Lake Stevens is one of four Snohomish County high schools that qualified for the football state tournaments, which begin this weekend. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens is one of four Snohomish County high schools that qualified for the football state tournaments, which begin this weekend. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

POLL: Which local football team has the best shot at state?

Four Snohomish County high schools qualified for the state tournaments, which start this weekend.

The race to the Gridiron Classic begins now.

The high school state tournaments kick off this weekend as Washington’s top football teams target the Dec. 7 championship date — though no longer at the Tacoma Dome. This year’s Gridiron classic has been moved from the singular location to three sites in and around Tacoma, with 4A and 1B at Mt. Tahoma Stadium, 3A and 2A at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, and 1A and 2B at Henry F. Lang Stadium in Lakewood.

Four Snohomish County teams qualified for the state tournaments: Lake Stevens in 4A, Marysville Pilchuck in 3A, Lakewood and Archbishop Murphy in 2A. Let’s take a closer look at the teams and their paths:

CLASS 4A

Lake Stevens

Seed: No. 3

Record: 10-0, first in Wesco 4A, No. 1 in Associated Press poll (all 12 first-place votes)

First-round opponent: No. 14 Union (6-4, third in Greater St. Helens League 4A, unranked in AP poll)

First-round notes: This was funny seeding by the committee, as it pits the two teams that played in last year’s state championship game, which Union won 52-20. Lake Stevens has swept all before it this season, and the Vikings haven’t been challenged since Sept. 13 when they beat 3A No. 3 seed Lincoln 35-26 on the road. The Vikings easily handled Tahoma 49-14 in Week 10, but Union also had an easy time last week as it crushed North Puget Sound League champ Mount Rainier 42-6.

Path: If Lake Stevens gets past Union in has a standard path forward, with a possible meeting with No. 6 seed Chiawana (AP No. 6) in the quarterfinals and one of No. 2 seed Camas (AP No. 3) and No. 7 Puyallup (AP No. 5) in the semifinals — the most dangerous opponent, top-seeded Kennedy Catholic (AP No. 2), is in the other half of the bracket. The one tricky issue is that the way the bracket is set up the Vikings would have to go on the road in the semis.

CLASS 3A

Marysville Pilchuck

Seed: No. 6

Record: 10-0, first in Wesco 3A North, No. 5 in AP poll

First-round opponent: No. 11 Prairie (9-1, first in Greater St. Helens League 3A, unranked in AP poll)

First-round notes: Marysville Pilchuck, a team that’s been on the rise as the season’s progressed, qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2013 by beating Ballard 28-25 in Week 10. But if the Tomahawks think they’ve been waiting a long time to get back to state they have nothing on Prairie, as the Falcons haven’t been to state since 1992. Prairie qualified by beating Capital 73-35 in Week 10.

Path: Marysville Pilchuck is home for the first round, but if the Tomahawks prevail against Prairie they’re hitting the road the rest of the way. The good news is top seed and AP No. 1 O’Dea is in the other half of the bracket. The bad news is No. 3 Lincoln (AP No. 3) is looming in the quarterfinals and either No. 2 Eastside Catholic (AP No. 2) or No. 7 Bellevue (AP No. 4) is likely waiting in the semis.

CLASS 2A

Lakewood

Seed: No. 5

Record: 8-1, second in Northwest 2A Sky Division, No. 6 in AP poll

First-round opponent: No. 12 Sequim (9-1, second in Olympic League 2A, unranked in AP poll)

First-round notes: Lakewood should be well prepared for the challenge of state as the Cougars’ Week 10 game was a hard-fought 14-10 victory over AP No. 10 Liberty. Lakewood is making its first state appearance since 2012. Sequim, which lost 49-12 to Steilacoom in the first round of state last year, defeated River Ridge 37-21 in Week 10 to make it back to state.

Archbishop Murphy

Seed: No. 8

Record: 7-2, fourth in Northwest 2A Sky Division, No. 5 in AP poll

First round opponent: No. 9 North Kitsap (8-2, first in Olympic League 2A, unranked in AP poll)

First-round notes: Archbishop Murphy is no stranger to the state tournament, having won state titles in 2002, 2003 and 2016. However the Wildcats, who beat AP No. 9 Sedro-Woolley 23-6 in Week 10, are returning to state after missing out last year. North Kitsap is making its sixth straight state appearance, but the Vikings lost in the first round in four of those previous five trips and were knocked out in the second round the other time. North Kitsap beat Fife 28-25 in Week 10.

Paths: Both Lakewood and Archbishop Murphy find themselves on the same side of the bracket, which one has to say is the tougher half. Lakewood is probably looking at AP No. 2 and defending state champion Hockinson if it reaches the quarterfinals, while Archbishop Murphy is staring at a likely date with top-seeded and AP No. 1 Tumwater if it makes the quarters. What it does, however, is set up a potential rematch of the exciting regular-season game between the Cougars and the Wildcats, which Lakewood won 35-27, in the semis.

So four local teams still in the hunt for a state title. Which of the four do you think has the best chance of lifting a championship trophy? Vote here:


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