5A state championship game
Coeur d’Alene Vikings (9-2)
vs. Madison Bobcats (11-0)
When: Friday, 5 PST
Road to final: Coeur d’Alene beat Rocky Mountain in the quarterfinals and Highland in the semifinals, while Madison opened with a win over Capital and eliminated Lake City last week.
At a glance: Next to uber-talented Skyline of Sammamish, the Bobcats may have the best high-octane offense. They want to pass, pass again and follow it up with passing. CdA’s defense will be stretched and tested. Meanwhile, CdA’s offense isn’t anything to sneeze at. Behind senior running back Reece Mahaffy and junior quarterback Gunnar Amos, the Vikings will move the ball as well. Could be a high-scoring affair unless the defenses are stout.
Mead Panthers (10-1)
at Auburn Trojans (9-2)
When: Saturday, 3
How they got here: Mead topped Newport of Bellevue and Auburn went on the road to beat Eastmont.
At a glance: Finally, the Panthers put together as complete a game as they’ve had this season in their win over Newport. They had no turnovers and limited the penalties to three. This is a good sign. It seems Mead is gaining some continuity after battling through some injuries. It’s hard to figure how good Auburn is, seeing it didn’t have a signature win in the regular season. Going on the road last week and prevailing was impressive. The teams’ offenses could be mirror images. They both like to run and use fly sweeps.
Bellarmine Prep Lions (10-1)
at Gonzaga Prep Bullpups (10-1)
When: Saturday, 2
How they got here: Gonzaga Prep defeated Union and Bellarmine Prep held on against Bothell.
At a glance: The sister Catholic schools square off in what could be a donnybrook. The Lions are led by talented senior quarterback Sefo Luifau, who is headed to the University of Colorado. Of course, the Lions will have their hands full with G-Prep’s ever-so-explosive running attack. This will come down to which team plays the best defense. G-Prep and Mead would face off next week in the semifinals if they win.
North Thurston Rams (9-2)
at University Titans (7-4)
When: Saturday, 5
How they got here: North Thurston got a big road win at Kennewick and University handled O’Dea.
At a glance: Both teams had impressive victories last week. For a second straight week, the Rams must travel and they’ll do so the day of the game. The Rams rely heavily on the run, and it’s a balanced attack. North Thurston fell behind 16-0 against Kennewick, but stormed back. U-Hi needs to continue doing what it’s doing – execute on offense and be stingy on defense.
vs. DeSales Irish (9-1)
When: Saturday, Gonzaga Prep, 5
How they got here: Lind-Ritzville/Sprague beat Tekoa-Oakesdale/Rosalia and DeSales beat White Swan.
At a glance: The Broncos’ core is underclassmen, but they’re not looking ahead to next year. Last year, the Broncos lost to eventual state champ Waitsburg-Prescott in the quarterfinals. LRS spreads the offense around and is led by junior quarterback Dylan Hartz. Broncos coach Greg Whitmore says DeSales is playing as well as any team on the East Side. “They’re the real deal,” Whitmore said.
Reardan Indians (8-2)
vs. Waitsburg-Prescott Cardinals (9-1)
When: Saturday, West Valley, 1
How they got here: Reardan defeated Kittitas for a second time and Waitsburg-Prescott defeated Oroville.
At a glance: Defending state champ WP is heavily favored against a young Reardan team that’s probably a year away from making a deep run in the state playoffs. That’s all fine and good with Reardan coach Eric Nikkola. He appreciates the postseason experience for his team. Indians senior running back Charlie Eldred has rushed for 1,000 yards.
Cusick Panthers (11-0)
vs. Touchet Indians (8-2)
When: Friday, Gonzaga Prep, 7
How they got here: Both teams won crossover qualifiers.
At a glance: Third-ranked Cusick has been a regular postseason participant in recent years. The teams are facing each other for a second straight year in the quarterfinals. Touchet eliminated Cusick last year. “We’re very fiery and competitive,” Cusick coach Sonny Finley said. The Panthers are led by senior quarterback Ryan Sample, who has thrown for 2,500 yards and 51 touchdowns while rushing for 850 and 12 TDs.