It’s weird that the playoffs are already lurking right around the corner. It seems like just yesterday teams were getting ready to kick off the 2012 season.
But here we are, heading into Week 9 with a bunch of appetizing games on the schedule.
In this edition of TFQ, we’ll look at how Juanita defied expectation to turn around its season and how Desmond Young provided a game-changing spark for Edmonds-Woodway. We’ll also look at the top two seeds in each division in 3A and 4A leagues in the Seattle area.
Of course, big performances and rankings can be found at the bottom of the post.
But first, back to those appetizing matchups this week…
A story worth watching
The final week before playoff football starts is upon us. The majority of games from here on out will decide something: whether a team goes home or advances, seeding, a league title, something.
That’s true of plenty of games this weekend, too. League titles, for starters, will be decided. Teams will learn if they make the playoffs or if they’ll be playing an exhibition game in Week 10. The round of 32 will fall into shape after this week.
I can’t wait.
So I’m going to go ahead and get right to the point: Here are a bunch of games (not all, but a bunch) that will either decide a league title or is of serious interest as we take one last warm-up lap before the playoff sprint begins.
And in case you’re curious, click here for the full Week 9 schedule for Metro, KingCo and WesCo teams with an explanation for KingCo’s mini playoff and seeding.
Kennedy (6-1, 5-0) vs. Lindbergh (7-1, 5-0), Thursday at 7 p.m.
In short: Kennedy hasn’t been tested since the first two weeks of the season while Lindbergh slipped into the 2A rankings this week. Winner takes the Seamount title.
Skyline (8-0) vs. Bothell (5-3), Thursday
In short: A rematch of Week 1, when Skyline rallied from a 14-point hole to beat Bothell 33-21. A good test of how far the two teams have come. Also, keep in mind: Skyline played without six or seven starters in that first game.
Eastside Catholic (8-0) vs. Nathan Hale (7-1), Friday at 7:45 p.m.
In short: The Crusaders passed their toughest test of the season against O’Dea two week ago, while Hale gets a chance to pull an upset.
Federal Way (8-0) at Curtis (7-1), Friday at 7 p.m.
In short: Federal Way has rolled through all its competition this season. Curtis, though, might be the best of the bunch and just so happen to pop up on the schedule to end the regular season.
Lakewood (8-0, 5-0) at King’s (8-0, 6-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
In short: Lakewood is ranked 4th in 2A. King’s is ranked first in 1A. Oh, and the game will also decide the Cascade title.
Glacier Peak (7-1) at Marysville Pilchuck (7-1), Friday at 8 p.m.
In short: Pilchuck features one of the best one-two RB tandems in Austin
Joyner and Kacey Walker while Glacier Peak relies on an up-tempo offense to put up points. The WesCo 3A championship is up for grabs.
Monroe (4-4) at Jackson (7-1), Friday at 8 p.m.
In short: Jackson’s been on a roll of late and looks to continue that by winning the WesCo 4A title and taking the league’s top seed into the playoffs.
Lakes (5-3, 4-0) vs. Peninsula (6-2, 4-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
In short: Lakes possesses loads of talent but started the year with three losses in the first four games. Peninsula, meanwhile, just entered the 3A top 10. The SPSL 3A title and top seed is there for the taking.
Big games and bits and pieces
I wanted to start by pointing out the top two teams from each division in 4A and 3A heading into these Week 9 matchups. That way, you can get a feel for which teams will be the top two seeds coming out of these conferences in the round of 32.
KingCo 4A Crest Division:
1. Bothell (5-3)
2. Woodinville (6-2)
KingCo 4A Crown Division:
1. Skyline (8-0)
2. Newport (5-3)
WesCo 4A North:
1. Monroe (4-4)
2. Lake Stevens (6-2)
WesCo 4A South:
1. Jackson (7-1)
2. Edmonds-Woodway (6-2)
SPSL 4A North:
1. Kentwood (8-0)
2. Auburn (6-2)
SPSL 4A South:
1. Federal Way (8-0)
2. Curtis (7-1)
Metro League Sound Division:
1. Nathan Hale (7-1)
2. Rainier Beach (4-3)
Metro League Mountain Division:
1. Eastside Catholic (8-0)
2. O’Dea (6-2)
WesCo 3A North:
1. Marysville-Pilchuck (7-1)
2. Oak Harbor (6-2)
WesCo 3A South:
1. Glacier Peak (7-1)
2. Meadowdale (6-2)
T1. Peninsula (6-2)
T1. Lakes (5-3)
1. Kennedy (6-1)
2. Hazen (4-4)
Juanita turns season around, earns final spot out of KingCo 3A
The Juanita football program started this season facing skepticism. The Rebels had gone 4-6 in 2011 and missed the playoffs just a year after earning KingCo 3A’s second seed.
