Washington, 4A play-ins
Chiawana at Gonzaga Prep
Records: Riverhawks (6-3), Bullpups (8-1)
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Road to postseason: Chiawana finished tied for fourth with Richland in the Mid-Columbia Conference, but Richland earned the top seed with a 21-14 win over the Riverhawks. G-Prep shared the Greater Spokane League title with Mead, but the Bullpups earned the top seed based on their 33-27 win over the Panthers. Three 3A teams finished ahead of Chiawana.
Statistical leaders: The Riverhawks are led by running back Clifton Lozano (924 yards. 5.3 yards per carry) and quarterback Joey Zamora (1,131 yards, 10 TDs). Chiawana allowed two more points than it scored. The Riverhawks ranked sixth out of eight teams in total offense, and they were the most balanced in the MCC. Chiawana finished third in total defense, allowing 1,568 yards rushing and 708 passing. The Bullpups are led by running back Griffin Hare (1,428 yards, 15 TDs) and quarterback Zach Bonneau (962, 14 TDs).
At a glance: The Riverhawks’ defense will be stretched all over the field by the Bullpups’ deep running attack. G-Prep gained what’s believed to be a GSL record 626 yards last week against Central Valley. The Riverhawks don’t want to find themselves in a track meet. If G-Prep, which had the GSL’s top-ranked offense, piles up the yards, it will pile up the points, too. Chiawana has won six in a row since a 0-3 start.
Mead at Richland
Records: Panthers (8-1), Bombers (5-3)
When: Friday, 7
Road to postseason: After losing to G-Prep (33-27) midway in the season, Mead had to win its final four to secure the second seed. Richland earned the MCC’s top seed with a 21-14 win over Chiawana.
Statistical leaders: Running backs Josh Phillips (464) and Cameron Simpson (363) led the Bombers in rushing while quarterback Zach Whitby (1,156 yards, 10 TDs) ranked second in passing. Richland finished with the fifth-best offense in the MCC and fifth-best defense. Mead is led by running backs Davian Barlow (928, 13 TDs), Luke Hilmes (584, six TDs) and Austin Stone (509, six TDs).
At a glance: Like Chiawana, the Bombers struggled against the 3A teams. Whether that’s an indication that 4A MCC teams were down remains to be seen. Mead’s speed and athletic play figure to give Richland fits. The Panthers, who had the GSL’s top-ranked defense, have been bothered at times by turnovers and penalties, but if they limit their mistakes it could be a long night for Richland.
3A play-in games
Kamiakin at University
Records: Braves (6-3), Titans (5-4)
When: Friday, 7
Road to postseason: Kamiakin was rolling along and seemingly on its way to the MCC championship when it was hit by injuries. The Braves finished in a three-way tie for first with Kennewick and Hanford, and Kamiakin earned the second seed based on a win over Hanford. University locked up the top seed with a wild 48-35 win over Shadle Park and a key 21-0 win over Ferris two weeks ago.
Statistical leaders: Kamiakin is led by quarterback Kylle Robertson (1,539 yards, 17 TDs), who had the most passing yards in the MCC. Javan Williams was the MCC’s second-best receiver with 29 catches for 546. U-Hi quarterback Jeff Beaty threw for 1,506 yards and 12 TDs, second best in the league, and running back Adrian Bonner (674).
At a glance: This game figures to come down to defense. Kamiakin ranked sixth out of eight teams in total defense, yielding as many rushing yards as passing yards. U-Hi’s defense will be tested by the MCC’s second-ranked offense.
Shadle Park at Kennewick
Records: Highlanders (4-5), Lions (6-2-1)
When: Friday, Lampson Stadium, 7
Road to postseason: Kennewick earned the top seed with a 27-14 win over Kamiakin last week. Shadle Park earned the GSL’s second 3A seed with wins over Rogers, North Central and Mt. Spokane.
Statistical leaders: The Lions are led by running back Devven Ramos (1,315 yards, 6.9 ypc). Ramos gained more than 300 yards against Walla Walla. Quarterback Dylan Tennancour passed for 939 yards and 11 TDs. Shadle sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien had a record-shattering season, passing for 3,179 yards including 577 in one game – both all-time GSL bests. Receiver Tanner Pauly led the GSL with 64 catches for 1,110 yards and eight TDs. Four of the GSL’s five top receivers statistically were Highlanders.
At a glance: Kennewick’s defense held opponents to just less than 1,000 yards passing. It’s unlikely, though, that the Lions faced a quarterback like Rypien. The problem is the Lions can’t key on one receiver. And if the Lions blitz, Rypien could eat them up by hitting the hot receiver. Shadle’s defensive weakness is Kennewick’s offensive strength. Something will have to give.
Idaho, 5A quarterfinal
Lake City at Eagle
Records: T-wolves (5-3-1), Mustangs (7-2)
When: Friday, 6
Road to postseason: Lake City downed Post Falls 19-7 last week in a play-in game, while Eagle earned the second of four playoff seeds from the Boise area.
Statistical leaders: Eagle is led by quarterback JT Williams, who passed for 1,869 yards and rushed for 513. LC is led by running backs Brandon Johnson (636) and Jerry Louie-McGee (635) and quarterback Bruce Shipley, who has passed for 942 and rushed for 398.
At a glance: This is a rematch from a season opener at Eagle which the Mustangs won 35-27. LC coach Van Troxel believes his team has improved measurably in the last eight weeks, especially on defense.