Knights have one more hurdle

Kamiak needs to beat Bethel in tonight’s semi to reach title game


Herald Writer

MUKILTEO — The turkey buzz may have worn off, but the excitement is just beginning for the Kamiak football team.

If the Knights can find a way to get past Bethel tonight at the Tacoma Dome, they will get to do what players dream about the first time they touch a football.

Win tonight’s 7 p.m. game at the Tacoma Dome and play for a state championship next Saturday.

Lose, and you get plenty of time to help Mom make turkey soup.

The practices are getting colder and longer, but the Knights aren’t complaining. They’d love nothing more than another week of football.

"We’ve got to keep going," Kamiak running back Reid Wilson said. "We’re proving to our coaches and to everyone in Washington that we’re going all the way."

Though they can’t help dream about playing the winner of today’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of Kentwood and Pasco, the Knights will have to get by the 9-2 Braves first.

Bethel, which lost each of its games by a field goal, has dominated the contests it has won by an average of 28 points. The Braves are solid throughout their lineup, and have game-breaking threats on each side of the ball.

Running back Jesse McMichael has rushed for 1,684 yards and averaged nearly eight yards per carry in Bethel’s run-dominated attack.

Linebacker Jeff Parks has a reputation for destroying opponents’ offensive game plans. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Division 1 recruit has 16 sacks and 127 tackles this year.

"They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback," Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. " (Parks) is a terrific linebacker. He gets to the football in a hurry."

Bethel got revenge and made it to tonight’s semifinal by beating Spanaway Lake 21-7 on Nov. 17. The fellow SPSL South Division team beat Bethel 23-20 on Oct. 27, but were overmatched in the rematch against the Braves. Bethel shut out Inglemoor 23-0 in the first round.

Kamiak handled South Kitsap 42-20 in the first round, but has needed game-winning field goals from Ryan Carlson — who began the season as the third-string kicker — for its other postseason victories.

The Knights edged Lake Washington 18-15 in a state playoff qualifier game. After drubbing South Kitsap, Kamiak struggled to find the end zone, but Carlson bailed the Knights out again late in a 9-7 quarterfinal victory over Tahoma.

Though the Braves have given up only 8.1 points per game, Kamiak will give them all they can handle.

The Knights feature a balanced offense, led by the 1,700 yards and 17 touchdown passes of Ryan Jones, who also has five rushing touchdowns. Reid Wilson and Justin Washington split the backfield duties, and each have gained over 600 yards. Linebacker Matt Mulica leads a small, but physical defense that has allowed only 13 points per contest.

Washington, a junior who is catching the eye of Division 1 coaches, believes the Knights will be playing for the coveted state title next Saturday.

"We’re hot right now, and I don’t thing anyone can stop us," Washington said. "We’re not getting big-headed, but we’re on a roll."

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