It’s state playoff time for local squads

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Steilacoom freshman receiver Emeka Egbuka hauls in a long touchdown pass. Photo by Rocky Ross

Playoff hopes and dreams became a reality for some high school teams, as the regular season drew to a close around the Tacoma area on Friday, Oct. 27. For some, however, the reality was more of a cold slap, as some teams ultimately found themselves on the outside of the playoff brackets. While some of the usual playoff suspects will continue to roll into the post-season, some perennial playoff squads are already looking toward next season.

Fife senior quarterback Falani Jennings avoids a tackle by Steilacoom senior linebacker Nick Tracy. Photo by Rocky Ross

Let’s get a rundown of who is advancing and what is in store for them on their playoff journey.

This tackle continued out of bounds and stung Fife for two penalties, covering 30 yards. Steilacoom would capitalize immediately with a touchdown score. On Friday, Nov. 3, Steilacoom will host Washington and Fife will host Sequim in the opening round of the state playoffs. Photo by Rocky Ross

The Bellarmine Prep Lions entered their contest with 4A South Puget Sound League champion Puyallup with their backs against the wall. Bellarmine would need a victory in Puyallup to claim the league’s fourth, and final, seed into the playoffs. A loss would drop the Lions into a tie with Olympia, who owned the tie-breaker via an early-season win over Bellarmine. With 87 yards to go and time running out on their playoff hopes, the Lions would fall short in their upset bid, falling 35-28 to the Vikings. The Lions will host Kennedy Catholic on Friday, Nov. 3, in a non-playoff showdown.

Despite the football hitting the turf, this long pass close to the goal-line was ruled a reception and Fife would quickly punch the ball into the end-zone. Photo by Rocky Ross

Puyallup (8-1) will host Auburn Mountainview (4-5) on Friday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

The Vikings will face a squad that offers up a considerable question mark. The Lions began their season with four straight losses, but then went on to win four of their final five games. While it would seem like they’ve caught some fire, they were crushed in their regular season finale by a score of 42-3 against Enumclaw. With that, it’s hard to get a feel for how good Puyallup’s opponent really is.

The 3A Pierce County League champion Lincoln Abes hosted the Stadium Tigers the same night, and there was going to be no repeat of last year’s huge upset by the Tigers. Lincoln rang up a 49-14 victory over their crosstown rivals, finishing the regular season 8-1. Despite the loss, Stadium held on to the fourth seed to the playoffs, but it’s not going to get any easier for the Tigers. Stadium (4-5) will travel south to face 3A South Sound Conference champion Timberline (9-0) on Friday, Nov. 3, at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.

If the chips fall the right way for the Abes, Lincoln could find themselves hosting three-straight playoff games at historic Lincoln Bowl. Lincoln will face the Metro Valley champions from Lakeside (8-1) on Friday, Nov. 3. Despite winning their division, Lakeside was deemed the eighth seed from the huge Metro Conference. It’s an absolute head-scratcher, that a team with such a record would be seeded so poorly. Whatever the case, the Abes have been preparing for this run since before the season even began. Expect some ground-and-pound from Lincoln.

Lakes (6-3) will travel to Kennewick on Saturday, Nov. 4, to face Kamiakin (8-1). Don’t be shocked if the Lancers return with an upset victory, because they did it last year against the same foe. Bethel (8-1) will host Yelm (6-3) at Art Crate Field on Friday, Nov. 3. The Braves look like they could be a big surprise in the state playoffs. The atmosphere for this game should be off the charts.

The 2A field has several area teams in the mix. When Steilacoom and Fife squared off on Friday, Oct. 27, at Fife Stadium, the contest was for the undisputed 2A South Puget Sound League crown. It looked like one of the best matchups of the season, but it turned into a lopsided runaway by Steilacoom. The Sentinels struck fast and often against the Trojans on their way to a 52-27 victory. Steilacoom (7-2) will host Washington (5-3) on Friday, Nov. 3, while Fife (8-1) will host Sequim (6-3) the same night. Expect both squads to advance to the round of 16. Meanwhile, Franklin Pierce (5-4) will have a tougher game on their hands when they host Bremerton (8-1). Still, there’s a chance that three Tacoma-area 2A teams could make it to the next round.

With a 7-2 mark and a solid hold on second place in the 1A Nisqually League, it looks as though Charles Wright is a shoe-in to advance to the round of 16. The Tarriers will host Port Townsend (3-6) on Friday, Nov. 3. Cascade Christian (8-1) looks like a legitimate threat to challenge for the 1A championship this season. Don’t be surprised if you see them in the Tacoma Dome in a month.

Tacoma Baptist has their hands full if they plan on a return to the 1B state tournament. The Crusaders (6-3) will host Mary Knight on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Curtis Viking Stadium. Should Tacoma Baptist advance, they will they have to travel to undefeated Quilcene (8-0) on Saturday, Nov. 11, with a single seed to the state tournament on the line.

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