State playoff semifinal football preview: Skyview vs. Lake Stevens
When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday at Tacoma Dome (4A state playoff). Audio/vido webcast: www.wiaanetwork.com .
Last meeting: First meeting.
At stake: Berth in state championship against Skyline/Woodinville winner
LAKE STEVENS (12-0)
Last week: beat Eastlake 50-21 in state quarterfinals.
Players to watch: QB Jake Nelson (211-292, 2508 passing, 29 TDs; 126-838 rushing, 15 TDs); Shae Giddens (137-817 rushing, 6 TDs); Christian Gasca 73-1166 receiving, 18 TDs); Brady Pahukoa (61-771 receiving, 7 TDs).
Notes: The Vikings won the Wesco North Division with 5-0 record. … Lake Stevens jumped out on No. 4 Eastlake 36-7 en rout to a quarterfinal win last week. … Nelson passed for 252 yards and 3 TDs and rushed for 75 and 1 TD last week. He also threw three interceptions. … Lake Stevens recovered two fumbles on squib kicks last week after seeing it against Olympia in the state first-round. … Nelson had 59-yard run on third-and-45 at the Lake Stevens 10 with one minute to go in the Vikings’ first-round win over Olympia. That play to the winning 26-yard pass to Gasca with 12 seconds left for a 21-17 win. …Edmonds-Woodway, which lost to Lake Stevens 35-31 in the Wesco title game, lost to Bellarmine Prep 42-7 in the state first round. … Gasca scored four TDs, two on punt returns, in Lake Stevens’ 44-7 preliminary round win over Heritage. Lake Stevens led 37-0 at halftime, but the Timberwolves trailed 14-0 with two minutes to go.
Last week: beat Bellarmine Prep 42-17 in the state first round.
Players to watch: QB Kieran McDonagh (141-209, 2283 passing, 21 TDs); RB Parker Henry (227-2083 rushing, 30 TDs); WR Reiley Henderson (52-806 receiving, 8 TDs); WR Forrest Russell (36-637 receiving, 6 TDs).
Notes: This is the Storm’s second trip to the state semifinals. … McDonagh had back-to-back 300-yard passing games in the first two weeks of the postseason. He threw for 266 yards last week against Bellarmine. …. That’s because Henry and the offensive line took over the game in the second half. Henry rushed for 189 yards and four TDs in the second half against Bellarmine, finishing with 233 rushing yards. … Skyview has not been held to under 31 points since losing back-to-back games to open the season. … The two losses were to Coeur d’Alene, which repeated as Idaho 5A state champion last week, and Sherwood, which returned to the Oregon 5A semifinals this week. … Skyview beat Heritage 49-7 in Week 3 with McDonagh out with an injury. Skyview led 42-0 at halftime.
Bottom line: Skyview has had success in the postseason containing opponents’ running game and making them pass. Lake Stevens is not afraid to throw the ball. As goes Nelson, so go the Vikings. Nelson is a threat with his arm and feet, which will provide the Storm defense with a challenge. But Skyview also has a mobile QB who can throw the ball. The difference is the Storm has a running back who has run for 2,000 yards this season.
Columbian’s pick: Skyview.