Washington playoffs Semifinal round
University Titans (8-4) vs. Eastside Catholic Crusaders (12-0)
When: Today, Joe Albi Stadium, 4 p.m.
At a glance: Without a doubt this will be the Titans’ most difficult game to date. But, hey, they’re used to these things by now. They weren’t supposed to beat Kamiakin in a play-in game, they weren’t supposed to beat O’Dea in the first round and they weren’t supposed to beat North Thurston in the quarterfinals. So go ahead and tell the Titans they can’t win. Just more fuel for the fire. Seriously, though, U-Hi must play well to have a chance against a high-powered offense and equally effective defense. The second-ranked Crusaders are coached by former Sandpoint standout Jeremy Thielbahr, who played at Washington State and was an assistant coach at Idaho before going to EC. The Crusaders are a spread team on offense and use a 3-3 scheme on defense. The Titans have played especially well on defense and special teams in the postseason. That must continue. EC is led by quarterback Trey Reynolds, who passed and rushed for more than 100 yards last week, and running back Henry Jarvis, who rushed eight times for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the Crusaders’ 65-34 win over Marysville-Pilchuck last week.
Prediction: EC 27, U-Hi 21
Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Broncos (12-0) vs. Waitsburg-Prescott Cardinals (11-1)
When: Today, Lampson Stadium, Kennewick, 2
At a glance: This just might be a game of survival. Both teams come in banged up in key spots. Broncos coach Greg Whitmore is concerned with the Cardinals’ big-play capability. And as defending state champ, W-P has been there and done that. If the Broncos can control the tempo with a ball-control attack, they can knock off the Cardinals. They’ll have to do it with a makeshift offensive line. The Broncos must defend against quarterback Sterling Eastman, who has thrown for 2,586 yards, including 348 last week against Reardan, and speedy receiver James Thompkins.
Prediction: W-P 25, LRS 20
Cusick Panthers (12-0) vs. Liberty Christian Patriots (12-0)
When: Today, Joe Albi Stadium, 1
At a glance: The Patriots have been ranked No. 1 most of the season, and they’ve overwhelmed opponents with power football and a stingy defense. If the Panthers win, it will be by utilizing their speed. They’re much smaller than the Patriots. “Their quarterback might be bigger than anybody on our team,” Cusick coach Sonny Finley said. “I think we’ll surprise them with our fundamentals. We have no chance against them if we try to sit there in a tight I (formation). We’ll try to take advantage of what we have and what they don’t have.” LC has given up just 86 points – quite a feat in the wide-open game of 8-man football.
Prediction: Cusick 52, Liberty Christian 49