3A, first round
Mt. Spokane vs. Shadle Park
When: Friday, Albi, 6 p.m.
Records: Wildcats (8-2), Highlanders (9-1)
How they got here: Shadle pummeled Kennewick 48-7 and Mt. Spokane scored with 4 seconds left to knock off Southridge 34-30 last week.
What’s at stake: Winner advances to the quarterfinals and will travel to play Kamiakin (8-2) vs. Columbia River (8-2) winner.
At a glance: In an effort to get the most pressure on QB Brett Rypien in the first meeting the Wildcats exposed their secondary. The Highlanders repeatedly beat one-on-one coverage. Mt. Spokane also found ways to score against the Highlanders. Shadle won’t be balanced offensively, but they have running back Michael Morris back. He rushed for 147 yards last week. He missed the first game against the Wildcats. If Mt. Spokane doesn’t find a way to slow down Shadle’s offense it will be another long night.
2A, first round
Colville at Ellensburg
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Records: Indians (7-3), Ellensburg (10-0)
How they got here: Colville scored a big road win last week and Ellensburg ran the table in the CWAC.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal matchup at home against the winner of East Valley (6-3) vs. Othello (8-2).
At a glance: The teams have one common opponent. Ellensburg opened the season with a 37-6 win over West Valley and the Indians beat WV 28-16. Ellensburg, which has scored 50 or more points seven times, ran roughshod over CWAC teams, but it’s commonly agreed that the league was down. Colville is probably a year away from its best football with this team since it starts just three seniors. “We’re still relatively young,” Colville coach Randy Cornwell said. The Indians’ have enjoyed success with their tight double-wing set and tenacious defense. Junior Colton Vining leads in rushing with 1,032 yards. Cornwell knows his team is the underdog. “It’s going to be a tall order,” he said. “On tape they look like the fastest team we will have faced all year.”
Othello at East Valley
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Records: Huskies (8-2), Knights (6-3)
How they got here: East Valley captured the Great Northern League title and Othello won a 3-way playoff Monday.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal matchup on the road against the Colville (7-3) vs. Ellensburg (10-0) winner.
At a glance: When EV has played well it has been difficult to beat. The Knights had three consecutive shutouts during league including a 20-0 win over Colville. The Knights have the weapons to play with anybody. They’re led by quarterback Connor Ramm, who threw for 1,252 yards in six league games and receivers J.T. Phelan (32 receptions) and Gage Burland (26 receptions). Home field should serve EV well.
1A, first round
Riverside at Royal
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Rams (8-2), Knights (7-3)
How they got here: Riverside earned the NEA second seed by defeating Lakeside 32-29 and then won a play-in game at home last week against Chelan 19-14. Royal upset No. 1-ranked Zillah 17-7 after losing to Zillah 45-15 in late September.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal home game against the winner of Freeman (10-0) vs. River View (9-1).
At a glance: No wonder Royal pulled the upset last week. The Knights are perennial playoff qualifiers and know how to win. Riverside on the other hand is making its first playoff appearance in 11 years. Couple that with playing on the road and Royal has a huge advantage. So the Rams must overcome tradition. “They’ve definitely overachieved,” second-year Riverside coach Tom Griggs said of his team. “I’d never envision we’d be where we’re at right now at the start of the year. We’ve grown into one heckuva football team.” Rams senior QB Sam Zanoni has thrown for 1,193 yards and 15 TDs while rushing for 628. Junior RB Jacob Collins has rushed for 1,036 yards and 16 TDs.
River View vs. Freeman
When: Saturday, Gonzaga Prep, 1 p.m.
Records: Panthers (9-1), Scotties (10-0)
How they got here: River View defeated Cle Elum-Roslyn in a play-in while Freeman captured the NEA title and topped Cascade (Leavenworth) in a play-in game.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal road game at the winner of Royal (7-3) vs. Riverside (8-2).
At a glance: River View finished second in the SCAC Eastern Division behind champion Connell and a spot ahead of power Royal. Freeman has rolled over most opponents this season behind a two-prong running attack. Max Laib has 1,111 yards and 17 TDs and Marcus Goldbach has 948 with 17 TDs. Quarterback Preston Hoppman has thrown for 1,042 and 14 TDs. “I knew the potential was there but in some ways they’ve exceeded my expectations,” Freeman coach Jim Wood said.
2B, first round
DeSales at Lind-Ritzville/Sprague
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Irish (6-3), Broncos (9-0)
How they got here: DeSales edged Davenport 42-41 and LRS defeated Northwest Christian in play-in games.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal road game at the winner of White Swan (9-1) vs. Colfax (5-5).
At a glance: The Irish do what they do every year – they like to throw the ball. Last year they gave the Broncos one of their toughest games, leading most of the way before LRS prevailed 21-14 in the quarterfinals. “It’s the best opponent we’ve had in a while,” said LRS coach Greg Whitmore, whose team is riding a 21-game winning streak. “I think we might be the only team to have a lead on them in the last two years,” DeSales coach Mike Spiess told the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin newspaper. Senior QB Dylan Hartz has led LRS with 1,111 yards passing and 20 TDs. Senior RB Connor O’Neill has 724 yards rushing and 12 TDs.
Oroville vs. Reardan
When: Friday, Gonzaga Prep, 7 p.m.
Records: Hornets (7-2), Indians (7-2)
How they got here: Reardan defeated Asotin and Oroville finished second in the Central Washington League.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal road game at the winner of Adna (7-3) vs. Waitburg-Prescott (7-2).
At a glance: The teams have two common opponents. Both defeated Springdale and Kittitas. Reardan’s wins over those teams were by wider margins. Reardan is led by junior RB Clinton Jeney. The Indians start six seniors and five juniors but as many as 12 juniors see a lot of playing time, coach Eric Nikkola said. “Our defense is tough,” Nikkola said. “We ride on their coattails. We’re the only team to hold Lind-Ritzville/Sprague to 30 or less points. We get the ball and try not to give it back to teams.”
Colfax at White Swan
When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Records: Bulldogs (5-5), Cougars (9-1)
How they got here: Colfax topped Tri-Cities Prep 20-14 in a play-in game and White Swan won the CWL.
What’s at stake: A quarterfinal home game against the winner of DeSales (6-3) vs. Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (9-0).
At a glance: The young Bulldogs have their hands full against White Swan. In more ways than one. The Cougars feature Tony Picard, all of 6-foot-4 and 400 pounds, at fullback. It’s believed Picard is the biggest running back in the nation. On defense he plugs a big hole at nose guard. “We played them a couple of years ago and he was 350 pounds then,” Colfax coach Mike Morgan said. Picard has rushed for more than 700 yards and 15 TDs.
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