A brief look at the high-school football state championship games this weekend.
Coach: Mat Taylor, fifth year at Skyline, 62-7.
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Top-ranked Spartans (13-0) have started slowly in a few games before pulling away. They spotted No. 3 Camas a 14-0 lead in the semifinals and were tied 21-all in quarterfinals against Roosevelt.
Spartans love to throw, but also have a potent rushing attack. Opportunistic defense makes teams pay while trying to come from behind.
Two to watch
• QB Max Browne (6-5, 220, Sr.), a USC recruit considered the top prep quarterback prospect in the country, has completed 256 of 349 passes for 4,142 yards with 45 touchdowns, four interceptions. Needs nine yards to break Brian Lindgren’s state career passing record of 12,575 yards.
• RB Cedric Cooper (5-10, 165, Sr.) transferred from Class 2A Foster this year. In 12 games, he has 879 yards on 133 carries and 11 TDs and caught 31 passes for 468 yards with 3 TDs.
Defending state champs are in title game for sixth straight year and eighth time in nine seasons (including 3A in 2007). Spartans have won three of past four championships and six overall (two in 3A).
Bellarmine Prep Lions
Coach: Tom Larsen, 10th year, 72-36.
Bellarmine (12-1) has won 11 in a row since 42-38 loss to 3A Lakes. Lions won three close ones in playoffs..
Lions operate run-first offense with veteran line, but can throw, too.
Two to watch
• QB Sefo Liufau (6-4, 228, Sr.), who has committed to Colorado, has completed 160 of 239 passes for 2,144 yards and 21 touchdowns with three interceptions.
• RB Lou Millie (5-10, 190, Jr.) keyed Lions’ ability to run out the clock against Auburn in semis. He has 1,492 yards, 13 TDs on 264 carries.
After losing to Ferris in the semifinals in 2010 and to Skyview in quarterfinals last year, Lions are in championship game for first time.
Coach: Butch Goncharoff, 13th year, 157-12.
After beating Trinity of Euless, Texas in season opener, 31-24 in OT, Wolverines (13-0) have not really been challenged for a full game. Outscored past five opponents 192-10.
Wolverines run wing-T offense to perfection and like to spread ball around. Defense has been touted as best in school history.
Two to watch
• LB Myles Jack (6-3, 225, Sr.), a UCLA recruit, is as good as they come. Has more than 20 sacks.
• RB John Nguyen (5-9, 185, Sr.) typically doesn’t get a ton of carries, yet averages better than 10 yards. Has more than 1,000 rushing yards with 17 TDs.
With a 39-game winning streak, Bellevue is ranked No. 2 in nation by Sports Illustrated and ESPN. Program already has 10 state championships (including one in what is now 4A in 1983). Won past four titles (and nine of past 11) in 3A.
Eastside Catholic Crusaders
Coach: Jeremy Thielbahr, second year, 20-4.
Eastside Catholic (13-0) knocked off perennial power O’Dea 35-21 on the way to the Metro title. O’Dea had won 22 of 27 Metro crowns.
Crusaders can put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard. They’ve scored 40 or more in nine games, including past three in playoffs. They have been susceptible on defense at times.
Two to watch
• QB Trey Reynolds (6-0, 195, Sr.) can hurt teams on the ground (113 carries, 769 yards, eight TDs) and through air (112 of 166, 1,792 yards, 22 TDs, three interceptions).
• RB Henry Jarvis (5-10, 215, Jr.) helped key a 42-21 quarterfinal victory over University with three TDs (two rushing, one receiving) and is nearing 1,000 yards rushing (981 on 135 carries, 14 TDs).
This is a season for the ages for the Crusaders, who are making their first appearance in the title game. They had reached the semifinals only once before, losing to Lake Stevens in 1994.
Coach: Curt Kramme, 21st year, 204-52.
After losing a nonleague season opener to King’s, then ranked No. 1 in 1A, Lions (12-1) have reeled off 12 straight victories, all by 19 or more points.
An extremely sound team on both sides of the ball, Lions like to take what opponents give them. Offensively, they are capable of the big strike, but can grind it out. They weren’t phased by four turnovers in a 48-21 semifinal victory over Capital.
Two to watch
• QB Josh Kraght (5-11, 180, Sr.) has 839 yards on 113 carries with 15 TDs, and completed 162 of 242 passes for 2,364 yards with 28 TDs.
• RB Luke Christianson (6-0, 185, Sr.) is good for nearly nine yards per carry (174 for 1,481 yards) and has 22 rushing TDs. He also has 37 catches for 419 yards and 6 TDs.
