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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

November 20, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Quarterfinal football breakdown

A look at this week’s games involving area teams:

Liberty at Bellevue, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Why Liberty can win: Coach Steve Valach walked into halftime down 17-0 last week and asked the team if they thought they could score 21 points in the second half. They said yes, and they did just that to win 21-17 against Kennedy. “There was a sense of calm and they believed,” Valach said. So why can Liberty win? Because they believe they can. And the Patriots have a team that can play with Bellevue, with a running game that can break one and perhaps the second-best quarterback left playing in the state. Trey Wheeler threw for 150+ yards in the second half against Bellevue in a 24-7 loss four weeks ago.

Why Bellevue can win: The Wolverines are even better than they were four weeks ago. They’re healthy, and with Peter Nguyen back in the backfield, they’re more dangerous to break a big run. No matter who is playing quarterback for Bellevue — it rotates three of them — they all can make the downfield pass that kills any team that creeps up against the run. But take a look at Bellevue’s games against playoff teams and you’ll se something in common: they have played exceptional defense in all of them. The Wolverines held Mount Si and Liberty to just seven points, and Bothell didn’t score on the Wolverines until the game was out of hand in the second half.

Prediction: Bellevue 24, Liberty 21

Eastside Catholic at Lakes, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mt. Tahoma

Why Eastside Catholic can win: The Crusaders have the state’s most dangerous return man in Marion Bactol; he basically won the Mount Si game last week with his long return. Bactol also combines with Michael Bush to give EC a running game that can take one all the way if Lakes — a young Lakes team — misses an assignment. And on defense, the Crusaders have not allowed more than 17 points since their week 2 loss to Archbishop Murphy.

Why Lakes can win: The Lancers have run over everyone. Even against O’Dea, backup running back Willis Wilson went for 179 yards on 20 carries. And the Lakes defense showed against O’Dea that it can hold a narrow lead. Jamaal Kearse, brother of UW receiver Jermaine, is one of the top juniors in the state, and he scores in many different ways. Don’t be surprised if he does something to swing the game Lakes’ way.

Prediction: Lakes 28, Eastside Catholic 14

Auburn at Skyline, 1 p.m. Saturday

Why Auburn can win: Not many teams have the secondary to stick with the Spartans, but the Trojans do. Carlo Lavoie has nine interceptions in 10 games, and Chris Young was the best safety in the SPSL this season. Auburn will give zone looks that Jake Heaps will have to be aware of. The Auburn running game is built for long drives, drives that can keep the ball away from Skyline and keep the game close.

Why Skyline can win: The Spartans not only have one of the state’s dominant offenses, they’re No. 1 in Class 4A in scoring defense. The first team has allowed only one touchdown, and as I pointed out yesterday, that’s going to be the toughest part for Auburn. Because no one gets free against Skyline. The Spartans also have four quality receivers and a QB capable of finding the one that’s most open, and Skyline will not force it to anyone.

Prediction: Skyline 27, Auburn 18

Bothell at Issaquah, 7 p.m. Saturday

Why Bothell can win: This is a vastly different team than the one that lost to Issaquah in week one. They’re playing with confidence, with discipline and with one of the deepest teams in any class. The offensive and defensive lines are back to dominating the line of scrimmage, and on offense, that has really opened things up for RB Patrick Ottorbech, the KingCo Crown offensive player of the year. A complete secondary will make life hard for Issaquah’s passing game.

Why Issaquah can win: If it had avoided three fumbles, the Eagles would have walked away from Kentwood with a blowout instead of a 31-28 win last week. Issaquah says it feels more like the team that played Bothell in week one, and that team really beat the Cougars up on the lines. Bothell coach Tom Bainter couldn’t remember a game where his team was physically beaten so badly. And if the offensive line is making room, RB Grant Gellatly is about as shifty as they get. He ran for 313 yards last week on 32 carries, and Bothell can get ready to see a lot of him. But if Bothell commits too much to the run, Issaquah QB Joey Bradley can kill the Cougars deep.

Prediction: Bothell 28, Issaquah 21

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