Area teams face postseason openers


Herald Writer

Coaching against his alma mater is the least of Dan Mack’s worries.

Several area teams will open the football postseason tonight with a state playoff berth on the line, including Mack’s 8-1 Kamiak team.

The Knights play Lake Washington at 7 tonight at Goddard Stadium. Arlington plays Mount Vernon in a 7 p.m. game at Stanwood Stadium. Sultan will hop the ferry today for a 7 p.m. game against Port Townsend in Silverdale. Pop Keeney Stadium will be the site of the 7 p.m. Bothell-Sehome game.

It’s pretty simple. Win and you’re in. You lose, you’re done.

So as the Knights scramble to prepare for a 7-2 Lake Washington team, Mack in not interested in reflecting on his career as a Kang, which ended with his graduation in 1973.

"That was a long, long time ago," said Mack, who played quarterback, fullback and linebacker during his Lake Washington football career. "It’s not a big deal at all."

Mack won’t be asking his players to win this game for him. In fact, the third-year head coach has not even told his players about his secret identity as a Kang.

"I don’t think they would find it very interesting," Mack said. "This game is about the players on the field."

Mack is familiar with the Lake Washington program and considers Kangaroos coach Tim Tramp, who is also in his third year, a friend.

"They’ve got a very good team," said Mack, whose team played in a state quarterfinal game last year. "They are a lot bigger and taller than us. But our kids play hard, and we’ll be ready.

Lake Washington’s only losses were to Kingco 4A rivals Inglemoor and Bothell. Inglemoor is 9-0 and attempting to defend its 1999 state championship. Bothell coach Tom Bainter, who is in his first season with the Cougars after a successful career at Shorewood, surprised many by leading Bothell to a second-place conference finish. Bothell will play its first playoff game since 1984.

Sehome slid into the playoffs after losing its final two games by a combined score of 62-16. Tahoma, which was the first playoff team Sehome played in two years, defeated the Mariners 28-6 in an Oct. 27 non-conference game. Snohomish then crushed Sehome 41-10 to secure the Western Conference 4A title Nov. 2.

The Arlington Eagles will have their talons full with the Bulldogs, whose only loss was to 9-0 No. 4 Ferndale, 28-21, on Nov. 2.

Often, when two teams from different conferences play in the postseason it’s like heading into the abyss.

But Mount Vernon and Arlington have enough film on each other to open a Blockbuster Video store. Arlington’s freshman team coach, Reed Richardson, was a Bulldogs assistant coach last year. The teams had some common opponents this year, and exchanged several game films.

After the Eagles lost to undefeated Lake Stevens Sept. 29 and the possibility of a playoff game against Mount Vernon became greater, Arlington coach John Boitano wondered if the teams’ goodwill toward each other had been wise.

"As the season went along we thought, ‘Good God, that might not have been a great idea," Boitano said. "Both teams were kind of thinking the same thing. But really what it all comes down to is blocking and tackling."

New Sultan coach Jim MacDicken will take the Turks to the postseason for the first time since 1986. Sultan will put its diverse offense up against that of run-oriented Port Townsend, which made the postseason after a three-team Nisqually League tiebreaker played Saturday.

MacDicken believes the Turks can win if they play the way they are capable.

"We just have to minimize our mistakes," MacDicken said. "The kids are really excited. We have some good seniors who’ve work real hard and accomplished a lot."

The teams that win tonight will accomplish the goal that most set before the season. They will go to the state playoffs, where just about anything can happen.

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