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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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Camas No. 2, Hockinson and La Center No. 4s as committees set state football bracket

High schools: Tim Martinez

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

The committees have spoken.

The brackets have been set.

Now let the games begin.

I really feel like the WIAA is onto something with these seeding committees for state football. In fact, I think they should expand the committee format to basketball, instead of relying on the very imperfect RPI.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the work of the football seeding committees won’t cause some discussion or even outright head scratching.

But isn’t that what sports are all about? Second guessing.

Anyway, here are where local football teams (nine of them!) were seeded and placed into the state tournament brackets, along with some of my thoughts.

Game times, days and sites will be announced in next 24-36 hours, although seeds 1-8 are considered host teams.

Class 4A

No. 15 Eastmont (9-1) vs. No. 2 Camas (10-0)

The Papermakers draw a No. 2 seed, which means they won’t have to leave Clark County for at least the first two rounds. And they received a favorable draw in Eastmont of East Wenatchee despite the Wildcats’ 9-1 record. The two Big 9 Conference teams (Wenatchee is the other) were seeded No. 15 and 16. A Big 9 team has not won a state tournament game since 2015. No. 10 Eastlake or No. 7 Puyallup await the winner.

No. 9 Skyview (8-2) vs. No. 8 Woodinville (9-1)

The Storm were sitting right on the bubble of being a top-8 team and getting a home game to open state. Now Skyview will hit the road to play a team from the very tough KingCo Conference. But the Storm have traveled this road before at state and fared well. This should be a good game. No. 16 Wenatchee or No. 1 Kennedy Catholic awaits the winner.

No. 14 Union (6-4) vs. No.3 Lake Stevens (10-0)

This rematch of last year’s state championship game came as a bit of a surprise. Not so much with Union’s seeding. A 6-4 team that finished third in its own league can’t expect much more than a 13 seed. But seeing Lake Stevens, last year’s state runner-up that has been a consensus No. 1 team in various state rankings, come in at No. 3 was a bit surprising. No. 11 Mount Si or No. 6 Chiawana await the winner.

Class 3A

No. 11 Prairie (9-1) at No. 6 Marysville-Pilchuck (10-0), 6 p.m. Friday

Prairie also sat on the bubble of getting a top-8 seed. But seeing the Falcons fall to No. 11 makes me think the committee didn’t think much of the 3A Greater St. Helens League even though the league came very close to sending all three of its teams to state. But this is not an awful draw for the Falcons. The Tomahawks have been impressive this year, but labored against Ballard on Saturday, winning 28-25. This could also be a good game. No. 14 Seattle Prep or No. 3 Lincoln await the winner.

No. 16 Kelso (6-2) vs. No. 1 O’Dea (9-0)

Oh the poor Hilanders. This is a tough draw. But it’s possible that the committee didn’t consider Kelso as the weakest team in the field despite the 16th seed. When you see Seattle Prep at 14 and Garfield at 13, it’s possible the committee was trying to avoid Metro-Metro matchups for O’Dea and No. 2 Eastside Catholic. The Hilanders might have ended up with the short end of that bracket shuffle. No. 9 Peninsula or No. 8 Mount Spokane await the winner.

Class 2A

No. 13 Ellensburg (4-5) vs. No. 4 Hockinson (10-0)

The Hawks will open their title defense against an Ellensburg team that has taken five losses against state playoff teams (4A Eastmont, twice to 2A Prosser and to 1A Royal and Zillah). The Hawks are out to prove they can still compete even without standout Peyton Brammer. They’ll get their first chance against the Bulldogs. No. 12 Sequim or No. 5 Lakewood await the winner.

No. 11 Washougal (6-4) vs. No. 6 Clarkston (9-1)

Washougal returns to state and will head on the road in the first round. The Panthers could get a scouting report from River, who met Clarkston in Week 9 and lost 35-20. No. 14 Othello or No. 3 Lynden await the winner.

No. 15 Ridgefield (6-4) vs. No. 2 Steilacoom (8-2)

The Spudders are probably thinking “Hey, we beat Washougal and finished ahead of the Panthers in our league. We have the same record, but are seeding four spots below them?!?” It’s a valid question. The Spudders will face a talented Steilacoom team on the road, but at least they won’t have to travel as far as Washougal (looking for silver linings). No. 10 Eatonville or No. 7 Prosser await the winner.

Class 1A

No. 13 Connell vs. No. 4 La Center (9-0)

The seeding process in Class 1A must have been a challenge for the committee with so many good teams with undefeated records. La Center fared well with a No. 4 seed, meaning they’ll stay close to home for the opening rounds. This is a rematch of the 2016 semifinal game won by Connell. Connell enters state on a four-game winning streak, winning by an average score of 42-7. No. 12 Hoquiam or No. 5 Mount Baker await the winner.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached 360-735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.