The high school football state playoffs kick off Friday and Saturday. Below are capsules for each of the first-round matchups involving Snohomish County teams. The winners of these opening-round contests advance to their respective classification’s state quarterfinals.
No. 3 LAKE STEVENS vs. No. 14 UNION
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Where: Lake Stevens H.S.
Radio: KRKO 1380 AM
Implications: The winner advances to the 4A state quarterfinals, where it hosts either No. 6 seed Chiawana or No. 11 seed Mount Si.
Recent history: This is a rematch of last year’s 4A state championship game, which Union won 52-20. The Titans scored 38 unanswered points and shut out Lake Stevens in the second half to thwart the Vikings’ quest for their first-ever state title. It was Lake Stevens’ only loss over the past two seasons.
Lake Stevens: 10-0 overall, 7-0 Wesco 4A; beat Tahoma 49-14 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Vikings: Lake Stevens outscored opponents by 49.5 points per game en route to its sixth consecutive state appearance. Tanner Jellison has been ultra-efficient at quarterback, completing 73% of his passes for 2,657 yards, 36 TDs and just five interceptions. His favorite target is Kasen Kinchen, who leads a talented array of wideouts with 970 yards receiving and 12 TD catches. Kinchen had a massive performance last week, catching eight passes for 226 yards and three TDs and running for a 61-yard score. Dallas Landeros has rushed for 1,278 yards and 23 TDs, leading a high-powered ground attack that averages 8.6 yards per carry and 253 yards per game behind the Vikings’ dominant offensive line. Joe Gonzales has four interceptions for a stifling Lake Stevens defense that allows just 7.7 points per contest.
Union: 6-4 overall, 2-2 Greater St. Helens League 4A; beat Mount Rainier 42-6 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Titans: Despite graduating a slew of talent from last year’s state championship team, Union is back in the state playoffs for the seventh time in nine years. The Titans once again faced an arduous schedule, with five games against 4A state-playoff teams. Union beat No. 6 seed Chiawana, but fell to No. 2 Camas, No. 7 Puyallup, No. 9 Skyview and No. 10 Eastlake. Union’s defense has forced 20 turnovers, led by six interceptions from Aidan Hoyt. Dual-threat quarterback Caleb Jordan, a University of Idaho commit, suffered a season-ending torn meniscus in Week 8. Backup quarterback Alex Gehrmann has filled in, completing 66% of his passes over the past three weeks for 785 yards, seven TDs and three interceptions. The Titans are coached by Snohomish High School graduate Rory Rosenbach, who was Glacier Peak’s coach from 2008 through 2015.
Herald pick: Lake Stevens
No. 6 MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK vs. No. 11 PRAIRIE
When: 6 p.m., Friday
Where: Quil Ceda Stadium
Implications: The winner advances to the 3A state quarterfinals, where it travels to face either No. 3 seed Lincoln or No. 14 seed Seattle Prep.
Marysville Pilchuck: 10-0 overall, 6-0 Wesco 3A North; beat Ballard 28-25 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Tomahawks: Marysville Pilchuck cruised to the Wesco 3A North title and routed Snohomish 52-3 in the Wesco 3A championship game. The Tomahawks then earned their first state berth since 2014 by getting past previously unbeaten Ballard, which finished atop the Metro League’s middle-tier Sound Division. Dylan Carson and Jordan Justice have combined to rush for 2,460 yards and 34 TDs behind Marysville Pilchuck’s powerful offensive line, leading a deceptive Slot-T ground attack that averages 8.1 yards per carry and 328 yards per game. The Tomahawks allow just 12 points per game and have held all but two opponents to 14 points or less.
Prairie: 9-1 overall, 3-1 Greater St. Helens League 3A; beat Capital 73-35 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Falcons: Prairie scored a school-record 73 points in last week’s rout of Capital and claimed its first state berth since 1992. Dual-threat quarterback A.J. Dixson accounted for 459 total yards and six TDs in the victory, passing for 232 yards and rushing for 227 yards on just nine carries. Each of Dixson’s four TD runs came from at least 30 yards out. The Falcons finished tied atop the GSHL 3A with Kelso and earned their first league title in 27 years by virtue of their head-to-head victory over the Hilanders. Prairie averages 45.4 points per game and suffered its only defeat in a one-point loss to league foe Mountain View.
