The postseason officially gets underway this week, and plenty of area teams are in win-or-go-home mode.
All three Greater Spokane League 4A teams are in crossover games against Mid-Columbia Conference opponents. The two 3A teams have matchups in the 32-team opening-round bracket.
In the 2A ranks, three teams battle Friday for one remaining spot in the round of 16.
All games Friday 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Chiawana (5-4) at Gonzaga Prep (9-0): G-Prep is ranked No. 3 in the state media poll and No. 6 by RPI. Regardless, the Bullpups bring a bruising running game led by senior Ryan McKenna and a punishing defense, led by Division I-bound Kaz Melzer and run-stuffing nose guard Ephraim Watkins. The Riverhawks gave Kamiakin a good game early in the season and have won three of their past four.
Central Valley (7-2) at Richland (7-2): This matchup might be the most intriguing 4A game in the state this week featuring a pair of second-seeded teams that would argue they belong in the round of 16 next week – CV comes in 14th in the RPI and Richland is 17th. Either way, one team will be left out when the dust settles.
Lewis and Clark (4-6) at Kamiakin (9-0): Saturday 7 p.m. The Tigers got 222 yards and three total TDs from Gentz Hilburn in the play-in game win over Pasco Tuesday to advance. But be careful what you wish for – the Braves are the No. 4-rated team in terms of RPI in 4A and boast Division I-caliber athletes up and down the roster, including QB Henry Mercado and WR Gabe Tahir.
Gig Harbor (6-3) at Mt. Spokane (6-2): Saturday 1 p.m. This game looks even on paper, with the Wildcats rated 18th and the Tides 20th in the state 3A RPI. The seeding committee thought enough of Mt. Spokane to have it in its top 16 to host a game this week despite a 28-20 loss to G-Prep last week. Mt. Spokane quarterback Kellin Flanigan will try to exploit the deep ball.
Mead (3-5) at Yelm (8-0): Saturday 2 p.m. The Panthers advanced to the big bracket without a tiebreaker since University had to back out of the playoffs due to COVID protocol. It’s a daunting road matchup for first-year coach Keith Stamps’ team: the Tornados are No. 2 in the state 3A RPI and have allowed more than six points once in the past five weeks.
East Valley (4-3, 3-2) vs West Valley (5-3, 2-2): Since the Knights, Eagles and Clarkston all finished with two losses in league, the three play in a tiebreaker for the second seed to the round of 16 while Shadle Park appreciates the week off. Reasean Eaton and Jake Barker have helped WV win three in a row, including a two-TD win over Clarkston.
Winner vs Clarkston (4-4, 4-2): The Bantams, losers of two in row to West Valley and Shadle Park, await the victor of the first minigame.
Cashmere (5-4) at Lakeside (9-0): The Northeast A League boasts three of the top eight 1A teams in the state RPI, so it’s a good thing the league crosses over with the Caribou Trail League for the combined four bids to state.
The Eagles, rated No. 3 in 1A by RPI, edged Freeman last week to remain undefeated in the regular season behind Kole Hunsaker’s 300-yard passing day.
Chelan (4-4) at Riverside (8-1): The Rams tuned up for the postseason with a lopsided win over Medical Lake, Riverside’s second consecutive shutout and third of the season.
Freeman (6-2) at Cascade (4-4): Despite last week’s setback, the Scotties have to see this week’s matchup as a golden opportunity to prove they belong as a state-caliber squad.
Newport (4-4) at Omak (6-1): The Grizzlies lost to the three top teams in the league but beat the others, earning the fourth spot in the crossovers. That means a date on the road with the Pioneers, rated No. 6 by RPI.
Eagle (8-2) at Coeur d’Alene (6-2): The Vikings hope to advance to a semifinal for the fifth consecutive season. To do that, they’ll have to stop the Mustangs’ six-game winning streak. CdA quarterback Brayden Bengston (1,734 yards, 15 TDs) must limit turnovers.
Shelley (7-3) at Sandpoint (6-2): The Bulldogs blew out Mountain Home 46-0 last week as Gerrit Cox accounted for four rushing touchdowns.
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