Penultimate playoff pairs
It’s semifinal time for five area high school football teams.
Ferris, East Valley, Colfax, Cusick and Almira-Coulee/Hartline are a win away from advancing to state championship games.
Here’s a look at each game:
Ferris (12-0) vs. Bellarmine Prep (11-1), Tacoma Dome, Monday, 5 p.m.
The No. 3-ranked Saxons have made playing in the semifinals a habit lately. This is the fourth straight year and fifth time overall. They’re hoping to return to the title game for a second consecutive season.
To do that, Ferris will have to get past a team that showed fortitude when it trailed fifth-ranked Bothell 21-0. The Lions of Tacoma rallied, winning 28-21 with the winning score coming with 20.6 seconds remaining.
“What we really have to guard against is the big play,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “That’s what they’ve been doing in the playoffs. They’re definitely a big-play team.”
Bellarmine Prep, the Narrows League champion, is in the semifinals for the first time since 1982.
East Valley (7-5) vs. Tumwater (10-1), Tacoma Dome, Monday, 2 p.m.
The Knights face a program familiar with the playoffs, particularly the semifinals.
Tumwater is in the semifinals for the first time since 2006, but the 10th time under Hall-of-Fame coach Sid Otton.
Defense has carried the Thunderbirds this season. But what concerns EV coach Adam Fisher is Tumwater’s offensive style – the Wing T.
“We don’t face that over here,” Fisher said. “It’s a lot of misdirection, linemen pulling, running backs going different ways. We’ll have to focus on reading our keys and tackling well.”
It’s the second time EV has been to the semifinals. The previous time was in 1981 when EV won the state title.
Colfax (11-0) vs. Waitsburg-Prescott (12-0), Pullman, 1 p.m. today
This is a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff opener, won by the Bulldogs 39-0.
Colfax, ranked No. 1 all year, is seeking to return to the state final for a second straight year.
Defense has been a strength for both teams.
“Defense has always carried us,” Colfax coach Mike Morgan said. “It’s what Colfax is noted for.”
ACH (11-0) vs. Cusick (11-1), Cheney, 3 p.m. today
The teams met in a crossover playoff-seeding game that the Warriors won convincingly, 54-6.
It’s the fourth time for both in the semifinals.
Cusick will have to find a way to contain ACH’s high-octane offense powered by Derek Isaak and Colin Deyarmin.