Greater Spokane League 3A champion Mt. Spokane knew hosting a first-round playoff game last week would be important.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats faced a daunting task – generating offense against one of the best defensive teams in the state, a Peninsula squad that had allowed an average of 12.4 points this season.
But the Seahawks hadn’t faced Kannon Katzer yet.
The Mt. Spokane senior carried 39 times for 303 yards with three touchdowns and the Wildcats (9-2) handled Peninsula 35-10 at Albi Stadium on Friday.
Katzer’s performance increased his season total to 2,469 yards rushing with 38 total touchdowns.
“For him to run the way that he does, he continues to do it, it’s a great blessing for us,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said. “We continue to block well; the kids are buying into it. It’s becoming who we are as a team.”
Their reward is the undefeated, top-ranked and top-seeded O’Dea Fighting Irish (10-0) in a quarterfinal at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Thank you very much,” Cloer joked about drawing the top-seeded team in the second round.
“You know, you have to beat the best to end up holding the trophy in the end,” he added. “I would have liked it to have been, you know, another round into it before we met them, but you gotta beat them all.”
O’Dea cruised through the Metro League this season – the Irish claimed the Mountain Division title by beating the previous No.1 team, defending state champion Eastside Catholic, 28-6 on Oct. 11, halting Eastside’s 18-game winning streak in the process.
The Irish averaged nearly 37 points and allowed a paltry 8.8 per game overall. Coach Monte Kohler has won four state titles in his 35 seasons at O’Dea and uses a classic “I” formation to ground and pound.
“They’re going to line up and run the football and do what they do,” Cloer said. “They’re really big up front and physical and the defensive front’s really big. So that’s going to be the key to the game – how can we stand in with them and make plays up front on both sides of the ball.”
Deer Park (9-0) at Montesano (11-0), Saturday at 2 p.m.: The sixth-seeded Stags put their perfect season on the line against a third-seeded Bulldogs squad that is also perfect.
Matthew Jorgensen rushed for 171 yards on 23 carries with an 83-yard touchdown run in Deer Park’s 22-20 win over 11th-seeded Zillah in a first-round matchup last week. Bennett Lim added a rushing and receiving TD as the Northeast A champs went up by 15 early in the fourth quarter and held on for a close win.
Adna (7-3) vs Chewelah (7-4), Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gonzaga Prep: The fourth-seeded Cougars breezed past 13th-seeded Tonasket last week 36-7 and have been led all season by Northeast 2B first-team all-league selections QB Jake Jeanneret and RB Kaden Krouse.
Chewelah lost four of its first five games but won its last six.
Fifth-seeded Adna rocked 12th-seeded Davenport 51-7 in a first-round pairing.
Selkirk (9-1) vs Odessa (10-0), Friday at 7 p.m. at Quincy HS: Top-seeded Odessa starts its state title defense with a matchup against the eighth-seeded Rangers from the Northeast 1B.
The Tigers have dominated their competition this season, outscoring opponents 755-42, including hanging a season-high 92 points in a win over rival Almira/Coulee-Hartline, the No. 2-ranked team in state at the time.
Odessa is paced by defending State 1B player of the year Marcus King, who rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s title game against ACH.
Selkirk’s Jay Link threw four touchdown passes and returned two interceptions for touchdowns and the Rangers defeated Pomeroy in a 1B crossover last week to advance to state.
Lummi (7-3) at Almira/Coulee-Hartline (10-1), Saturday at 4 p.m. at Quincy: In any other comparison, third-seeded ACH would stand out as a classification powerhouse – the Warriors outscored their competition 632-218 this year. The past two seasons they have lost only twice – both to league rival Odessa – though they are the only team in the state that can boast of a win over the Tigers in that time frame.
Brayton Schafer rushed for 228 yards and four touchdowns and caught a pair of touchdowns as ACH blanked visiting Bridgeport (4-6) in a regional playoff last week.
Coeur d’Alene (9-2) vs Rigby (9-1), Saturday at 1 p.m. at Kibbie Dome: The 5A title game is a rematch of the opening game of the season, when the Vikings withstood a late comeback attempt to beat the visiting Trojans 31-26 – Rigby’s only loss of the campaign.
CdA hopes to provide a more stout defense against the run than it did that game in August – Keegan Thompson and Brigham Youngstrom both ran for more than 130 yards with Thompson scoring three times. CdA countered with Jack Prka throwing for 259 yards with a pair of TD passes to Colbey Nosworthy.
The Vikings have had an impressive postseason – knocking off Mountain View 31-21 in a quarterfinal and avenging an earlier loss by downing Highland 21-17 in a semifinal – in their attempt to capture a sixth state title and first since 2013.