Let the football playoffs begin. All of those debates about where to rank teams? Forget about them now, because they don’t matter. Those teams are about to decide for themselves where they belong.
No matter where you’re heading this weekend, you’re likely to see a good game. But these are my personal favorites:
Bethel at Eastlake. My favorite, and Sandy Ringer’s too. What a great preliminary-round matchup, featuring the area’s top two passers, Eastlake’s Ryan Robertson and Bethel’s Oliver Henry. I’m heading to this one and don’t plan on getting home until late.
Snohomish at Kentwood. Snohomish is the area’s only ranked team that goes on the road in the first round. What Bethel-Eastlake is to passing, this one is to running. Snoho’s Derek Jones and Kentwood’s Demetrius Bronson will make this a battle of running games.
Eastside Catholic at Franklin Pierce. The only game in Class 3A between two top-10 teams. No. 6 Franklin Pierce has rolled to this point, but have they seen a team as good as No. 9 Eastside Catholic? I’m not sure.
Kennedy at Nathan Hale. Hale’s reward for winning the Metro Mountain? Last year’s state runner-up, which got the shortest end of the three-way tie in the Seamount and goes on the road.
Gig Harbor at Bothell. Two truths about this game: Gig Harbor is a huge team, Bothell is not. So could this be a tough first game for the Cougars? Sure. But there’s one more truth: Bothell is undefeated, Gig Harbor is not.
Puyallup at Central Kitsap. I just think should be a fantastic matchup, based on the seasons these two teams had. Puyallup is not a team I’d want to face in the first round, that’s for sure.
Here are the brackets for Class 3A and 4A:
1. Mandy Saintz, Bothell, volleyball. In KingCo championship game, she had 29 kills, 19 digs and six aces to lead the Cougars to the league title.
2. Stine Schoening, Woodinville, girls soccer. Scored twice and added an assist in 4-1 victory against Redmond that puts the Falcons in the state tournament.
3. Stephon Johnson, Kent-Meridian, football. Scored on touchdown runs of 80, 68 and 33 yards in 28-7 victory against Emerald Ridge in a week 10 non-league crossover game.
Tonight’s top games, non-football edition
1. Seattle Prep vs. Lakeside, girls soccer, 7:30 p.m. at Southwest Athletic Complex. Metro championship game.
2. Class 3A Sea-King finals, girls swimming, 5:30 p.m. at Hec-Ed Pavilion Pool (UW). Look out for Skyline’s Andie Taylor, who’s likely headed to the Olympic trials next June.