Editor’s note: John McDonald’s Prep Forecast, which usually appears on Friday, is running a day earlier this week because several key football games are being played tonight.
Some of the drama is gone from this week’s season-ending clashes. But don’t tell that to the folks in Snohomish, Arlington or Stanwood.
Sure, there’s a conference championship riding on tonight’s Sehome at Snohomish game and the Stilly Cup goes to the Arlington at Stanwood winner. But the games aren’t do-or-die.
Most area postseason playoff berths are already decided; only the seeding remains to be determined.
In the Western Conference 4A, Snohomish, Sehome and Kamiak are in regardless of this week’s results. The Sehome-Snohomish winner advances directly to the first round of the state playoffs and will host the fifth-place finisher from the District 3-4 (South Puget Sound/Narrows/St. Helens) playoffs. The loser will host the third-place Kingco 4A team in a bi-district playoff Tuesday. If Sehome loses and finishes in a second-place tie with Kamiak, Kamiak will host Tuesday’s game and Sehome will play at Bothell on Tuesday. If Sehome wins, Snohomish will play at home Tuesday and Kamiak will play at Bothell.
In the Wesco 3A, Lake Stevens has already clinched the title and a first-round state playoff berth opposite the sixth-place team from District 2 (Kingco/Metro/Seamount). Arlington has clinched the runnerup spot and a district playoff game Tuesday with tonight’s Mount Vernon-Ferndale loser.
What drama remains resides in the North Cascades Conference. Friday’s Lynden Christian vs. Meridian game will determine the first two league representatives. The third will go to either Lakewood, Mount Baker or Sultan. Lakewood is the only member of the trio in control of its own destiny. The Cougars can advance by defeating Mount Baker tonight. If Mount Baker wins, the power shifts to Sultan. The Turks could then advance with a win Friday over South Whidbey. If Mount Baker wins and Sultan loses, Mount Baker advances.
Here’s a look at this week’s key matchups:
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM).
Records: Sehome is 7-0 in league, 7-1 overall. Snohomish is 7-0, 8-0.
Last year: Sehome 42-7.
Players to watch: Snohomish back Tim Lockhart carried 16 times for 138 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 26-13 victory over Oak Harbor. Quarterback Josh Rodland had 173 yards on offense, threw a TD pass and scored a rushing touchdown, while defensive end Joe Plucker had 13 tackles and four sacks.
Sehome back Mike McEvoy had the Mariners’ lone touchdown in a 21-6 loss to Tahoma.
Breaking down the game: Last year’s game was an embarrassment to Snohomish. The Panthers probably don’t need any more incentive than a conference title, but they have it anyway. They’d like nothing more than to purge the memory of last year’s debacle. In the last two weeks Sehome was nearly beaten by Mariner and then played its first top-10 team in Tahoma and lost. Snohomish appears to have a lot more talent than the Mariners.
Little-known fact: Sehome was outgained 332-220 yards by Tahoma.
Pick: Snohomish 42-7.
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Memorial Stadium.
Records: Kamiak is 6-1, 7-1. Oak Harbor is 2-5, 2-6.
Last year: Kamiak 21-16.
Players to watch: Kamiak back Justin Washington rushed 19 times for 122 yards in last week’s 14-7 overtime victory over Edmonds-Woodway.
Oak Harbor back Tony Hall had 101 yards rushing and a touchdown in last week’s 26-13 loss to Snohomish.
Breaking down the game: Kamiak barely escaped postseason elimination last week and barely escaped with a win over the Wildcats last year at home, preserving both wins with game-saving pass interceptions. This year they have to play at Oak Harbor. Hall had a big game (112 yards rushing) against the Knights last year and a big game last week against Snohomish. Look for him to go over the century mark again.
Little-known fact: In 1998 Oak Harbor beat Kamiak 14-0 and went to the bi-district playoffs.
Pick: Oak Harbor 28-21.
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Stanwood High School.
Records: Arlington is 5-1, 7-1. Stanwood is 3-3, 4-4.
Last year: Arlington 30-24.
Players to watch: Stanwood running back Julian Bomar rushed 28 times for 123 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 17-10 victory over Jackson. Quarterback Tyler Breum had 114 yards total offense.
Arlington back Joe Boitano rushed for three TDs in last week’s 41-13 victory over Meadowdale.
Breaking down the game: Arlington quarterback Kevin McCormack completed nine of 14 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in last year’s game and he could be the difference again. Arlington’s ability to run and throw will put great pressure on Stanwood’s defense. Of course, the Spartans’ offense can relieve some of that pressure by exerting some ball control and keeping the Arlington offense off the field.
Little-known fact: Arlington’s balanced offense produced 207 yards rushing and 132 passing last week.
Pick: Arlington 21-17.
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Lakewood High School.
Records: Both teams are 4-3, 5-3.
Last year: Mount Baker 29-13.
Players to watch: Mount Baker quarterback Brent Cowden threw for three TDs and ran for another in last week’s 35-0 victory over South Whidbey.
Lakewood back Kris Kazen had back-to-back 200-yard games at midseason.
