Previewing the State Football Semifinals


After a turbulent state quarterfinal round across four classifications, three teams are out (Winlock, Toledo and Tenino) and three teams remain in contention for a state title (Napavine, Onalaska and Tumwater).

2B: No. 2 Napavine (11-0) vs. No. 3 Okanogan (11-0) — 1 p.m., Saturday, Tumwater High School

Napavine vaulted to the state semifinals for the seventh-straight time with a 56-6 thumping of No. 10 Forks in the quarterfinals Saturday in Centralia.

The Tigers rushed for 497 total yards, led by Gavin Parker’s game-high 144 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Lucas Dahl added 136 yards and a score and Cael Stanley finished with two TDs on 71 yards.

Now, the Tigers (11-0) take their high-powered offense and clamp-tight defense into a semifinal match against No. 3 Okanogan (11-0) in a battle of unbeatens.

Napavine coach Josh Fay knows the Bulldogs’ coaching staff well. He faced them in back-to-back state championship matches in 2014 and 2015, both losses. Now, the Tigers will get a chance for some delayed revenge.

“They’re big, physical and they run their stuff really well,” Fay said. “They look like we do. They’re balanced and have a lot of skill kids, so we can’t key in one guy.”

On offense, the Bulldogs have been tearing through opponents, averaging 42.8 points per game.

Defensively, they have not allowed a single point in three weeks, winning by an average score of 50-0 during that time. On the season, they’re surrendering only 7.3 points per game. They haven’t allowed more than a touchdown in a game since Oct. 1, when they gave up 13 points in a 55-13 win over Brewster.

By comparison, the Tigers, playing in a much-tougher league — the best in the state with three teams in the semifinals — are averaging 51 points per game and allowing 10.3 points per game. The Tigers have allowed 14 total points their past four matches.

Fay and his staff spent seven hours on Sunday watching game film on the Bulldogs to develop a game plan.

“We need to establish the line of scrimmage and execute on offense without a ton of adjustments,” Fay said. “Hopefully, if we have to make adjustments we’ll make the right ones.”

Napavine and Okanogan kick off at 1 p.m., Saturday, at Tumwater District Stadium. The winner takes on the winner of Kalama and Onalaska Dec. 4 for the state title.

Eric’s prediction: Napavine

Alec’s prediction: Napavine

2B: No. 5 Onalaska (7-5) vs. No. 1 Kalama (10-0) — 1 p.m., Saturday, Centralia Tigers Stadium

After entering the postseason with a 4-5 overall record ​​— with the toughest 2B schedule in the state — the No. 5 Loggers are now in the state semifinals following a 54-15 drubbing of No. Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Saturday.

The Loggers (7-5) rushed for 600 yards, led by senior fullback Marshall Haight’s 228 yards and three TDs. Kolby Mozingo added 158 yards and two scores and Gunnar Talley tacked on 114 yards and a score.

Now they take on a familiar foe in Southwest Washington 2B Football League South Division rival Kalama (10-0), which is coming off a 40-15 win over Toledo (11-3) in the state quarterfinals Saturday.

The Chinooks hammered the Loggers 58-6 in the regular season on Oct. 16. 

It was the only time the Loggers, who are averaging 37 points per game, were held to single-digit scoring all season. Onalaska coach Mazen Saade said he hopes it’ll be different this time around.

“Their defensive line caused us a lot of problems,” Saade said. “We struggled blocking them.”

Now, the Loggers have won four straight, averaging 59.5 points per game during that stretch, and are a different team than they were five weeks ago. Still, Kalama is likely better than it was back then, too.

“They have a really good, storied history,” Saade said. “(Jackson Esary) is a talented quarterback who can hurt you running and passing. (Max Cox), (Jack Doerty) and (Nate Meyer) are his main targets.”

On Monday, Saade and his staff met for breakdown meetings to figure out a game plan.

“We’re excited to be where we’re at,” Saade said. “There’s nothing like playing over Thanksgiving break and we’ve done it now two seasons in a row. I think it’s gonna be a heck of a game.”

Onalaska and Kalama face off at 1 p.m., Saturday, at Tiger Stadium in Centralia. The winner faces the winner of Napavine and Okanogan for the state title Dec. 4.

Eric’s prediction: Onalaska

Alec’s prediction: Kalama

2A: No. 1 Tumwater (9-2) vs. No. 4 Squalicum (8-2) — 4 p.m., Saturday, Tumwater High School

Top-ranked Tumwater is in prime position to defend its 2019 state title after blowing past No. 9 Enumclaw, 55-21, in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Now, the Thunderbirds (9-2) get fourth-seeded Squalicum (8-2) in the semifinals.

The Storm, who are coming off a 63-38 blowout of then-unbeaten Ridgefield (11-1) Saturday, are led by Washington State University-commit Djouvensky Schlenbaker, a 3-star running back who has 1,083 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in eight games this season, according to Whatcom Preps. 

He’s not Squalicum’s only threat either. Quarterback Leyton Smithson runs a 4.3 40-yard dash and has 584 rushing yards and 12 TDs in nine games. He also has 714 yards and eight touchdowns through the air.

“They’re very talented,” Tumwater coach Bill Beattie said of the Storm. “Their running back, obviously, is very good and they have a talented quarterback.”

Beattie also praised Storm defensive end/offensive guard Bryson Lamb, who has 72 total tackles, 60 solos, 17 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks through eight games.

Beattie said for the Thunderbirds to be successful, it all starts up front.

“We’ve gotta control the line of scrimmage playing against a quarterback and running back like that,” Beattie said. “On the defensive side, our front seven has got to control. Offensively, we have to make positive yardage every carry and keep pushing forward. I think this will be an old-fashioned football game.”

Tumwater and Squalicum square off at 4 p.m., Saturday, at Tumwater District Stadium. The winner takes on the winner of No. 2 Lynden and No. 3 North Kitsap on Dec. 4 for the state title.

Eric’s prediction: Tumwater

Alec’s prediction: Tumwater