The Gridiron Classic is only a day away. By the end of tomorrow night, we’ll already know two of the six state championship in football.
To get you ready, we had a feature today on the three local coaches: Skyline’s Steve Gervais, O’Dea’s Monte Kohler and Bothell’s Tom Bainter.
The Times’ Gridiron Classic section comes out Friday, with features on all of the local teams, and even some on teams coming here from all around the state. We’ll also have preview boxes for each team, and we’ll have our picks for all the games.
About those picks…
Last week I went 3-1 in the Class 4A and 3A games, coming three Edmonds-Woodway points short of perfection. That brings my season record to 17-2. Again, it might be evidence of just how little expertise it takes to get these games right. Or maybe I’m onto something. You’ll have to decide that on your own.
O’Dea vs. Skyline, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Why O’Dea can win: Because not even Bellevue could stop the Irish running game last week. Every time the Irish needed a pass to convert on third or fourth down against Bellevue, they got it. The massive line for the Irish might have the best chance of getting a push on the Skyline offensive line. O’Dea has some of the area’s best coverage men, so if there’s a team that can contain Skyline’s passing game, it could best the Irish.
Why Skyline can win: I just put these numbers into the preview box for Friday’s Gridiron Classic section:
Skyline offense, 376.7 yards per game
Skyline defense, 106.4 yards per game
That’s a difference of almost 270 yards per game. A lot of teams don’t even gain that many yards! Here’s the thing about Skyline: a defense can’t sell out on the pass, even though the Spartans have the great combination of QB Jake Heaps and WR Gino Simone. The offensive line and 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Washburn are too good to take guys out of the box. And all that’s without getting to a defense that scored three times against previously undefeated Franklin Pierce,
The thoughts running through my head: Remember last week, when I said this: “I’m not picking against the Spartans again. It’s that simple.” That hasn’t changed.
The pick: Skyline 26, O’Dea 14
Lewis & Clark vs. Bothell, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Why Lewis & Clark can win: Bothell hasn’t seen a big runner this year like Lewis & Clark’s Alex Shaw. The L&C defense is stout. Take away the fourth quarter Saturday, and the Tigers have allowed 14 points in the 15 other quarters. And this team seams to love the underdog role it’s carried through the playoffs, in which it has already beaten two KingCo 4A teams.
Why Bothell can win: The Cougars have been here before. They learned their lesson last year and won’t be so awestruck this time around. QB Johnny Hekker’s playing his best ball in the postseason. Bothell only allowed one touchdown to Ferris, which hadn’t scored fewer than 19 points all season, and did so on Ferris’ home turf.
The thoughts running through my head: When I was putting together the Bothell preview box, like I did Skyline, these were the numbers:
Bothell offense, 341.3 yards per game
Bothell defense, 107.1 yards per game
That’s very impressive. But so is going through the KingCo 4A schedule undefeated, beating the defending 4A champ and beating the No. 2 team on its home field 250 miles from home. That’s why I’m taking the Cougars this weekend to win their first state title in school history.
The pick: Bothell 21, Lewis & Clark 10
2A �” Prosser, 28-14
1A �” Royal, 38-35
2B �” DeSales, 14-10
1B �” Odessa, 62-56
1. Patrick Clark, Tahoma, boys basketball. In what must have been a great game of two guys going back and forth, Clark scored 27 and Sultan’s Jordan Nicholas 32 in Tahoma’s 56-46 victory.
2. Britt Harris, Marysville-Pilchuck, girls basketball. Scored 19 points in a 65-54 win against Shorecrest.
3. Robbie Marlow, Liberty, boys basketball. Led the Patriots with 20 points in a 75-66 victory against Lindbergh.