Perhaps no team is hotter in Washington Class 1A football than the team marching into Stone City Friday night for a first round state matchup against No. 7 Tenino.
No. 10 Mount Baker is physical, runs a Wing-T offense that’s tough to prepare for, and though it just has a 6-4 record, creates a massive amount of problems on both offense and defense.
“They’re pretty well-rounded, their running back is a stud,” Tenino coach Cary Nagel said. “Their linemen across the board can move you. Defensively as a unit they fly around the ball. It's gonna be a game of two styles that are really similar, they like to pound the ball and their defense flies around.”
The Mountaineers workhorse back, Marcques George, is indeed a load. The senior back at 266 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a must-win game against previously-ranked No. 1 Lynden Christian, who was ousted from the state playoffs after a Kansas tiebreaker between Baker, LC, and Nooksack Valley last weekend.
The Mountaineers four losses this season have come to 1A No. 3 Nooksack Valley, 1A No. 9 Toppenish, 2A Sehome, and 1A No. 6 La Center.
So while on the surface the 9-1 Beavers could feel confident about their chances of winning this week, they know a hungry, and very potent and physical team is coming to Tenino this weekend.
“I think all the teams left in the tournament are a challenge,” Nagel said. “The team that we’re facing this week is hot right now. They’re well coached and tough and physical, but you could say that about any of the teams in this bracket. Either way, we have to put our best foot forward, no matter who we’re playing.”
Come Friday at 7 p.m. on the Black Top, the Beavers will get set to host its second straight first round state playoff game. Last season, a one-loss Tenino squad was the No. 6, pulled away from No. 11 Freeman late, 80-55. The Beavers are expecting a different sort of challenge in the first round this year, against the No. 10 Mountaineers.
“They’re extremely physical, they do a good job up front creating problems on both sides of the ball,” Nagel said. “I know they’re record says they’re 6-4, but they haven’t played slouches. They’re playing a lot of good football. We have to be ready to go in all phases.”