Postseason picture begins to take shape this week

Tim Martinez: High schools

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And just like that, there are two Fridays left in the high school football regular season.

So it seems like a good time to take a look at the postseason picture and where teams stand in their hope to fill one of those spots.

4A GREATER ST. HELENS LEAGUE: Three of the five teams in the league will advance to the state preliminary round. And right now, after Skyview’s 42-3 win over Evergreen, there is a clear break between the top two and bottom three teams in the league.

All signs point to Union facing Skyview on Oct. 29 for the league championship. The winner hosts a state preliminary game. The loser is No. 2 from the 4A GSHL and will head on the road.

Even though Heritage, Evergreen and Battle Ground are 1-6 overall, all remain in contention for the third playoff berth. We’d expect that berth to go to the winner of next week’s Heritage-Evergreen game. But if Battle Ground knocks off Heritage on Friday, things could get very interesting next week.

3A GSHL: Camas (4-0 in league) sits in the driver’s seat for the league title and the No. 1 seed to the state preliminary round. The Papermakers hold a one-game lead over Kelso and Mountain View, with a win already over the Thunder. Camas faces Kelso next week.

Mountain View put itself in good position for the No. 2 seed with Friday’s win over Kelso. But the Thunder still have a game next week against Columbia River (3-2).

If Kelso (3-1) can beat Prairie on Friday, the Hilanders are in good position to secure a playoff spot. However, if River beats Mountain View next week, there is a scenario in which Mountain View, Kelso and River tie for second at 4-2, setting up a potential tiebreaker for the final two playoff spots.

Prairie (2-3) remains in the hunt, but the Falcons must win at Kelso on Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

2A GSHL: There are two playoff berths at stake. Washougal remains in the mix, but the Panthers must beat Mark Morris on Friday. If the Monarchs win, the two berths will go to Mark Morris and R.A. Long.

1A TRICO: District 4 received five berths to the state playoffs this season, meaning the top four teams from the Trico League will take part in the district playoffs on Nov. 5.

If Toledo (5-0) beats Ridgefield on Friday, the Indians will claim the No. 1 berth to the district playoffs and an automatic berth to the state playoffs.

There is a four-team race for the other three playoff berths between Stevenson (4-1), Ridgefield (3-2) La Center (3-2), and Kalama (3-2).

Stevenson can clinch the No. 2 berth to the playoffs with a win over Kalama on Friday. La Center could face a playoff game to get into the playoffs when the Wildcats play Kalama next week.

The week ahead

The postseason begins for area cross country, tennis and golf teams this week:

CROSS COUNTRY: The 4A district meet will be held Wednesday at Lewisville Park, and the 3A district meet is Thursday, also at Lewisville. Top placers in those meets will qualify for the Westside Cross Country Classic regional meet in Tacoma on Oct. 30.

The 2A GSHL and 1A Trico will hold league meets. The 2A GSHL meet is Thursday in Hockinson, and the Trico meet is Tuesday in Castle Rock. These events determine league champions, but all participants will advance to next week’s district meet in Olympia.

TENNIS: The 4A district tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Vancouver Tennis Center, the same site that will host the state tournament in May. Skyview’s Kent Andreasen is expected to battle Union’s Alex Wallace for the singles title.

The 3A district tournament is Friday and Saturday at Club Green Meadows.

Players will attempt to qualify for the bi-district tournament next spring in Tacoma.

BOYS GOLF: The 2A district tournament will be held Thursday and Friday at Three Rivers Golf Course in Kelso.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached by phone at (360) 735-4538 or e-mail at tim.martinez@columbian.com