Lions won last year’s title and three of past four. Stumbling block in 2010? Eventual champion Tumwater, in opening round of playoffs.
Coach: Sid Otton, 39th season, 309-102.
T-birds (12-1) have won 12 straight, losing only to Shelton in season opener. They had some early close calls — 31-28 vs. Inglemoor, 35-28 vs. Capital, 21-20 vs. W.F. West, then cruised until passing a 35-21 semifinal test against Prosser.
Run, run, run — that’s Tumwater’s preference. Thunderbirds have amassed nearly, 3,000 rushing yards with 40 TDs. They have a stingy defense in red zone.
Two to watch
• RB Andrew Brown (5-11, 175, Sr.) has carried 170 times for 1,237 yards and 14 TDs, and caught 17 passes for 378 yards and four scores.
• RB Christian Cummings (5-10, 160, Jr.) keyed semifinal victory with 198 yards on just 13 carries.
After winning 2A title in 2010, Tumwater took a quick exit from playoffs last season with first-round loss to Archbishop Murphy. Thunderbirds are 5-0 in championship games. Otton is state’s all-time leader in coaching victories with a record of 346-126 over 45 seasons.
Coach: Terry Jensen, 11th season, 101-28.
Season snapshot: Montesano (11-2) started the season 1-2, with losses to Cascade Christian and Hoquiam, but rides a 10-game win streak.
Bulldogs have balanced offense with two running backs approaching 1,000 yards in Tucker Ibabao (958) and Elliot Mendenhall (951).
Two to watch
• RB Elliot Mendenhall (6-0, 173, Sr.) can run it (135 carries, 951 yards, 12 TDs) and catch it (29-531-5).
• QB Matthew Jensen (5-10, 179, Sr.), coach’s son, has completed 110 of 182 passes for 1,794 yards with 18 TDs, and has 560 rushing yards and seven TDs.
Bulldogs have won a pair of 1A crowns (1983 and ’94), but are back in title game for first time since. They lost in semifinals last year to Cascade Christian.
Coach: Wiley Allred, 15th season, 158-19.
Season snapshot: Royal (13-0) shut out three of its final four regular-season opponents.
Knights can run or throw, and showed their grit with a 31-28 semifinal victory over River View, overcoming four turnovers.
Two to watch
• QB Alex Myrick (5-8, 175, Sr.) accounted for nearly 400 total yards in semifinal victory and has 2,474 yards passing (32 TDs) and 1,213 yards rushing (20 TDs).
• RB Damien Delarosa (6-0, 205, Sr.) has carried 170 times for 1,233 yards, 17 TDs.
Knights have won five titles and are back in championship game for first time since winning it in 2007.
Morton-White Pass Timberwolves
Coach: Aaron Poquette, second season, 23-2.
Season snapshot: Timberwolves (12-0) hadn’t been challenged until semifinals, winning 12-0 over La Conner.
Offense is led by junior QB Rylon Kolb, who threw for 169 yards and two TDs last week. But defense is difference for Timberwolves, who have not given up more than one TD in a game.
Morton won a state title in 1981. The school combined its team with White Pass in 2009. Sophomore-heavy team lost in 2011 final to Waitsburg-Prescott.
Coach: Greg Whitmore, eighth season, 62-22.
Season snapshot: Broncos (12-0) have just one shutout, but were impressive in 21-7 victory over defending champ Waitsburg-Prescott in semis.
Junior-laden team runs pistol offense, led by QB Dylan Hartz (119 of 195, 1,566 yards, 16 TDs, eight interceptions).
Whitmore was offensive coordinator under Mike Lynch (now his assistant) when Lind-Ritzville won state title in 2004. Sprague joined the co-op team in 2010.
Liberty Christian Patriots
Coach: Mike Olson, sixth season, 38-23.
Season snapshot: After cruising through first 11 games, scoring more than 60 points eight times, Patriots (12-0) pulled out 34-32 semifinal win over Cusick.
QB Mike Olson, coach’s son, has 2,474 yards passing (32 TDs) and 1,213 rushing (20 TDs). Tyler Morris has 18 receiving TDs and is state 8-man career record-holder with 43 receiving TDs.
Richland school dropped to 8-man football three seasons ago and is in playoffs for first time.
Neah Bay Red Devils
Coach: Tony McCaulley, fifth season, 53-10.
Season snapshot: Red Devils (13-0) have had their share of blowout wins (five by 50 or more points). Beat Lummi 40-30 in semis.
Junior QB Josiah Greene has passed for 1,756 yards and 26 TDs, rushed for 1,086 yards and 19 scores.
Neah Bay lost just five seniors from last year’s championship team.