Seven down, two to go.
Can you believe it?
As Tom has been touching on lately, there are some great races to the finish in football, and not just for the front-runners.
Which ones have grabbed your interest?
Since I primarily cover the South Puget Sound League (4A and 3A) as well as Seamount, those are the most compelling to me right now.
I’m really anxious to see how the Seamount shakes out. After being on the Evergreen bandwagon early, I admit I had my doubts after that loss to Renton in Week 6. Sure, Renton plays great defense. The Indians got another shutout last week against Mount Rainier, with D.J. Barnes (three sacks) leading the way. But they hadn’t been overly impressive on offense and I thought Evergreen had enough fire-power to win that one going away.
That’s high-school football for you.
Renton earned the respect it deserved with that victory, moving into the Class 3A state rankings at No. 8, and Evergreen apparently got the kick in the rear it needed to play at fullspeed at all times.
The Wolverines had the pedal to the metal against Kennedy last Friday. They roared up and down the field in that 52-24 romp. Not many teams have ever put up 50-plus points against Kennedy. The only other time since the 1980s that I know of was the 60-7 thumping by Bellevue in the first round of the 2002 state playoffs.
Evergreen’s running backs are dubbled “thunder and lighnting.” Nuve Kongaika is the thunder and Kyle Tunney the lightning. Check out their sizes and you’ll see why Kongaika gets the “thunder” half of the equation. Truth be told, he’s pretty lightning quick, too. Together, they officially struck for 393 yards and six touchdowns against Kennedy.
Equally impressive was the line play of Washington-bound Senio Kelemete. Not only was he a big part of that line play that opened the doors for Kongaika and Tunney, he was a major force on defense with 10 solo tackles, including four sacks and one other tackle for loss.
After the Wolverines celebrated with their traditional “Haka,” which really gets fans fired up, former Evergreen quarterback Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson came up to Kelemete and told him that was one of the best defensive efforts he had ever seen.
“You were a warrior tonight,” Thompson told him.
Kennedy, by the way, wasn’t at full strength, although coach Bob Bourgette didn’t want to make excuses. Domonic Shepperd, who came in a the team’s co-leader in rushing with 400 yards (including 170 against Lindbergh), didn’t play any offense due to a groin injury and was in only for about a half on defense.
Still, the Lancers simply couldn’t stop Evergreen. But they still have a shot at a share of the Seamount League title if they take care of business this week against Mount Rainier and knock off Renton in the final game of the regular season.
For playoff purposes, that three-way tie would be decided using a point system. No tiebreaker game here. It’s the same system the SPSL uses. It is based on how many points a team wins or loses by, with a 14-point cap for tiebreaker purposes (so as not to encourage teams running up the score).
So, Evergreen lost to Renton by 1, but beat Kennedy by 14 or more so has a plus-13 and would get the No. 1 seed. Then I believe it reverts back to head-to-head, which means Kennedy would be No. 2 and Renton No. 3.
Renton still has to beat Lindbergh (3-4, 3-2) this week, let’s not forget, but the Indians should be up to that.
The SPSL 4A North is pretty much decided with Federal Way, Kentwood and Kentridge in the top three spots. They would advance in that order, if Federal Way beats Kentridge this week.
The SPSL South is another story. What a wild chase that’s going to be with five teams — possibly six if Curtis comes up with an upset of Puyallup — chasing after four berths. That’s another case where the tiebreaker system could come into play.
Franklin Pierce is all but assured of the SPSL 3A title and Auburn seems a shoe-in for a playoff berth, but the other two spots look pretty much up for grabs.
More ties broken by point differentials?
Some leagues actually play tiebreaker games on the Tuesday before the opening round of the playoffs, rather than use a points system. In spme ways, it seems more fair — decide it on the field, right? But then the winner has a lot less rest than their opponent the next Saturday, which is why the SPSL and Seamount have gone the other direction.
What’s your preference? Give us some feedback and stay tuned. We’ll let you know how it all sorts out.