State 2B Football Previews: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
FIRST ROUND: Local Teams Prepare for Home Cooking, Long Bus Rides
By Matt Baide
Onalaska, Napavine, Adna, Toledo and Rainier all earned wins last Friday and are preparing to play in the opening round of the State 2B Football tournament. Along with Kalama, District 4 appears prime for another solid showing in the tournament, with Kalama, Adna, Toledo and Napavine making up the final four last year. Will the same thing happen again this season? District 4 makes up three of the top four teams, with Chewelah from the east side of the state earning the No. 4 spot in the bracket. Adna is slotted in at No. 5 and will also play a home game on Saturday. Toledo earned the No. 10 seed and will travel across the state on Friday while Rainier earned the No. 14 seed and will travel south to take on the Chinooks in the opening round.
Here’s a look at each game for local teams.
No. 1 Onalaska vs. No. 16 Brewster, Friday, 6 p.m., Onalaska
The Loggers are the last remaining undefeated team in the 2B ranks and earned the top overall seed from the committee. Onalaska is hosting the No. 16 seed Brewster Bears on Friday.
The Bears finished the regular season 3-7 overall and 2-2 in the Central Washington 2B league. Brewster lost their first four games of the season before earning their first win against Manson, 35-21. The Bears defeated Oroville the following week, 32-20, before losing three in a row before the crossover game last week, defeating White Swan 60-46 in White Swan.
The Bears average 25.8 points per game while giving up 38.5 points per game.
Onalaska defeated Wahkiakum for the second time this season in the crossover round, 50-0. The Loggers have outscored opponents 428-75 this season and the closest game they played was a 22-14 win against Adna in Week 8. Fullback Ashton Haight was named the SWW 2B Mountain Division offensive MVP, defensive lineman Alex Frazier was named the defensive MVP and coach Mazen Saade was named the coach of the year.
No. 2 Napavine vs. No. 15 Mabton, Saturday, 1 p.m., Centralia
The Tigers earned the No. 2 seed from the seeding committee and will face Mabton out of Central Washington on Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
“I thought it was fine,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said about the No. 2 seed. “It’s one of those things, people are going to wonder about certain seedings, but that’s where I thought we would be.”
Napavine has just one blemish on their schedule this season, a 36-13 loss to Onalaska in Week 7. Outside of that, the Tigers have been dominant and are averaging 37.6 points per game while allowing just 12 points per game. The Tigers defeated Winlock 48-13 in Week 10 to earn a spot in the state tournament.
The Vikings are coming into this game after pulling off a big upset against Columbia (Burbank), winning 21-20 against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Washington 2B football league. Mabton is 4-6 overall this season and averages 18.9 points per game while allowing 25.3 points per game.
Napavine coach Josh Fay noted Mabton’s spread offense, with a lot of single back or empty set looks. He said the Tigers will have to key in on wide receiver Armando Morales and quarterback Andrez Zavala.
Mabton won their first game of the season against Granger, 15-7, before a 22-14 loss to Columbia (Burbank) in Week 2. The Vikings earned their first win of the season against Brewster in Week 3, 50-39, before falling to Tri-Cities Prep. Mabton defeated Dayton/Waitsburg 36-8 in Week 5 before losing four straight games to end the regular season.
It will be tough to pull an upset against the Tigers, led by junior quarterback Laythan Demarest both on the ground and through the air. Demarest has 1,224 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground and has completed 56 percent of his passes for 991 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Tigers are rested up and ready to try and earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I think Mabton, they were able to bump off the league champs, Columbia-Burbank,” Fay said. “We’ve got to be focused ready to go or we’re getting the Columbia-Burbank treatment.”
No. 3 Kalama vs. No. 14 Rainier, Friday, 7 p.m., Kalama
The Chinooks earned the No. 3 seed in the state tournament after winning the River Division and welcome the No. 14 Rainier Mountaineers to Kalama on Friday.