Making matters worse, a talented group of seniors graduated and running back Darrin Laufasa, a BYU commit, transferred to Bothell.
Then the Rebels began the 2012 season with a loss to Monroe (4-4) and a 60-6 loss to Mount Si, and it looked like anyone who looked at the Juanita program with a skeptical eye was right.
“Our kids felt like the community and maybe even some of them thought, Shoot, we’re not going to be that good,” Juanita coach Shaun Tarantola said. “Within the community, a lot of people thought, Juanita is going to be pretty down this year. And our kids didn’t believe that really, but after losing like we did to Mount Si and losing to Monroe, doubt kind of crept into their heads.”
Yet Juanita grabbed what Tarantola called a huge win against Liberty in Week 4 and then lost 49-0 to No. 1 Bellevue.
But it was after the Bellevue game that Juanita’s players started coming in voluntarily on weekends and before school in order to be more prepared. The following week, the Rebels knocked off then-ranked Mercer Island. They’ve now won three straight games.
The end result: Juanita is playoff bound barring Mercer Island pulling the upset of the year against No. 1 Bellevue on Friday. Instead, the Rebels will take the third and final spot in KingCo 3A.
Bellevue is the top seed while Mount Si is the second seed.
“This season’s been pretty rewarding to see our team respond to adversity,” Tarantola said. “Every game that we’ve had to win or our postseason opportunity is over, we’ve won. Every time our backs have been against the wall, we’ve played our best football.”
The Rebels have been doing it with a freshman quarterback, Tavin Montgomery, who is 4-1 as a starter. In his last three games, all Juanita wins, the dual-threat Montgomery has accounted for nine touchdowns.
“He’s everything that we needed at that position so far,” Tarantola said. “He’s been great. He’s protected the ball. He hasn’t made bad turnovers. He makes really good decisions, and he doesn’t really get rattled.”
Kendrick Murphy has also come up big in that stretch, scoring five touchdowns in his last three games. Running backs Trayon McNairy and Oscar Fuentes have run the ball better, shoring up what Tarantola called his team’s weakness earlier this year.
And that’s all added up to a spot in the playoffs for the Rebels.
The most competitive classification in the state?
The answer to the above question, in my mind, is…2A. Before I go any farther, I should point out that this doesn’t mean I think 2A teams would go beat 3A and 4A teams. It also doesn’t mean that 3A and 4A couldn’t have interesting battles as well.
It simply means this: I think 2A has the most teams that could realistically win the state title this year. Ryland Spencer, who does a great job with Northwest Elite Index, sent out this tweet a couple days ago: “I truly think 7 teams could legitimately win a 2A state title. Lakewood, Othello, Prosser, Lynden, Tumwater, Capital and Mark Morris.”
At first I thought he was wrong. But then I started thinking about it. And you know what? He’s absolutely right. You could make a legitimate case for seven teams. I’m not sure you can do that for 3A or 4A.
Lakewood has rolled through opponents, beating Blaine earlier in the season and dominating Archbishop Murphy. Lynden is fresh off a decisive win against Ferndale, a team ranked as high as fourth in some 3A polls. Capital beat Newport and Bothell this year and lost to Bellarmine Prep by only 10 points…but then lost to Tumwater.
And you may have noticed that I haven’t even talked about Othello, the team I have ranked No. 1 in 2A which beat Prosser and shutout once-ranked Ellensburg.
Most of those teams are out of our coverage area, but if you are a fan of high school football, you’d be smart to keep an eye on the 2A playoffs this year.
RB Young returns to give Woodway explosive feature
On the first play for Edmonds-Woodway against Mariner on Friday, EW running back Desmond Young took a handoff and darted 38 yards up the field.
