2B Football: Strong Showing By District 4 in First Round
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
There was a point Saturday afternoon where five different games of the State 2B football playoffs were at or near halftime.
And for that brief, shining moment, District 4 ruled the state.
Toledo led Reardan, 14-3. Onalaska had a 22-12 lead on Lake Roosevelt. Pe Ell-Willapa Valley came out swinging and led Northwest Christian 20-7. Wahkiakum led Tri-Cities Prep, 14-7. And Kalama … well, Kalama had a decisive advantage against Liberty Christian.
Those leads didn’t all hold up, but it was still a feather in the cap for the Southwest Washington 2B League. District 4 overachieved, even if all but one of the higher seeds eventually lived up to their billing.
Here’s a quick recap:
Toledo 35, Reardan 3: Reardan was none too pleased with its 11 seed, but No. 6 Toledo lived up to its spot — particularly on the defensive end. The Indians turned away the other Indians in the red zone twice in the first half, and the game was never really in doubt after big lineman Hunter Eaton’s excellent fake-punt touchdown pass to Fano Arceo-Hansen. There weren’t any shutouts in the first round of the 2B bracket, but Toledo was the only team to keep its opponents out of the end zone for all four quarters.
Tri-Cities Prep 35, Wahkiakum 28 (OT): The Mule Train nearly derailed undefeated Tri-Cities Prep in a 3-vs.-14 matchup that turned into the most surprising game of the first round. It’s been a year full of adversity for Wahkiakum, which lost sophomore lineman Beau Carlson to a traumatic (and terrifying) brain injury in Week 2 and saw a handful of players quit the team in the aftermath. The Jaguars, meanwhile, hadn’t faced any significant 2B challenges during the regular season and were playing without star quarterback Dante Maiuri, a junior who transferred in from DeSales before the season and played a big role in TCP’s rise to the top of the state conversation. In Maiuri’s stead, junior Kendrick Sheehan hit 18 of 28 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns, and ran in two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. TCP was also missing Eastern Washington Athletic Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year Colton Tinnin (linebacker) and two additional starters, the Tri-Cities Herald reported.
NWC 35, PWV 26: The 10-seed Titans were also close to an upset on Saturday in snowy Spokane, but 7-seed Northwest Christian (Colbert) rallied from that 20-7 halftime deficit. It’s definitely a “just wait til next year” moment for Pe Ell-Willapa Valley. Max Smith, the dangerous running back, returns; Peter Hamilton, who missed most of the season with an injury and then ran for 274 yards against NWC, returns; solid sophomore running back Kollin Jurek returns; and quarterback Logan Walker, a promising sophomore thrust into a starting role due to an injury, returns with his top receivers. Saturday’s game, though, was everything you’d hope to get out of a 10-7 matchup, as the final score indicates.
Kalama 62, Liberty Christian 6: As this score indicates, the top two seeds didn’t have any trouble in the first round. No. 2-seed Kalama racked up eight interceptions, and reigning 2B Player of the Year Alex Dyer went 10 of 15 for 133 yards and three touchdowns. He also picked off two LC passes and ran one back for a touchdown.
Chewelah 34, Columbia (Burbank) 14: The one game in the bracket without a District 4 team went down Friday night, and with snow on the ground Kaden Krouse and Nolan Hansen each scored twice for the Cougars. No. 5-seed Chewelah is in its first year at the 2B level, after learning in February that it would drop down, and after years of mediocrity and a slow start to the season it’s one of the more intriguing teams left on the board.
Napavine 57, Brewster 20: The Tigers held a basketball-esque 39-20 lead at halftime, but turned up the intensity after a stern lecture at the intermission. Dawson Stanley ran for 113 yards and four touchdowns, along with 343 passing yards and three more scores (which works out to 60 fantasy points). No. 4-seed Napavine has been working on balancing out its offense in the second half of the season, but letting Stanley — the two-time offensive MVP of the toughest division in the state — make as many plays as he can isn’t a bad playoff strategy.
Onalaska 28, Lake Roosevelt 24: This had the most upset potential of any first-round game, though an 8-vs.-9 game is only an upset in the strictest sense of the term. Fittingly enough, it was also the closest margin of victory of any first-round game. The Loggers gave up 251 passing yards, but it came on 43 attempts, which isn’t bad against a solid quarterback like Lake Roosevelt senior Steven Flowers.
Adna 54, Concrete 19: The final score’s misleading, as Adna had its reserves in for the second-half kickoff (and a 54-point lead). It was everything you’d expect out of a 16-vs.-1 matchup, and the Pirates more than lived up to their top seeding.
Ranking the Quarterfinals
1. #6 Toledo at #3 Tri-Cities Prep: Toledo just keeps looking better and better, and the Jaguars look a bit short-handed. Considering Toledo beat Wahkiakum 24-6 on Oct. 12, this could be the first significant upset of the 2B playoffs.
2. #5 Chewelah at #4 Napavine: I have no idea what to expect on the field, but the off-the-field antics between the teams’ respective media conglomerates should be excellent. As The Chronicle was all-in early on the #RankChewelah movement, the atmosphere around this matchup should be fun. Plus, a 4-vs.-5 game should be competitive — even if the guy saying that is using the rankings he helped create as their own justification.
3. #9 Onalaska at #1 Adna: On one hand, this was the closest Mountain Division game Adna played; Onalaska kept things close before Adna pulled away for a 27-8 win. On the other hand, Adna’s a wagon, and an Adna/Kalama rematch in the state finals is looking more and more likely (and, let’s be honest, appealing) every day.
4. #7 NWC at #2 Kalama: There’s not much that can slow down Kalama’s high-flying offense, but an effective run-heavy offense can at least keep them off the field and slow the game down a bit. And NWC has two standout running backs (Eli Sander and Silas Perreiah) that might be able to make that happen. That being said, it was pretty tough to come up with that angle just to give NWC a fighting chance on paper. Kalama’s good, man, and a Kalama/Adna rematch in the Tacoma Dome sounds like fun.