“They are a big physical team up front. Their quarterback (Jackson Esary) can run, throw. They’re a spread team, match up well with what we try to do,” Rainier coach Andy Bartell said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to slow them down at least and have a good game against them.”
The Mountaineers finished 6-4 this season, with a non-league loss against Toledo, 15-14, in Week 2 and three Mountain Division losses to Onalaska, Adna and Napavine, to take fourth place in the Mountain Division. Rainier was able to make it into the state tournament by knocking off the Coastal Division champion Pe Ell-Willapa Valley Titans 28-20 in Menlo last Friday. Brody Klein accounted for all four touchdowns in the game with 113 yards on the ground and five catches for 91 yards.
“I was a little surprised, especially with the upsets that came from the east side. Davenport upsetting Liberty (Spangle), Tonasket getting in too,” Bartell said about the No. 14 seed from the committee. “Playing in the league we play in, with Ony, Napavine and Adna. All four of our losses came against teams in the Top 10. I think we did enough to avoid the top four seeds.”
Rainier scores 34.9 points per game and their defense allows 25.9 points per contest.
Kalama comes into the opening week of the state tournament off of a bye after Ilwaco forfeited their crossover round game. The Chinooks won their third straight River Division crown this season after a 7-2 season, with the only losses coming against No. 2 Napavine, 33-27, in Week 2, and a 36-8 loss to 1A La Center in Week 4.
The Chinooks average 39.4 points per game and allow just 13.3 points per game. Kalama has allowed just 35 points in five home games this season.
Bartell noted the team will have to pay attention to Brennon Vance and make sure to stop him in order for the Mountaineers to have a chance at victory.
Even with a tough test on Friday, Rainier is ready for the challenge.
“I think we’re extremely ready because of the league we played in. We played a lot of senior-led teams that are well coached,” Bartell said. “The guys have been in this situation against teams that should overpower us. We are extremely battle tested and we’ll come out with the best game plan and try to get another W.”
No. 5 Adna vs. No. 12 Davenport, Saturday, 1 p.m., Adna
The Adna Pirates are primed for another run in the state tournament, starting by hosting the Davenport Gorillas on Saturday in Adna.
“We couldn’t complain. We were hoping all along for the 5-seed. We thought we legit could say we could beat a 4-seed. Chewelah got it, it’s hard to argue they don’t deserve it,” Adna coach KC Johnson said about the No. 5 seed. “We wanted to get that four or five seed and an opportunity to play teams that we don’t normally play. We got that, can’t complain.”
The Gorillas were 6-4 in the Northeast 2B League’s North Division behind Chewelah. After an opening win against Lind-Ritzville/Sprague/Washtucna/Kahlotus, Davenport fell to Reardan and Colfax before bouncing back to beat Kettle Falls. After a 21-7 loss to Liberty (Spangle), the Gorillas rattled off three straight wins before ending the regular season with a loss to Chewelah, 35-15, to allow the Cougars to take the league title. Davenport avenged their early season loss to Liberty in the crossover round, winning 36-14 to earn their ticket to the state tournament.
The Gorillas average 33.8 points per game while allowing 25 points per game.
Johnson noted the size of the linemen on Davenport while also noting running back Gavin Boggs as well as wing back Alex Plasensia as players the Pirates will need to stop in order to earn the victory.
“They just flat come after you and they are huge. They’re way bigger, it will come down to speed and strength on our side and being athletes,” Johnson said. “The left side of their line, 290, 280, they’re just giants. The right side of their line, 240 and 260. Our biggest kid on the field is 220, 215, you know, they’re big.”
