The new guy closed the gap two weeks ago to get within one of Sam Adams for the “second-half title,” but alas, fell short.
Therefore, Sam will face off against former preps writer Greg Lee instead of me for the season tiebreaker week. I don’t mind because it lets me watch the games without the added pressure of judgment.
Without further ado:
Camas (9-1) at Central Valley (8-1)
4A first round, Friday at 5 p.m.
Lee: The Bears continue to improve under second-year coach Ryan Butner since a season-opening, two-point loss to Coeur d’Alene. Their stretch of victories included a big win over Gonzaga Prep that propelled them to a league title. Defending state champ Camas’ 59-game regular-season streak of wins came to an end in a 14-13 loss to rival Union. Taking to the road for a long trip is nothing new to Camas, which scored an impressive win at CdA a year ago. The Papermakers rallied for a win at home against CdA in September. It must be noted that CV’s close decision against CdA came when the Vikings were playing without QB Colson Yankoff. CV will have to play as well as it has all season to have a chance late. Camas 32-21.
Adams: Central Valley has just one loss on its ledger: Coeur d’Alene, in the Bears’ season opener. Since then, CV has done nothing but win, including a resounding 43-17 victory over Hanford to reach the State 4A playoffs. But, boy, do the Bears have their hands full with Camas. The Papermakers are far from a paper champ, having beaten Coeur d’Alene (a nonleague game in Washington in September) on the way to a 9-1 season. Camas 38-31.
Coeur d’Alene (8-2) vs. Mountain View (10-0)
Idaho 5A semifinal, Friday at 4 p.m. at Kibbie Dome
Lee: This marks the eighth straight year that one of these teams will play for the state title. The defending state champion Mavericks are seeking a fourth straight state final appearance. Yes, Mountain View is undefeated. But the Mavericks haven’t played the difficult schedule that the Vikings have encountered. Not only is CdA battle-tested, but it is also road tested. The Mavs haven’t played a game outside the Boise area. Mountain View has a stout defense and it will take a stout defense to contain the Vikings’ speed and weapons. CdA 38-21.
Adams: This one should go down to the wire, and both teams are all too familiar with dramatic finishes. Mountain View started the year with three of its first four games being decided by four points or less and had to edge Rigby 14-13 in last week’s state quarterfinal. The Vikings have had a couple of close calls, clipping Central Valley in a 29-27 early-season road win, and a heartbreaking 28-25 road loss to Camas. This is Yankoff’s last shot at going to a state championship game, and I believe the Vikings will find a way to get past the Mavs. Coeur d’Alene 28-24.
Gonzaga Prep (8-2) at Moses Lake (7-2)
4A first round, Friday at 7 p.m.
Lee: The Moses Lake Chiefs haven’t played the schedule played by the Bullpups. The Big Nine can’t match the GSL or G-Prep’s nonleague opponents. Now don’t get me wrong, the Bullpups can lose if they don’t play well. But they’re hungry and have improved measurably since falling to CV. G-Prep 28-14.
Adams: Can we talk about the Bullpups’ defense? Since an early October loss to Central Valley, Gonzaga Prep has allowed 33 points in four games. That, folks, is called rising to the occasion. It will take more than just defense to survive a first-round matchup in Moses Lake, but if the Bullpups can avoid turnovers, they should just be fine. Gonzaga Prep 35-21.
Rainier Beach (7-2) vs. Mt. Spokane (8-2)
3A first round, Friday at 5 p.m. at Albi Stadium
Lee: I said at the start of the season the Wildcats could make a deep run and I’m not backing away from that statement. However, this game will be a test. The Vikings’ losses have come to the two top-ranked 3A teams in the state – Eastside Catholic (42-28) and O’Dea (49-28). They could end up in the state final. Defense will be critical for the Wildcats. Mt. Spokane 24-21.
Adams: Who am I to go against the Wildcats on their home turf? Mt. Spokane had coasted to three straight GSL wins after a narrow loss to Mead in the Battle of the Bell, and there were real concerns about how the Wildcats would fare in their playoff opener last week against Bishop Blanchet. Now the stakes get raised with a trip to the State 3A quarterfinals on the line. Mt. Spokane 28-24.
Franklin Pierce (6-4) at West Valley (10-0)
2A first round, Saturday at 1 p.m.
Lee: I was impressed when I saw the Eagles in their season opener and they’ve done nothing but impress since. They cruised through league play hardly breaking a sweat. Then they punished Ephrata in a crossover win last week. Three of the Cardinals’ losses came against teams in the playoffs, and they were lopsided defeats, too. WV shouldn’t have much difficulty advancing. WV 27-13.
Adams: West Valley has a real shot at going to this year’s State 2A championship game. But as Confucius once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That journey begins with a first-round home game against Franklin Pierce. This, after a perfect regular season that saw the Eagles play just one game decided by fewer than 16 points. The Eagles’ biggest weakness may be the fact that they’re just not used to adversity. But that shouldn’t be a problem this weekend. West Valley 28-14.
Connell (8-2) at Colville (8-1)
1A first round, Saturday at 2 p.m.
Lee: Like most of the games featured here, this one is a coin flip. I’m a big fan of Colville, but my gut says Connell. The Eagles lost to No. 1-ranked and defending state champ Royal 24-21 earlier in Royal City. They also have two wins over 2A teams. Colville’s lone loss was 13-12 to West Valley. My coin came up Connell. Connell 22-20.
Adams: Colville draws the short straw to begin the 1A playoffs, getting Connell in the first round. Connell, in case you didn’t know, lost just one game this season (not including a forfeit loss to College Place), and that was to two-time defending state champion Royal. Still, I can’t shake this feeling that something special lies ahead for the Indians, who have been incredible this season. Outside of a one-point loss to 2A West Valley, Colville has been dominant and unbeatable. The Indians’ playoff run will not end in the first round. Colville 21-16.