What to watch for this weekend around the South Sound and beyond as the second week of high school state football playoffs kicks off.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Every man a Lute: King’s coach Jim Shapiro (receiver) and Cascade Christian offensive coordinator Brian Flattum (center) were starters on Pacific Lutheran’s 1993 NAIA national championship team. Both use parts of the Lutes’ offense with their own teams – and they meet Saturday in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
Spokane Air Show: Shadle Park’s Brett Rypien has shredded the Greater Spokane League this season. And now he takes his high-octane passing act to the Tri-Cities for a Class 3A quarterfinal matchup at Kamiakin. Rypien, the nephew of ex-WSU and NFL star Mark Rypien, has passed for 3,711 yards and 52 touchdowns this season.
Crazy Eights: Coach Joe Sprouse has been part of White River’s two previous state quarterfinal appearances – one as a player in 1998 and the other as an assistant coach in 2004 (both were losses to Lynden). This time, the Hornets host Tumwater. “The kids are excited to be underdogs,” Sprouse said.
Tri-Cities treasures: Steve Graff won a state title at Pasco in 1998. Now coach at Chiawana since 2009, Graff has a special opportunity: If the Riverhawks beat Wenatchee on Saturday, he will become first coach since Cale Piland (2004 at Evergreen-Vancouver, 2008 at Camas) to lead two different large-classification schools to the state semifinals.
Another La Victory? In the past two seasons, Morton-White Pass has defeated La Conner (34-13 in 2011 first round, 12-0 in last season’s semifinals) in the Class 2B state playoffs. Twice it has led to title-game appearances in the Tacoma Dome. The two schools meet again Saturday in Mount Vernon.
GAMES TO WATCH
CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS
No. 5 Richland (10-1) at Federal Way (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Federal Way
About the Bombers: As the Mid-Columbia Conference runner-up, Richland doesn’t grab a lot of attention. The Bombers will spread defenses to get powerful RB Anthony Galat (121 carries, 745 yards, 12 TDs) going. QB Zach Whitby (134-of-228, 2,001 yards, 22 TDs) is at his best throwing on the run.
About the Eagles: The real question in this game: Does Richland have enough perimeter speed to contain QB Keenan Curran (117 carries, 1,317 yards, 14 TDs) or RB Chico McClatcher (136 carries, 1,402 yards, 17 TDs) in the Eagles’ high-powered rushing attack? Two-time defending 4A state champion Skyline thought it did — and now sits at home.
TNT pick: Federal Way, 30-28.
No. 8 Bothell (9-2) at No. 7 Bellarmine Prep (9-2), 1 p.m. Saturday, Mount Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma
About the Cougars: Not sure this is coach Tom Bainter’s favorite place to visit. The Cougars have lost two close state playoff games to Bellarmine Prep at Mount Tahoma Stadium in the past three seasons — 28-21 in 2010 and 35-30 last season. The Lions surely will blitz to take out the run game, which should give QB Ross Bowers (153-of-264, 2,368 yards, 23 TDs) plenty of big-play chances.
About the Lions: Bothell’s defensive line likes to slant into other gaps, which could really open up big runs for Bellarmine Prep’s zone-read plays. Look for RB Nathan Goltermann-Doyle (183 carries, 1,281 yards, 19 TDs) to pop off a few big runs. The Lions are vying for their eighth state playoff win in the past four seasons.
TNT pick: Bothell, 38-35.
CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS
No. 1 Bellevue (11-0) at No. 7 Peninsula (8-3), 7 p.m. Saturday, Roy Anderson Field, Purdy
About the Wolverines: They’ve won 10 of the past 12 state titles in 3A, and 21 state playoff games in a row. Bellevue gets contributions from myriad ballcarriers, led by RBs Sam Richmond (71 carries, 807 yards, 12 TDs) and the state’s No. 1 recruit, Budda Baker (30 carries, 467 yards, 11 TDs; 15 total TDs). Much more big-play oriented in 2013.
About the Seahawks: Enough returners faced the Wolverines in Peninsula’s 40-3 state quarterfinal loss last season to have an idea how their wing-T offense operates. Bellevue will score, and Peninsula will need to keep up with RB Avega Siolo (203 carries, 1,653 yards, 22 TDs) and QB Robert Kvinsland (142-of-228, 1,981 yards, 16 TDs, three INT).
TNT pick: Bellevue, 42-20.
CLASS 2A QUARTERFINALS
No. 3 Sumner (11-0) at No. 1 Lynden (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Civic Stadium, Bellingham
About the Spartans: What did they take away from their 42-7 loss to Lynden in the 2A quarterfinals last season? Sumner must disguise its defensive pressure better, pick its spots with RBs DeJon Lynch (146 carries, 1,258 yards, 16 TDs) and Brandon Tuilaepa (145 carries, 1,208 yards, 13 TDs), and really get the passing game involved.
About the Lions: This will be the 22nd time Lynden has played in the state quarterfinals. After taking over for injured starter Lucas Petersen in October, QB Sterling Somers (51-of-103, 638 yards, nine TDs) is being trusted to do more things in this multifaceted offense as the Lions are going to the spread more late in the season.
TNT pick: Lynden, 28-24.