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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State football preview: Gonzaga Prep, Mt. Spokane lead five Greater Spokane League teams in pursuit of state title

Gonzaga Prep’s Spencer Paulson tackles Mt. Spokane’s Tristan Olson from behind during the first half of a Greater Spokane League game at Union Stadium on Oct. 20.  (James Snook/The Spokesman-Review)

This weekend marks the first round of state playoffs, and 11 regional teams qualified across the six classifications.

Five Greater Spokane League teams reached the brackets, with two – league champion Gonzaga Prep and runner-up Mt. Spokane, chosen to host first-round games.


(9) Chiawana (9-1) at (8) Gonzaga Prep (9-1): Saturday noon. Winner faces (1) Graham Kapowsin/(16) Richland winner in quarterfinal next week.

Gonzaga Prep outlook: GSL 4A/3A champion. Outscored opponents in league 278-62. Beat Big 9 third-place Sunnyside 38-28 in District 6/8 crossover. Reached state quarterfinal last year, lost to eventual state champ Lake Stevens 42-17. G-Prep runs multiple option running offense – it’ll run on 90% of plays. Defense is stout and has several playmakers on the back end.

Top players: wingback Jonah Keller (749 rush yards, nine TDs); dive back Nate Moinette (739 rush yards, eight TDs); quarterback Bodie Stafford; WR Isaiah Docken (23 catches, 336 yards, four TDs); kicker Matthew Herzog (33 for 33 on PATs, 3 of 5 on field goals); DL Marion Rivera; FS Ryan Jackson; CB Jacobe McClelland; LB Neal Virk.

Chiawana outlook: Second in Mid-Columbia Conference 4A, only loss was to first-place Kamiakin. Outscored league opponents 285-66. Beat Big 9 No. 2 Moses Lake 49-32 in District 6/8 crossover last week. Was No. 1 seed to state last year, lost to No. 8 Emerald Ridge in a quarterfinal.


(10) Garfield (6-3) at (7) Mt. Spokane (9-1): Saturday 1 p.m. at Union Stadium. Winner faces (15) Auburn Riverside/(2) O’Dea winner in quarterfinal.

Mt. Spokane outlook: Second overall in GSL 4A/3A, first 3A seed to postseason. Averaged 32.8 points for, 15.1 against in league. Beat Roosevelt 27-0 in “Round of 32” at home. Was No. 6 seed last year, lost to No. 11 Stanwood 24-14 at home. Wildcats make explosive plays in all three phases; misdirection running game opens up deep-strike passing.

Top players: WR/DB Bode Gardner (57 catches, 1,114 yards, 14 TDs, four interceptions, three for TDs); QB T.J. Haberman (2,192 yards, 21 TDs); RB Matteo Saccomano (754 yards, nine TDs, 14 catches, 227 yards, TD); LB Ben Joireman; OL/DL Spencer Dery.

Garfield outlook: Third place in Metro-Mountain league. Outscored opponents 244-170 in league. Beat Kelso 35-0 in “Round of 32” last week. Losses this season are to No. 2 O’Dea, No. 4 Eastside Catholic and 4A No. 2 Lake Stevens. Did not qualify for state past two seasons. Quarterback EJ Caminong is a California commit.

Top players: Caminong (1,383 yards, 11 TDs); RB Reylen Witherspoon (770 yards, 10 TDs); WR Rahshawn Clark (30 catches, 508 yards, six TDs); WR Reggie Witherspoon III (25 catches, 352 yards, three TDs).

(14) Ridgeline (8-2) at (3) Arlington (10-0): Friday 5 p.m. Winner faces (11) Monroe/(6) Bellevue winner in quarterfinal.

Ridgeline outlook: Third overall in GSL 4A/3A, second 3A seed to postseason. Averaged 32.4 points for, 16.1 against in league. Beat Seattle Prep 38-14 at home in “Round of 32” during first postseason game in program history. Falcons employ quick-hit short passing attack, using pass to set up the run. They are on the small side but quick on defense.

Top players: QB Landon Garner (2,198 pass yards, 28 TDs); WR Brayden Allen (90 catches, 878 yards, 12 TDs); WR Easton Amend (37 catches, 402 yards, six TDs); RB Camden Haddad (33 carries, 298 yards, three TDs); LB Deakon Sell; DB Landen Quesnell (five interceptions).

Arlington outlook: Wesco-North league champs. Outscored league opponents 269-62 and scored 449 points in 10 overall games. Beat Ballard 54-13 in “Round of 32.” Did not qualify for state last season.

Top players: QB Leyton Martin (2,333 pass yards, 32 TDs); RB Caleb Reed (1,020 rush yards, 10 TDs); WR Jake Willis (40 catches, 710 yards, 10 TDs); WR Kaid Hunter (27 catches, 437 yards, six TDs); LB Kobi Spady.


(9) Woodland (8-2) at (8) Clarkston (7-2): Saturday noon. Winner faces (16) Port Angeles/(1) Tumwater winner.

Clarkston outlook: GSL 2A champs. Outscored league opponents 206-130. Only losses were to West Valley and Idaho 5A Lewiston, both in September. Lost in district crossover last year. Top players: QB Carter Steinwand; RB JJ SiSarno; WR/DB Ryken Craber; OL/DL Sage Lone Bear; LB Josh Hoffman.

Woodland outlook: Greater St. Helens League champ. Outscored league opponents 251-113. Winners of six straight.

(15) Rogers (7-2) at (2) Anacortes (9-0): Saturday 1 p.m. Winner faces (10) Washougal/(7) Orting winner.

Rogers outlook: GSL 2A second place. Won three-way tiebreaker against West Valley and Shadle Park to qualify for state. First State 2A appearance in school history; first postseason since 2015. Held to fewer than 27 points once this season. Top players: WR Aaron Kinsey; WR Hartman Warrick; WR Ja’Shon Moore; RB Gavynn Bodman; DL Marcus Erlinso.

Anacortes outlook: Northwest League champion. Outscored league rivals 205-37. Held rivals to fewer than 13 points in every game with two shutouts.


(15) Life Christian Academy (7-2) at (2) Lakeside (9-0): Friday 3 p.m. at Union Stadium. Winner faces (10) Freeman/(7) Montesano winner.

Lakeside outlook: Northeast A League champion. Outscored league opponents 218-64. Nonleague wins over No. 3 Lynden Christian and 2A East Valley. Beat Central Washington fourth-place Chelan 42-7 in district crossover. Lost in state quarterfinal last year to Mt. Baker 35-20. Top players: QB/LB Calvin Mikkelsen; WR Hiro Patterson; DL Oz Melzer; OL/DL Ethan Stueckle.

(10) Freeman (7-3) at (7) Montesano (10-0): Friday 7 p.m.

Freeman outlook: NEA second place. Outscored league opponents 174-131. Nonleague win over 2A West Valley. Beat CWAC third-place Quincy 56-0 in district crossover. Reached state semifinal last year as 12th seed, losing to eventual champ Royal 57-21. Top players: QB Luke Whitaker; RB Kanoa Rogan; WR/DB Sage Gilbert; LB Ethan Hernandez.