Greetings. Gridiron Classic weekend is here. And before I head off and help TNT colleague Ryan Divish move from the worst part of Tacoma – to a much better one – wanted to get to a few reminders and links statewide:
* If you can’t make it to the Tacoma Dome for any of the action, the WIAA has you set up for game broadcats. The 4A (Saturday at 7:30 p.m.) and 3A championships (today at 7:30 p.m.) will be televised live on ROOT Sports. And the rest of the action will be webcast live on the WIAA Network.
Also, for live updates and game statistics, visit here.
* Game tickets are $11 for students, and $15 for adults. Tournament passes are available for $17 for students, and $23 for adults.
* Just like last week, the Olympian’s Meg Wochnick and myself will host a Live Chat right here on both days. Today’s streaming will start at 4 p.m., and we will resume Saturday at noon.
Now here are some of the cool preview stories from around the state on the schools playing in this weekend’s title games:
* Let’s start right here. Contributor T.J. Cotterill examines why this is Bellevue’s best team under coach Butch Goncharoff, who is going for his 10th state title in the 3A ranks tonight against Eastside Catholic.
* The News Tribune released its 2012 all-state football team – with Skyline’s Max Browne the player of the year (story here) and Roosevelt’s Matt Nelsen as the coach of the year.
* Columnist John McGrath caught up with a cool character from the Bellarmine Prep football staff – volunteer assistant Red Smith, who has quite the journey in football.
* What a one-year transformation for Tumwater’s David Durden, which Wochnick explains in the Olympian.
* The Seattle Times’ Jayson Jenks profiles Eastside Catholic coach Jeremy Thielbahr, a Washington State University alumnus. He replaced ex-Cougar quarterback Jason Gesser.
* Jenks also talks about Browne playing in his final high school game Saturday night – as possibly the best quarterback this state has ever seen.
* Three Eastern Washington communities might be celebrating at the end of the day, writes the Spokesman-Review’s Greg Lee.
* Two guys Tumwater will have to pay extra attention to Saturday are detailed in this feature by the Bellingham Herald’s David Rosbach (hint! they are big!). Also, defensive lineman Matt Meyer has been dealing with a lot since the Lions’ title run in 2011.
* Peninsula Daily News’ Lee Horton gives a rundown of the Neah Bay-Liberty Christian tilt for the 1B title.