“First play of the game you can see his ability to explode and be a game-changer,” EW coach John Gradwohl said.
Yet for most of the season until that point, Young remained sidelined or limited because of nagging injuries. In fact, he missed three games earlier this season and missed big chunks of three others.
But Young returned on Friday to play his first full game of the year, and maybe not coincidentally, EW (6-2) played perhaps its best game of the year. The Warriors took a 34-0 halftime lead.
Young could be a game-changer for the Warriors moving forward.
“That’s one of the better halves we’ve ever played,” Gradwohl said.
Young rushed 20 times for 186 yards and four touchdowns. He limped during the game, but Gradwohl said Young is 100 percent and he was only limping because of cramps. Young even played both ways against Mariner.
“For the first game of my senior year to be the (eighth) game of the year, it’s been killing me,” Young said.
The win gave Woodway second place in WesCo 4A South and helped the Warriors avoid the possibility of playing Bellarmine Prep in Week 10. EW plays Lake Stevens on Friday the league’s third seed in the playoffs.
“Man, we were hitting on all cylinders tonight,” Gradwohl said.
Ingraham grabs first win of the year
Hats off this week to Ingraham. The Rams got their first win of the year with a 39-34 win against Chief Sealth.
Ingraham had been in close games before, losing to eight to Cleveland and losing by six to Franklin earlier this season. Still, the Rams had opened the year with six straight losses – a streak that came to an end on Thursday, when Ingraham slipped past a 4-4 Sealth team.
Lakes’ Marquin Russell had more than 150 total yards and three touchdowns in three different ways: receiving, rushing and an interception return
Edmonds-Woodway’s Desmond Young rushed for 186 yards and four touchdowns.
King’s Billy Green passed for five touchdowns.
Newport’s Conner Baumann had eight carries for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
Marysville Pilchuck’s Austin Joyner had 270 yards on 18 carries and and touchdowns and had an interception in the fourth quarter.
Oak Harbor’s Jojo Webster returned two fumbles for touchdowns.
Lake Stevens’ Austin Otis had a school-record 280 yards and four touchdowns in his first start.
Kennedy Catholic’s Colin Cossette carried 23 times for 260 yards and three touchdowns.
Roosevelt’s Taku Shiozaki ran for five touchdowns and more than 100 yards.
Hazen’s Jordan Abdullah had eight carries for 135 yards and four touchdowns.
Curtis’ Mitchell Hersey ran for five touchdowns – all five yards or less.
Bothell’s Danny Wilson rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Jackson’s Connor Plaisance threw four touchdowns passes, including three of at least 45 yards.
Federal Way’s Zeek McNeal rushed for 270 yards on just nine carries and scored three touchdowns.
Skyline’s Cedric Cooper had 164 yards rushing and one touchdown.
1. Skyline (Sammamish) (8-0)
2. Federal Way (8-0)
3. Camas (8-0)
4. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (8-0)
5. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (7-1)
6. Mead (Spokane) (7-1)
7. Kentwood (Covington) (8-0)
8. Skyview (Vancouver) (6-2)
9. Bothell (5-3)
10. Graham-Kapowsin (7-1)
Dropped out: Ferris (Spokane) (6-2)
1. Bellevue (8-0)
2. Mount Si (Snoqualmie) (7-1)
3. Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) (8-0)
4. Kennedy Catholic (Burien) (6-1)
5. O’Dea (Seattle) (6-2)
6. Glacier Peak (Snohomish) (7-1)
7. Timberline (Lacey) (7-1)
8. Ferndale (7-1)
9. Peninsula (Gig Harbor) (6-2)
10. Marysville-Pilchuck (7-1)
Dropped out: Meadowdale (6-2), Oak Harbor (6-2)
1. Othello (7-0)
2. Lynden (7-1)
3. Capital (Olympia) (6-2)
4. Lakewood (8-0)
5. Prosser (7-1)
6. Tumwater (7-1)
7. Mark Morris (Longview) (7-1)
8. Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (5-2)
9. Bremerton (7-1)
10. Lindbergh (7-1)
Dropped out: W.F. West (5-3), West Valley (6-2)