Herald pick: Marysville Pilchuck
No. 5 LAKEWOOD vs. No. 12 SEQUIM
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Lakewood H.S.
Implications: The winner advances to the 2A state quarterfinals, where it travels to face either No. 4 seed Hockinson or No. 13 seed Ellensburg.
Lakewood: 8-1 overall, 4-1 Northwest 2A Sky Division; beat Liberty-Issaquah 14-10 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Cougars: Lakewood held Liberty to just 211 total yards last week and earned its first state berth since 2012. With Liberty driving late in the fourth quarter, Lakewood’s Shae Dixon broke up a pass that was headed to the end zone and Andrew Molloy made a diving interception off the deflection to help key the victory. The Cougars allow just 14.1 points per game and have held all but two opponents to 17 points or less. Dual-threat quarterback Jared Taylor has accounted for 2,090 yards and 28 TDs, including 1,140 yards rushing and 17 TDs with an average of 8.8 yards per carry. Lakewood finished second in the ultra-competitive Northwest 2A Sky Division and beat three final Associated Press 2A top-10 teams: Sedro-Woolley, Archbishop Murphy and Liberty. The Cougars’ only loss was to 2A No. 3 seed and Sky Division champion Lynden.
Sequim: 9-1 overall, 5-1 Olympic League 2A; beat River Ridge 37-21 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Wolves: Sequim rallied from 14-0 first-quarter deficit last week to beat River Ridge and earned its second consecutive state berth. Sequim allows just 14.1 points per game and has held every opponent to 21 points or less. The Wolves’ defense has 12 interceptions, with five players having picked off multiple passes. Walker Ward, who leads the offense with 1,041 yards rushing, totaled 204 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in last week’s victory. Sequim finished second in the Olympic League 2A, with its only loss coming to league champion and 2A No. 9 seed North Kitsap. The Wolves are 1-8 all-time in the state playoffs.
Herald pick: Lakewood
No. 8 ARCHBISHOP MURPHY vs. No. 9 NORTH KITSAP
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Implications: The winner advances to the 2A state quarterfinals, where it travels to face either No. 1 seed Tumwater or No. 16 seed Franklin Pierce.
Recent history: This is the fourth state-playoff meeting between these teams in five seasons. Archbishop Murphy won each of the past three playoff matchups, beating North Kitsap 27-0 in a 2015 state quarterfinal, 34-0 in a 2016 first-round contest and 28-21 in a 2017 quarterfinal.
Archbishop Murphy: 7-2 overall, 3-2 Northwest 2A Sky Division; beat Sedro-Woolley 23-6 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Wildcats: After being upset in the winner-to-state round last year, Archbishop Murphy is back in the state playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back victories over AP 2A No. 9-ranked Sedro-Woolley, having beaten the Cubs in the regular-season finale and then again in last week’s winner-to-state round. Archbishop Murphy also beat 2A No. 4 seed Hockinson in a non-league contest earlier this season, snapping the two-time defending state champions’ 28-game win streak. The Wildcats’ two losses came by a combined 11 points to 2A No. 3 seed Lynden and No. 5 seed Lakewood. Archbishop Murphy allows just 12.4 points per game and has yielded more than 14 points just twice all season.
North Kitsap: 8-2 overall, 6-0 Olympic League 2A; beat Fife 28-25 in Week 10 playoffs
About the Vikings: North Kitsap rallied from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit last week to beat Fife and advanced to state for the sixth consecutive season. Sophomore quarterback Colton Bower rushed for 175 yards and three TDs and kicked a pair of field goals in the victory, including a game-winning 32-yarder in the final minute. Bower accounted for all 28 of the Vikings’ points. North Kitsap beat 2A No. 12 seed Sequim earlier this season in a matchup that ultimately determined the Olympic League 2A title. The Vikings’ two losses were to 3A Bainbridge and 2A No. 2 seed Steilacoom, which routed North Kitsap 57-7 in a non-league contest.
Herald pick: Archbishop Murphy