STATE TOURNEY BEGINS!

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Super sophomore Julien Simon breaks into the clear for a 53-yard touchdown run. The score would put the Lincoln Abes up 28-0 over the visitors from Prairie. With the 52-6 victory, the Abes advance to the 3A state tournament to face the Rainier Beach Vikings. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at historic Lincoln Bowl. Photo by Rocky Ross.

For a select group of Tacoma-area football teams, the big dance has finally arrived. After a hard-fought nine-game season, the teams entered week 10 with a state tournament berth on the line. Of course, for those that came up on the short-end of the score, it was curtains for their seasons. The real state tournament will now kick-off throughout the Evergreen State beginning on Friday, Nov. 9, and this is just about the most exciting time to be a high school football fan.

All told, there are 13 schools in and around the city of Tacoma that are still alive in their respective hunts for a state championship trophy.

The 4A field of 16 is represented by two-time 4A South Puget Sound League champion Puyallup, along with state powerhouse Graham Kapowsin. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the area is the squad from Curtis High School. The Vikings looked to have a winnable road game in their playoff matchup with Kentwood (4-6) on Saturday, Nov. 3, but the outcome had to turn some heads. Curtis dropped 35 points on the Conquerors in the first half and never looked back in their 67-29 romp.

The previous night, Puyallup had to shake off an early Kennedy (6-4) lead, before hitting the accelerator. The league champs made short work of the visitors in the second half on their way to a resounding 65-35 victory. Graham Kapowsin had very little problems against Monroe (4-6), hanging a 59-20 victory upon the visitors. Rogers was looking for an upset against state power Mount Si, but the magic ran out for the Rams (5-5) en route to a 42-0 season-ending road loss.

The state tournament seeding committee awarded Puyallup (9-1) with a fifth seed, giving the Vikings a home game against a tough Eastmont (9-1) team on Friday, Nov. 9, at Sparks Stadium. Graham Kapowsin (9-1) earned a sixth seed and will host Mead (7-3) the following day at Art Crate Field. Curtis will look to continue their spoiler run against the third-seed squad from Lake Stevens (10-0).

Pierce County has a total of five teams in the 3A state field. In the week 10 playoff round, 3A Pierce County League champion Lakes (8-2) had little trouble with Roosevelt in a 55-15 romp. The same held true for state powerhouse Lincoln (8-2). The Abes hammered Prairie (5-5) by a score of 52-6, and it wasn’t even that close. Bethel (7-3) pulled off a bit of a shocker on the road against a strong Arlington (7-3) squad. The Braves lowered the boom on their hosts by a score of 50-15. Meanwhile, Yelm (7-3) also pulled off a road upset, knocking off Bishop Blanchet (5-4) by a score of 24-14. South Sound Conference champion Peninsula (8-2) made short work of Seattle Prep (3-6), dropping the visitors by a score of 47-16.

Lakes earned the top area seed from the state committee, earning the 3A fifth seed. The Lancers will host Yelm on Friday, Nov. 9, at Harry Lang Stadium. Lincoln came in as the sixth seed, and will host a dangerous Rainier Beach (5-3) squad the same night at historic Lincoln Bowl. Possibly the best area game of Friday night will be the matchup between Bethel and Peninsula at Roy Anderson Field in Gig Harbor. Both squads look like they are currently hitting on all cylinders, and something’s going to have to give.

The 2A field has three Pierce County teams moving on to the round of 16 after playoff action on Friday, Nov. 2. Fife (9-1) dropped the hammer on Port Angeles (3-7) by a score of 56-7. The 2A South Puget Sound League champions will now host perennial powerhouse North Kitsap (9-1) on Friday, Nov. 9, at Sunset Stadium in Sumner. Steilacoom also made short work of Orting, routing the Cardinals by a score of 42-8 in the round of 32. The ninth-seeded Sentinels (9-1) must now travel north to face eight-seed Sequim (9-1), for what is likely the best matchup in the opening-round of the 2A tournament.

Washington (6-4) pulled-off the big upset of the night, upending host White River (6-4) by a score of 27-10. The victory earned the Patriots a shot at top-seeded Hockinson (9-0).

Cascade Christian (7-1) earned a berth into the 1A tournament after finishing atop the Nisqually League standings. The Cougars will travel north to face perennial power Lynden Christian (8-2) for a showdown on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium.

The smallest team in the area is also still alive and kicking. Tacoma Baptist (6-4) advanced to the playoffs with a resounding 54-0 win over Oakville. With five wins in a row, the Crusaders are looking to make a return trip to the 1B state tournament. They will first have to hit the road and get past a Neah Bay (4-5) squad that looks a measure weaker than their usual gridiron offering. Stay tuned. This is likely to be a wild weekend.

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