The Pirates were able to finish third in arguably the toughest division in 2B football and their only losses this season are to the Top 3 teams in the state. After taking down Pe Ell-Willapa Valley and Wahkiakum, the Pirates fell to Kalama, 27-14. Adna opened up their home schedule with a 29-8 win against Toledo before traveling to Napavine and leaving with a 46-13 loss. The Pirates healed up during a bye in Week 6 before going to Rainier and earning a 34-24 win. Adna played a close game against the Loggers and gave them their closest contest of the season, but ultimately fell, 22-14. The Pirates wrapped up the regular season with a home win against Morton-White Pass before traveling to Westport last week and defeating Ocosta, 54-14, in the crossover round.
Senior quarterback Braden Thomas and running back Cole Fay will figure to be key components of the Pirates’ game plan on Saturday as two of the more experienced players on the team. If the Gorillas take away those two, Johnson expects Zander Blankenship, Eli Howe, Zach Berg and Ryan Young to step up for Adna.
“I’m sure they’re all going to key on Cole and Braden and take that away from us. We’ll have to find ways to make things happen,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping special teams can be in our favor. We spend a lot of time on that and it can be a difference maker.”
Johnson said Davenport reminds him of Onalaska and thinks it will be a tough game for both teams.
“It will be interesting. They are a classic Eastern Washington farm boy football team,” Johnson said. “We’re excited about it. Obviously, it’s a long week, those are tough to get through sometimes. We’re excited to play them.”
No. 10 Toledo vs. No. 7 Colfax, Saturday, Noon, Colfax
Toledo has to travel across the state as the No. 10 seed to face the No. 7 Colfax Bulldogs on Saturday in the opening round of the state tournament.
“I think that the committee had a hard job. The first three or so teams were pretty clear. After that, there were a whole bunch of teams on the east side with one or two losses,” Toledo coach Mike Christensen said. “Other teams are hard to place. Six to 12 or 13, could be shuffled in there but I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Colfax began the season in Spangle with a 54-21 win against Wahkiakum. After wins against Freeman and Davenport, the Bulldogs dropped their first game against Heppner, Oregon, 27-0. Colfax rattled off another three wins after that, but fell to Reardan in the final game of the season to finish the regular season 6-2 and 4-1 in league games while winning the Northeast 2B South Division crown. The Bulldogs defeated LRSWK 59-13 in Week 10 to earn their berth to state.
Christensen noted Colfax’s Jacob Brown as a player to watch on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Layne Gingerich is a player the Indians will have to try to stop on offense and on defense, Gavin Hammer will make things tough as well as outside linebacker Blake Holman.
“They’re a really good football team, they’re ranked seven for a reason. They have a really good running back (Brown), are very athletic and well coached,” Christensen said. “It’s a new experience. They run a pistol wing-T, it’s not an offense we’ve seen exactly, similar to ours offensively. Their dynamic of players is completely different than what we’ve seen.”
Toledo is 7-3 this season, starting the season off with wins against Morton-White Pass and Rainier. After losses to Napavine and Adna, the Indians took down Toutle Lake before falling to Kalama, 42-6. Toledo won their final three games against Wahkiakum, Winlock and Mossyrock to take second in the River Division before earning a 47-9 win against Raymond last Thursday in Kelso to get into the state tournament.
“I think we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Trey Rego, he doesn’t get enough credit for us,” Christensen said. “We’ll do what we do, throw a couple new wrinkles in there. Its got us this far. I like the way our guys are playing.”
The two teams have a common opponent in Wahkiakum, a team Toledo defeated 37-0 in Week 7 in Toledo.
It is dad’s weekend at Washington State University in Pullman, just a 15-mile drive from Colfax. All of the hotels nearby are booked and on top of traveling across the state, Toledo is forced to stay more than an hour away from where they are playing on Saturday.
That adversity won’t mean anything once the two teams step on the field, and Toledo understands what it must do to pull the upset.
“It’s going to come down if we can run the ball against their front. If we struggle to move the ball and maintain drives, it’s going to be a long day,” Christensen said. “They’re good with their misdirection and their running back, quarterback combo. If we can run the ball and put up points, move the ball up front, I think we’ve got a chance.”