State quarterfinal football previews, predictions

So there have 14 postseason games involving teams in The Columbian’s coverage area.

After last week’s 5-0 mark, my postseason record is 13-1. Hey Score Czar, put that in your computer and process it!!

Actually, I believe the Score Czar’s mark in those same 14 games is 12-2. Not bad, but I actually think my predicted scores were a bit better than yours.

My season mark is now 101-28 (78 percent).

I’d like to say this week’s picks will lead to some separation. But it won’t. Score Czar has La Center winning 28-22 and Camas winning 32-26. It’s like your computer reached into my brain … or my soul.

Here are the State quarter previews:



Mount Baker (9-1) vs. La Center (11-0)

When, where: 1 p.m., District Stadium, Battle Ground.

Internet radio:

Last week: Mount Baker beat Woodland 21-14; La Center beat Meridian 29-13.

Mount Baker notes: The Mountaineers finished with the best record among 1A teams in the 3A/2A/1A Northwest League. … Mount Baker’s lone loss was a 55-14 setback to Lynden, a highly ranked team in Class 2A. … Mount Baker likes to run the ball about 80 percent of the time, but receiver Zan Roman is a capable passing target. … Roman also has seven interceptions this season. … Senior RB Jake Schleimer rushed for 216 yards and 3 TDs vs. Woodland. RB Izaiha Schwinden added 102 yards on 13 carries … Last week’s win over Woodland was Mount Baker’s first state playoff win since 1999. … Woodland’s Eli Whitmire rushed for 255 yards on the Mounties, 170 of which came in the first half as Whitmire exploited Mount Baker on sweep plays.

La Center notes: Trying to focus on stopping one player in La Center’s offense can be a mistake for opposing defenses. Connor Fulton led La Center with 832 yards rushing and 12 TDs. Jared Huddleston wasn’t far behind with 797 yards and 12 TDs. Wyatt Aguirre has 668 yards and 6 TDs. But last week the rushing star was Taylor Dreyer with 195 yards. Stack the line to stop the run, and La Center can hurt you with the passing game. QB Dylan King completed just two passes last week, both were TDs to Huddleston (62 and 21 yards) … Last week’s game against Meridian was tight at halftime with the Wildcats leading 9-6. Two long TD runs by Dreyer and interceptions by Dreyer, Tyrone Kulla and Matt Braaten sealed the win. … La Center is trying to reach the state semifinals for the first time since doing it as a 2A team in 2003.

Columbian’s take: Mount Baker’s last two games were wins over Meridian (30-8) and Woodland (21-14). Two of La Center’s last three wins were over Woodland (29-21) and Meridian (29-13). So this will be a close matchup. But we’ll lean to La Center because it held Woodland to 87 yards rushing. Prediction: La Center 26-20


Federal Way (11-0) vs. Camas (11-0)

When, where: 5 p.m., Doc Harris Stadium, Camas.

Live chat:

Last week: Federal Way beat Rogers-Puyallup 46-28; Camas beat Arlington 62-6.

Federal Way notes: Federal Way was ranked No. 2 in the final AP state 4A poll. …. This is the Eagles’ first trip to the state quarterfinals since 1976 when they reached the state title game. … Federal Way won its second consecutive South Puget Sound League South Division title. Last year, the Eagles lost to Eastlake in the first round of state. … The Eagles are led by a shutdown defense and a big-play offense. … Senior RB Zeek McNeal is the Eagles’ top rusher with 1,002 yards and 13 carries on 80 carries (12.5 yards a carry). But a number of Eagles will touch the ball. … QB Evan Elliott passed for 1,195 yards and 20 TDs during the regular season. … Sophomore running back/returner Chico McClatcher had an 80-yard punt return for a TD last week, his fourth return TD this season. He had another long punt return to set up another score. Although only a sophomore, he’s received a scholarship offer from the University of Washington. … Aaron Persinger has six of the Eagles’ 21 interceptions on defense. … Last week’s 46-28 win over Rogers is deceiving. Federal Way led 40-0 at halftime. The second half was played on a running clock, and Rogers scored four times against the Eagles’ reserves. … The South Puget Sound League struggled in the postseason. The state’s largest league, split into two divisions, sent nine teams to the state preliminary round, going 3-6. The other two SPSL teams that won were routed this season by Federal Way (Rogers, twice, and Auburn). … So the SPSL might not be that strong, but it wasn’t like Federal Way squeaked its way to an 11-0 season. The Eagles outscored opponents by an average score of 45-15. … Federal Way’s closest game was a 24-14 win over Issaquah in the state preliminary round, the Eagles’ lone game against a non-SPSL team this season. … In that game, the Eagles gave up an 80-yard TD run on Issaquah’s first play from scrimmage. After that, they allowed just two first downs and 67 total yards. … Federal Way also was missing three starters in the Issaquah game because of illness or disciplinary reasons. All three returned last week, including McClatcher.

Camas notes: Camas was ranked No. 3 in the final AP 4A poll. …. This is the third consecutive trip to the state quarterfinals for the Papermakers. They lost in the 3A quarterfinals to Lakes in 2010 and fell in the 3A semifinals to O’Dea last year. … The Papermakers are led by co-offensive players of the year RB Nate Beasley and WR Zach Eagle. Beasley has rushed for 1,054 yards on 149 carries (7.07 per carry) with 19 TDs. But like Federal Way, Camas has several options to carry the rushing load. … Eagle has 61 catches for 837 yards and 7 TDs. QB Reilly Hennessey passed for 2,353 yards (on 152-for-253 passing) for 22 yards. … The defense is led by league defensive player of the year John Norcross. … Camas has outscored opponents 49-15 this season. … The Papermakers also have a big weapon in K Roldan Alcobendas. Opponents rarely get the opportunity to return kickoffs against Camas. Alcobendas also has a 51-yard field goal to his credit.

Columbian’s take: These two teams are similar in so many ways, they are hard to separate. But we’ll try. They don’t have a common opponent, so we’ll have to go another degree of separation. Federal Way beat Graham-Kapowsin 62-28, a 34-point spread. Camas beat Union 22-0, and Union beat Graham-Kapowsin 39-22, a net spread of 39 points. Prediction: Camas 31-26

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