State football quarterfinals set

Tri-City HeraldNovember 12, 2012 

The games you remember are played in November.

That’s the rallying cry for several Mid-Columbia football teams preparing to play in the state quarterfinals this weekend, and all but one have been there before.

Lampson Stadium in Kennewick will play host to an afternoon doubleheader on Saturday.

Leading off the twinbill will be the Class 1A state quarterfinal between River View (10-1) and Quincy (7-4) at noon.

The matchup most fans are anticipating, however, will be the Class 2A state quarterfinals at 3 p.m., featuring CWAC rivals Othello (11-0) and Prosser (10-1). It’s a rematch of the Week 3 contest, won by the Huskies 30-14. That win propelled Othello to the top ranking in the state, a ranking it's held since.

“It’s the best Othello team I’ve seen since they moved to 2A (in 1997). They’ve got a very good defense against the run, and they’ve got the athletes in the secondary to help them out,” Prosser coach Benji Sonnichsen said. “They’ve always been a good rushing team, but adding the dimension of (quarterback David) Garza has made their offense tough to defend.”

The Huskies, making their 16th consecutive state appearance dating back to 1997, proved that with a 42-7 first-round win over visiting Cheney on Saturday, scoring three third-quarter touchdowns to pull away for the win.

But Sonnichsen believes the Mustangs will be ready to match up with Othello on the Lampson turf.

“Our team couldn’t ask for anything better, especially with how we played against Kamiakin (a 31-29 overtime victory),” Sonnichsen said. “I think we match up size-wise, and we have speed in the right spots.

“It might come down to who has the ball last.”

River View is making its 11th state appearance but is still looking for its first quarterfinal win after four tries. The Panthers last reached state in 2009, losing a first-round matchup against Okanogan.

But a high-octane offense led by quarterback Ruvim Tyutyunnik and a strong defense anchored an impressive first- round state win over Chewelah. That combination could translate to River View’s first trip to the semifinals.

Another 1A team, Royal (11-0) has had plenty of playoff success, going 34-17 in 23 state appearances, including 15 trips to the quarterfinals. The Knights will square off against Cle Elum/Roslyn (10-1) — a team that averaged 44 points a game this season — at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lions Field in Moses Lake.

“No one runs the Wing-T as well as them. They’re just real fast and efficient,” Royal coach Wiley Allred said. “We’ve been taking it day-by-day, but the reality is when you get this far, you have a chance to do something special.”

Liberty Christian (11-0) has a chance to do just that in its first trip to the state playoffs. The Patriots, who will face Lacrosse-Washtucna/Kahlotus (8-3) at 4 p.m. Friday at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco, showed they have some postseason mettle with a 90-26 regional playoff win over Odessa/Harrington.

“Not being able to go to the playoffs the last couple of years has made this a very determined group,” Pats’ coach Mike Olson said. “We’ve got six seniors, four of them have been starting since they were freshmen. They give us quite a bit of experience and provide a lot of good leaderhip.”

Defending 2B state champion Waitsburg-Prescott (10-1) has a big test against Reardan (8-2), which runs a wishbone attack designed to wear defenses down. That game will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday at West Valley High School in Spokane.

“Last year, we were better against the run than this year. We’ve got to shore things up,” Tigers’ coach Jeff Bartlow said. “But our defense hasn’t given up a lot of big run plays, and that’s kept us in games.”

DeSales (9-1) will face Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (10-0) in the 2B bracket, a team the Irish has already faced five times in the state playoffs. That game will be played as the second part of a doubleheader at Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane, with a 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. start time, depending on the start of the 4A quarterfinal between Bellarmine Prep and Gonzaga Prep.

The Irish are 3-2 in the postseason against the Broncos — losing 25-21 for the 2B championship in 2004 in their most memorable matchup.

It will be the 27th state appearance for DeSales and 22nd trip to the quarterfinals.

“I’ve been blessed to experience most of these trips, and it’s neat because it’s new for the kids every year,” said Irish coach Mike Spiess, who started on the DeSales coaching staff in 1985. “(Lind-Ritzville) is the best team we’ve played this year, and that’s what you expect come playoff time.”

Touchet (9-1) will make its 15th trip to the state quarterfinals, facing Cusick (11-0) in the 1B bracket at 7 p.m. Friday at Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane.

“We played them last year in a crossover, but my sources have told me they are a completely different ballclub built on speed, quickness and deception,” Indians coach Gary Dorman said.

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