High School Football

Playoff football enters a new age starting Friday

Chiawana standout linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (90) and the Riverhawks will take the field Saturday at Edgar Brown Stadium to host Bothell in a first-round 4A state playoff game.
Chiawana standout linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (90) and the Riverhawks will take the field Saturday at Edgar Brown Stadium to host Bothell in a first-round 4A state playoff game. Tri-City Herald

So the experiment begins Friday.

Last Sunday, committees gathered at the WIAA offices in Renton and determined seeding for each classification of the state football playoffs.

The reaction has been mixed everywhere, with complaints of teams being rated too high and others too low. Others are willing to give it a chance.

It’s the new system, and everyone agrees that these volunteer committees did the best they could.

Here’s a look at the game’s the Mid-Columbia’s eight teams are playing:

Class 4A

No. 9 Bothell at No. 8 Chiawana, Edgar Brown Stadium, 1 p.m., Saturday

Rematch of the 2014 4A state title game, in which Bothell beat Chiawana 24-14. … Visiting Cougars (8-2) are coached by Tom Bainter, whose son, Erik, is the team’s quarterback. He’s passed for 2,066 yards this season, 17 TD passes against 7 interceptions. … Riley Morrison has caught biggest portion of his passes, 68 of them for 1,079 yards and 10 TDs. … Christian Galvan leads Bothell in rushing with 859 yards. … Bothell had to beat Camas 36-35 last week to qualify for the playoffs. … Coach Steve Graff has a very strong defense, led by LB AJ Vongphachanh and DB Gabe Schilz, who has 6 interceptions. … Preston Vine runs the offense at QB, passing for 1,090 yards, 15 TDs against 5 interceptions. … Bennie Alferness is leading receiver at 18 catches for 345 yards. … Schilz (660 yards) and Vongphachanh (442) share bulk of rushing duties. … Chiawana kicker Ryan Lowry has 11 field goals, including a school-record 50-yarder a few weeks ago.

Class 3A

No. 15 Kamiakin vs. No. 2 O’Dea, Memorial Stadium, Seattle, 5 p.m., Friday

Scott Biglin’s Braves (6-4) struggled late in the season but got things turned around at the end, beating Hermiston 34-27 on the road to qualify for the regionals, then beating Shadle Park 55-13 in a state-qualifier, also on the road. … RB Tuna Altahir has played well in those two games, and has 840 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns. … QB Lucas Castilleja has passed for 1,428 yards and 16 TDs. He does, however, have 18 interceptions. … WR Messiah Jones is Castilleja’s top target, catching 23 passes for 383 yards and 5 TDs. … Monte Kohler has been O’Dea’s football coach since 1985, and he’s led them to four state titles, including last year’s 2017 3A title. … O’Dea did lose the 2016 state title game to Kamiakin, 14-7. … OL Owen Prentice was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Metro League, while Alexx Schmidt was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Class 2A

No. 11 Prosser at No. 6 Tumwater, 1 p.m., Saturday

This will be Prosser’s first game in two weeks. The Mustangs won the CWAC championship on Oct. 27 when they beat Ellensburg 12-0. That gave them an automatic state berth, and they had last weekend off. … Coach Corey Ingvalson will depend on Kord Tuttle to have a big game for the Mustangs (7-2). Tuttle was named the CWAC South’s co-Offensive Player of the Year at his running back position. Tuttle, at outside linebacker, was also named the CWAC South’s Defensive Player of the Year. … The host Thunderbirds (9-1) beat Woodland 58-38 last week to get into the state tournament. RB Dylan Loftis rushed for 243 yards in that game and scored three touchdowns. Bill Beattie coaches the team.

Class 1A

No. 16 Riverside at No. 1 Royal, 7 p.m., Friday

Coach Buddy Woods’ Rams (7-4) are led by rushers Michael Zanoni and Sammy DesRoches. … Riverside knocked off previously unbeaten Omak 26-14 last week to qualify for the state playoffs. … Royal (10-0) is riding a 51-game win streak, and has won the last three state 1A titles. … The Knights are winning, and they’re doing it dominantly: there average game score is 57-2. … QB Sawyer Jenks is the SCAC East’s Offensive Player of the Year, while LB Alonso Hernandez was named the SCAC East’s Defensive Player of the Year. … Coach Wiley Allred’s Knights dominated the all-conference team. Seven players were named to the first-team offensive unit, and eight were named to the first-team defensive unit. Seven of Royal’s wins this season have been shutouts.

No. 12 Connell at No. 5 Colville, 1 p.m., Saturday.

This is a rematch of last year’s first-round state game, with Colville winning 29-14. … Wayne Riner’s Eagles (7-2) have won four straight games since losing in early October to Royal. … Connell players to watch are Tony Herrmann and Payton Riner. Herrmann was a first-team All-SCAC East player this year on both sides of the ball at offensive line and defensive line. Payton Riner is the coach’s son, and was a two-way first-team all-star at wide receiver and defensive back. … Coach Randy Cornwell’s Indians (7-2) had the week off last week after clinching the Northeast A title. … Colville went 0-2 to start the season, but then reeled off seven straight wins. … The Indians run a double-wing offense that runs the ball and eats the clock. … QB John Knight was named the Northeast League’s Offensive MVP, while DE Jacob Newsom is the league’s co-Defensive MVP.

Class 2B

No. 14 Wahkiakum at No. 3 Tri-Cities Prep, Chiawana High School, 1 p.m., Saturday

The Mules (5-5), coached by Eric Hansen, are a running football team. Expect guys like Quentin Nelson, Chance Cothren, Lucas Brown or Braxton Johns to get touches. … Dan Whitsett’s Jaguars (10-0) have had a banner year with offensive balance. Nate Dituri leads the team in rushing with 1,140 yards and has scored 21 TDs. … QB Dante Maiuri has thrown for 1,562 yards, with 17 TD passes against 5 interceptions. His main target has been Kobe Singleton, who has 37 catches for 654 yards and 9 TDs. … Linebacker Colton Tinnin, who was named the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the 2B EWAC, leads the team with 85 tackles. Singleton leads the Jags with 9 interceptions.

No. 15 Liberty Christian at No. 2 Kalama, Chinook Stadium, 1 p.m., Saturday.

The visiting Patriots (7-2) and head coach Craig Lukens will depend on junior QB Curtis Morgan, who has passed for 2,469 yards this season with 25 touchdowns. … He has three main targets: senior Noah Hayden (43 catches, 666 yards), senior Mason Knode (40-654-7 TDs), and freshman Brad Flowers (35-608-9)… MLB Parker Stephens has 141 tackles, while Knode has 9 interceptions. … Kalama (8-2) has won seven straight games, the last three by identical 55-0 scores over Wahkiakum, Toutle Lake, and Morton/White Pass. … Chinooks head coach Sean McDonald depends on QB Alex Dyer and WR Brennan Vance to get things done on offense.

No. 12 Columbia-Burbank at No. 5 Chewelah, 7 p.m., Friday

Coach Trevor Curtis has led the visiting Coyotes (8-2) to four consecutive victories since a loss Oct. 5 to Tri-Cities Prep. Great transition for Burbank after playing Class 1A last season but dropped down a classification. … Player to watch: Burbank OL-DL Hayden McEachen, who is the EWAC 2B co-Defensive Player of the Year. … Cameron Gump’s Chewelah Cougars (7-3) have won six consecutive games, with four of them being shutouts. … Sophomore Kaden Krouse is the go-to player. He’s rushed for 534 yards and also caught 40 passes for another 776 yards.

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