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Tim Martinez: Let’s talk some high school football

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: April 10, 2024, 6:05am
2 Photos
Skyview will open the 2024 football season against Radford of Honolulu, then host Graham-Kapowsin. The Storm also has games against Puyallup and Richland, but not Columbia River for the first time since 1997.
Skyview will open the 2024 football season against Radford of Honolulu, then host Graham-Kapowsin. The Storm also has games against Puyallup and Richland, but not Columbia River for the first time since 1997. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

It’s the second weekend in April, so let’s talk about high school football.

On one hand, that might seem strange. On the other, there are some who would argue that it’s never the wrong time to talk about high school football.

During its March meeting, the executive board of the WIAA approved Husky Stadium in Seattle as the host site for all six classification championship games for high school football for 2024 and 2025.

Last fall, Husky Stadium hosted the state football championship games as a one-year trial.

There were concerns about the schedule of three games on Friday and three more Saturday, meaning one of the championship games would have to kick off at 11 a.m. on Friday.

But after the one-year trial, the benefits of playing all of the games on the same site and at a destination site like Husky Stadium outweighed the drawbacks of the schedule.

And that’s good news for football players and football fans.

New Week 10 plan?

Now that the final week of the high school football season is planned, we could also see some changes to Week 10 of the season, the qualifying games into the state tournaments.

The Washington State Football Coaches Association is making a push to have all classifications play a version of the Week 10 statewide district crossover playoffs that is currently being used in Class 3A.

For the past several seasons in 3A, every district in the state sends teams into a pool of 32 teams. Those 32 teams play 16 games to determine the 16 berths into the 3A state playoffs.

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Class 4A has a similar format, but those crossovers are split in two — one set of crossovers includes teams from the four districts on the west side of the Cascades playing 11 games for 11 state berths and a second set of crossovers from districts on the east side for the other five state berths.

But in the other classifications — 2A, 1A, 2B and 1B — all Week 10 playoffs are within the district.

So 2A Greater St. Helens League teams would play 2A Evergreen Conference teams in Week 10 — for example, Ridgefield vs. Tumwater or Washougal vs. Aberdeen.

Under the WSFCA proposal, teams from all over the state would be put into the same pool for Week 10 matchups, then play 16 games to determine the 16 berths to state.

The WSFCA surveyed high school football coaches from around the state on the proposal, and the WSFCA says coaches are overwhelmingly in favor of the plan.

However, the power to implement the plan falls with the district athletic directors from all nine WIAA districts. The district athletic directors will meet later this spring to consider the plan, so that will be something to keep an eye on.

Big games in the fall

Prep football schedules for next fall are starting to be released on social media, and there are some intriguing matchups.

For the first time since 1997 in a non-COVID season, Skyview and Columbia River will not be playing in football.

Skyview had won every meeting between the two schools since 2014, and no meeting since 2015 has been closer than 27 points.

Instead, Skyview has put together a schedule that is stacked with talented teams.

The Storm open against Radford of Honolulu then host Graham-Kapowsin, the 2023 4A state runner-up. Skyview also has games against Puyallup and Richland.

And in Week 4, Jon Eagle makes his Clark County coaching return when his West Linn (Ore.) Lions come to Kiggins Bowl to meet the Storm.

The West Linn-Skyview matchup is part of a 4A GSHL agreement with Oregon Three Rivers League.

That same week Union will face Tualatin. Tualatin was the Oregon 6A runner-up that lost in the title game to Central Catholic, a team coached by Steve Pyne in his last game at Central before becoming Union’s head coach. Also that week, Camas will play Oregon City.

Other games on Union’s schedule includes Woodinville and Tumwater. Camas will take a trip to Idaho to play Coeur d’Alene.

Seton Catholic, fresh off its run to the 1A state semifinals, will open the 2024 season at Columbia River.

With the 1A Trico League now expanded to eight teams, it leaves Trico teams with only non-league games in Weeks 1 and 2. La Center will fill those two dates with road games at Montesano and at Woodland.

There is one other change of note in the Trico.

The past eight seasons, La Center has finished its regular season in Week 9 against Castle Rock. The past five seasons, that game has determined the Trico League champion.

In 2024, La Center and Castle Rock will meet in Week 5.

The Wildcats’ Week 9 opponent in 2024? Seton Catholic, at La Center.

So there’s a lot of good football to look forward to next fall in Southwest Washington.


Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at tim.martinez@columbian.com, 360-735-4538 or follow @360TMart on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).