Breaking down the game: Two of Lakewood’s three league losses were to North Cascades Conference powerhouses Lynden Christian and Meridian, the Nos. 3- and 1-ranked teams in the Associated Press Class 2A poll. No shame there. And the Cougars are still in the enviable position of controlling their own destiny. Cracking the upper echelon of a conference dominated so far by Whatcom County teams has been Lakewood’s goal from the beginning. Now they have a chance to reach it with one victory. But it won’t be easy. Mount Baker is one of those traditional Whatcom County powers. An upset loss to Sultan early in the season has put Mount Baker in jeopardy. Even a win doesn’t assure it advancement because a Sultan win Friday eliminates Mount Baker. This is one of those games that comes down to who wants it the most.
Little-known fact: Mount Baker won the NCC championship in 1998.
Pick: Mount Baker 28-21.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sultan High School.
Records: South Whidbey is 2-5, 2-6. Sultan is 4-3, 4-4.
Last year: Sultan 22-19.
Players to watch: South Whidbey quarterback Bryan Wenker was 5-for-10 for 128 yards and had TD runs of 62 and 6 yards the last time the Falcons won (20-13 over Nooksack Valley, Oct. 7).
Sultan defensive lineman Jer Roesler had 10 tackles last week in a 50-0 victory over Granite Falls, while teammate Drew Davison had four sacks.
Breaking down the game: Sultan scored on two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to come from behind and beat South Whidbey last year. But these are two programs going in opposite directions this season. Sultan would already have assured itself of a postseason berth if it had beaten Lakewood earlier in the season. As it is, the Turks can realistically hope for a Lakewood loss tonight and move on with a win of their own Friday. South Whidbey, facing the NCC’s best teams, has lost three straight and been shut out in all three contests, losing by an cumulative score of 169-0.
Little-known fact: A lone loss to King’s kept Sultan out of the 1995 state playoffs despite an 8-1 overall record.
Pick: Sultan 29-12.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lake Stevens High School.
Records: Monroe is 2-4, 2-6. Lake Stevens is 6-0, 7-1.
Last year: Lake Stevens 14-0.
Players to watch: Lake Stevens back Matt Williams rushed 26 times for 145 yards in last week’s 21-18 victory over Everett.
Monroe running back/placekicker Josh Carswell had a 42-yard TD run, a 27-yard field goal, a two-point conversion run and a PAT kick in last week’s 32-8 win over Lynnwood.
Breaking down the game: Lake Stevens’ defense carried the day last year and the Vikings have been getting the job done on defense all season. Despite its losing record, Monroe is a tough team and could give Lake Stevens a rough time. But the Bearcats have been prone to give up ground to the rush and Lake Stevens has plenty of speed and talent in the backfield.
Little-known fact: This is Lake Stevens’ first Wesco championship since winning three straight, 1993-95.
Pick: Lake Stevens 28-10.
Wesco 4A: Edmonds-Woodway (4-3, 5-3) vs. Mountlake Terrace (2-5, 2-6) at Edmonds Stadium, 5 p.m.; Marysville-Pilchuck (3-4, 3-5) vs. Cascade (3-4, 4-4) at Everett Memorial Stadium, Shorewood (3-4, 4-4) vs. Shorecrest (0-7, 0-8) at Shoreline Stadium, 7 p.m.
Wesco 3A: Lynnwood (0-6, 0-8) vs. Meadowdale (2-4, 2-6) at Edmonds Stadium, 8 p.m.
Northwest 3A: Sedro-Woolley (3-3, 4-4) at Anacortes (4-2, 5-3), Mount Vernon (6-0, 8-0) at Ferndale (6-0, 8-0), Lynden (3-3, 4-4) vs. Squalicum (2-4, 3-5) at Bellingham Civic Stadium, 7 p.m.
Non-conference: Kentwood (6-2) vs. Mariner (2-6) at Goddard Stadium, 7 p.m.
Kingco 4A: Bothell (6-2, 6-2) vs. Roosevelt (1-7, 1-7) at Seattle Memorial Stadium, 5:30 p.m.; Redmond (5-3, 5-3) at Eastlake (5-3, 5-3), Woodinville (3-5, 3-5) vs. Inglemoor (8-0, 8-0) at Pop Keeney Stadium, Lake Washington (6-2, 6-2) at Juanita (2-6, 2-6), 7:30 p.m.; Garfield (3-5, 3-5) vs. Franklin (1-7, 1-7) at Seattle Memorial Stadium, 8 p.m.
Wesco 3A: Jackson (2-4, 3-5) vs. Everett (4-2, 5-3) at Everett Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
North Cascades 2A: Granite Falls (0-7, 0-8) at Nooksack Valley (0-7, 1-7), Meridian (7-0, 8-0) at Lynden Christian (7-0, 8-0), 7:30 p.m.
Northwest A: Concrete (2-2, 4-4) at Darrington (1-3, 4-4), Coupeville (3-1, 5-3) at La Conner (3-1, 7-1), 7:30 p.m.
Non-conference: Emerald Ridge (0-8) at Blaine (4-4), 7:30 p.m.
Northwest A: Orcas Island (3-1, 7-1) at Friday Harbor (0-4, 0-7), 1:30 p.m.
Chinook A: Cascade Christian (1-2, 2-5) at Life Christian (1-2, 3-3), King’s (3-1, 6-2) at Chief Leschi (0-3, 0-6), 7 p.m.