TIM MARTINEZ: It’s not about where you’re ranked, it’s about where you finish

Tim Martinez: High Schools

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

Published:

 

So it’s Thanksgiving week, and Skyview and Camas are both in the football state semifinals.

Camas will play O’Dea of Seattle in the Class 3A state semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

Skyview will face Lake Stevens in the 4A state semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday, also in the Tacoma Dome.

That may come as a surprise to some.

Greg Lee of the Spokane Spokesman-Review tweeted Saturday night: “Amazing. Skyview, which was hammered earlier this season by Coeur d’Alene, is in the 4A semifinals.”

Skyview was ninth in the final Seattle Times 4A ranking, ninth in the final Tacoma News-Tribune ranking and unranked in the final Associated Press poll.

Camas fared a little better in Class 3A: No. 6 Seattle Times; No. 5 News-Tribune; No. 5 Associated Press.

But as one esteemed colleague in the press box at Kiggins Bowl said Saturday, rankings don’t mean anything.

Or as one Skyview student said on the field after Skyview’s win over Bellarmine Prep: “Well, when you start 0-2, people think you stink.”

Actually, he didn’t say “stink,” but you get the picture.

Well, there are two things to know about Skyview’s 0-2 start.

One, both the teams that beat Skyview were really good.

Coeur d’Alene is defending its Idaho 5A state championship on Friday. Sherwood has advanced to the Oregon 5A state semifinals.

If Skyview had scheduled two local 3A opponents, like Kelso and Hudson’s Bay, instead of Coeur d’Alene and Sherwood, the Storm likely would be 12-0 right now, and the Storm might have been ranked No. 1 in the state.

Camas is 11-1, with its lone loss coming against Skyview. If that lone loss had come against an unbeaten and top-ranked Skyview team, it may have allowed Camas to climb higher in the rankings.

So Skyview’s 0-2 start may have hindered Camas’ ranking.

The second thing to remember is that September was a long time ago.

“We talk about getting better from Week 1 to Week 9,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “But when you get into the playoffs, you’ve got to get better from Week 11 to Week 12. And we’ve got to get better next week if we want to keep this thing going.”

Skyview has made great strides over this season. So have the Papermakers. And now both teams are striding to the state semifinals.

• • •

While some may be surprised by Skyview’s and Camas’ success, I was not.

As we’ve done that last few years, The Columbian offers predicted winners before each week’s high school football games in its preps blog.

At the start of the season, the process was pretty simple. Three staff members, myself and sports writers Paul Valencia and Paul Danzer, would pick winners. The teams that got at least two votes earned “The Columbian’s pick.”

But by midseason, these picks were pretty much a one-man show for two reasons.

For one, our two Pauls became slackers and stopped sending me their picks in a timely fashion. And two, there were so many lopsided games in the Southwest Washington this season, it wasn’t difficult to pick winners. (But mostly, it was the slacker thing.)

When the regular season turned into the postseason, I just kept up the habit of making The Columbian’s picks myself.

And excluding one eight-man football game — and honestly, who can predict eight-man football? — The Columbian staff (i.e. me) is 18-0 picking playoff winners and losers from Clark County (and Woodland, too).

We were (I was) 10-0 in Week 10 playoffs, 5-0 in state first-round games and 3-0 in the state quarterfinals.

So thanks to the Storm and Papermakers for making us (me) look to so smart — truly not an easy task.

Check back Wednesday on The Columbian’s prep blog for state semifinal previews and picks.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/360TMart.