Academy in the first round (31-21), and King’s in the quarterfinals (17-7).
About the Mountaineers: In their first season back in 1A, Mount Baker had a big task replacing all-state tailback Levi Wigg – and did with RB Jake Schleimer (198 carries, 1,659 yards, 25 TDs). And when the Mountaineers need a change-of-pace runner, they go to RB Izaiha Schwinden (97 carries, 875 yards, 10 TDs). The defense, led by LB Tyrel Cronk (120 tackles, two blocked kicks), is solid.
About the Bulldogs: After two early-season losses to Cascade Christian and Hoquiam, Montesano fell off many followers’ radars. Then the school’s home grandstands burned down. Yet, since then – things have looked up for the Bulldogs, who rely on dual-threat QB Matt Jensen (110-182, 1,794 yards, 18 TDs; 92 carries, 560 rushing yards, seven TDs) and RBs Tucker Ibabao (128 carries, 958 yards, 17 TDs) and Elliot Mendenhall (135 carries, 951 yards, 12 TDs). This is the school’s 10th semifinal trip since 1981.
TNT pick: Montesano, 23-12.
“Score Czar”/Computer pick: Montesano, 27-17.