Eastern Washington has had kind of a rough go of it during the state football playoffs. Just three teams remain to represent the region in semifinal games spread out across the state.
The largest area school left in the playoffs is Deer Park out of the Northeast A League.
Of course, a couple of NEA schools had a pretty good run last year – Colville topped Newport in the State 1A championship game last season after the Indians ended Royal’s 58-game winning streak in a semifinal, while Newport topped Lynden Christian, Deer Park’s opponent on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“This is a tough league, maybe the toughest Class 1A league in the state,” Deer Park coach Keith Stamps said recently. “You cannot take a week off against anyone in this league.”
The Stags (10-0) enter play as the sixth seed, while the Lyncs (10-1) are the seventh seed. On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Royal (12-0) takes on 13th-seeded Connell (10-3) at Lions Field in Moses Lake.
Deer Park has been led all season by running back Matthew Jorgensen. The senior rushed for 126 yards with a pair of touchdowns as the visiting Stags defeated Montesano (11-1) 20-17 in a quarterfinal last weekend.
The Stags built a 20-3 halftime lead on TD runs of 72 and 12 yards by Jorgensen, then withstood Montesano’s challenge after intermission.
Jorgensen is the son of Deer Park wrestling coach Matt Jorgensen. He is the fourth member of the second generation of Jorgensens to play football at the school.
“My mom and dad both went to Deer Park and played sports here,” Matthew said. “I’ve been going to Deer Park football games since I was, like, 6 years old.”
“Matt is the fastest player we’ve ever had here,” Stamps said. “That’s saying something because the second- and third-fastest players we’ve had here are both his brothers. He’s the best running back we’ve had.”
Lynden Christian is led on offense by quarterback Trajan Schouten and is coached by Dan Kaemingk, in his 25th season with the Lyncs.
LC beat La Salle 31-7 in a state quarterfinal last week. Schouten went 15 of 18 for 229 yards with a touchdown pass, and Easton Stremier scored on two 1-yard plunges and had 51 yards on 15 carries.
Entiat (9-2) vs Odessa (11-0): Saturday at noon at Lions Field. Odessa has run roughshod over the competition this season trying to repeat as State 1B champs. The top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Tigers have outscored their opponents 837-66, an average of 76-6 per game.
Senior Marcus King is the defending State 1B player of the year and the odds-on favorite to repeat. King had 284 yards on 14 carries with six touchdowns, and Josh Clark added 122 yards on 10 tries in the Tigers’ 82-24 win over Selkirk (9-2) in a quarterfinal last week.
The game is a rematch from a Central Washington 1B league game on Nov. 8, when Odessa beat Entiat 78-14. Fourth-seeded Entiat is led by brothers Colby and Case Crutcher.
Almira/Coulee-Hartline (11-1) vs Naselle (11-0): Saturday at 1 p.m. at Tumwater HS. ACH hopes to gain a chance to avenge a loss in last year’s title game against Odessa with a semifinal win. The third-seeded Warriors – 2017’s 1B champs – averaged 64 points in their 11 wins this season, with their only blemish a 92-6 loss – to Odessa – in October.
Sophomore Dane is the latest in the Isaak family to lead ACH to athletic success. He had five TD passes and 63-yard rushing TD in an 80-30 win over Lummi last week in a quarterfinal. Senior Brayton Schafer scored nine touchdowns in the win – five rushing and four receiving.
Second-seeded Naselle has lost to ACH in each of the past two playoffs, in a semifinal last year and a quarterfinal in 2017. The Comets are led by senior track star Fa’aoso Tutu’u, who scored three TDs in a 50-46 win over Quilcene last week.
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