The Bellevue sports blog
Quarterfinal football predictions and pollsNovember 16th, 2011 at Wed, 16th, 2011 at 1:19 pm by Josh Suman
We’re down to the last three weeks of football playoffs with a host of local teams still in action. The headliner is obviously Bellevue and Lakes, but I’m almost more excited to see if Interlake can get over the hump against Lynden and find their way to the 2A semi-finals. Onto the picks.
Lakes vs. Bellevue
Kevin – This is a matchup people have talked about since the start of the season (unfortunately it’s in the state quarterfinals). The question is, will it live up to the hype? On one side is the disciplined machine that is nationally-ranked Bellevue. The other side, Lakes, presents some of the best athletes in the state with running back Levonte Littlejohn, receiver Cedric Dozier and lineman Zach Banner. Historically, the the well-oiled machine has won this battle. I don’t see it going any differently this time. Bellevue might bend, but never breaks. The same can’t be said for Lakes.
Pick: Bellevue 31-21
Josh – There has been a lot of talk about how the Lakes defense, after experiencing Bellevue’s offense first hand last year in the semi-finals and facing consecutive Wing-T offenses the past two weeks, will be more prepared and better positioned to get some stops this time around. I don’t think that will make a difference. Simply put, Nathan Hale and Mountain View are not Bellevue. No one is. If the Wing-T’s major flaw was ineffectiveness against opponents the second and third times around, Bellevue would not still be winning conference titles, let alone building the program to the level it sits at currently. KingCo foes like Sammamish and Newport have vacillated between the Wing-T and other three-back, option based offenses for years. But stopping the Totems has never helped anyone stop the Wolverines. The simple fact is that Lakes, while as talented as any team in the state, is going to face the same adjustment period everyone else faces when matching up with the Bellevue offense. The first couple drives of the game will end only one of two ways: a Bellevue touchdown, or a Bellevue turnover. The most important unit in this game is the Bellevue secondary, a group that has not allowed a scoring play of over 20 yards all season. That includes wins over top college quarterback prospects Max Browne, Jeff Lindquist and Luke Falk. The safeties, Michael Carlson and Budda Baker, do a great job of keeping plays in front of them and never allowing a quarterback to take the top off their defense with a big play through the air. Without a deep threat, it’s tough to make any headway against a solid front and well-drilled linebacking corps. Lakes is going to score some points, but they are going to work for whatever they get. In the end, despite what national pundits believe, Bellevue heads back to the Dome.
Pick: Bellevue 38-24
Skyline vs. Central Valley
Kevin – Skyline’s defense continues to get stronger week after week. The Spartans slowed a hot Mead rushing attack on the road last week. They’ll need to do the same this week against Central Valley. The Bears are a run-first team that mixes in the pass. Two running backs — Alex Jacot and Grayson Sykes — along with quarterback Gaven Deyarmin have combined for more than 1,500 yards on the ground. Like last week’s opponent, Mead, it’s doubtful Central Valley has seen a passing attack anywhere near the level of Skyline’s. If the Spartans continue to bear down on defense, 2011 should mark another trip to the Tacoma Dome.
Pick: Skyline 35-21
Josh – I’m definitely impressed with Skyline’s performance last week, knocking off a highly regarded team some five hours from home. I know rankings are fickle, but it’s safe to say us media types likely wrote off the Spartans far too soon after the losses to Bellevue, Lake Oswego (Ore) and finally Eastlake. It was almost as if we all said, “only Skyline OR Eastlake can remain ranked in the top-10″ when the reality all along was that both were top-10 if not top-five teams in the state. No disrespect to Central Valley, but I think Skyline moves on.
Pick: Skyline 40-28
Eastlake vs. Lake Stevens
Kevin – There’s a lot on the line for Eastlake Saturday night as the Wolves look for the program’s first ever trip to the state semifinals. In order to reach the goal, they will have to contain one of the state’s most productive quarterbacks, Jake Nelson. The Lake Stevens signal caller has completed 188 of 262 passes for 2,508 yards, 25 TDs and just five INTs. He’s also rushed for over 600 yards and 14 TDs. Fortunately for the Wolves, they play in one of the best passing conferences in the state and the defense should be prepared. On the flip side, Eastlake quarterback Keegan Kemp has completed 104 of 179 passes for 1,494 yards, 13 TDs, 9 INTs; and has rushed for 520 yards and 10 TDs. With running back Ryan Lewis (1,614 yards, 25 TDs) the Wolves pack a punch of their own. It could be a shootout on the Plateau this Saturday.
Pick: Eastlake 35-24
Josh – Watching Jake Nelson highlights all season, one thing has stuck out more than any other: the kid just makes plays. The scramble that he made to set up the even more improbable touchdown pass in the corner to Christian Gasca was one of the more impressive sequences I can remember from a prep quarterback with so much on the line. It wasn’t so much the plays themselves-the run was set up by some poor tackling and guys with their eyes in the wrong spot- it’s that he looked like he knew what he was going to do the whole time and when he did it, he was the only one who wasn’t surprised. That poise is going to loom large against an Eastlake team that is senior-dominated and hungry to erase the shortcomings of the school’s football past. Keegan Kemp is the X-Factor here. If he manages the game and makes a few plays, his team wins. If he falls apart and turns it over at critical times, the Wolves will not survive.
Pick: Eastlake 22-21
Interlake vs. Lynden
Kevin – The 2A Saints have proven again that the gauntlet they run might not equal the best regular-season record, but it certainly gets them ready for the state tournament. For the second year in a row they are hosting a state quarterfinal game against one of the state’s top 2A teams. Can Interlake take that next step to the semifinals? Lynden is one of those programs that is successful year in and year out, earning three state titles since 2006. Coach Curt Kramme will no doubt have his Lions keyed in on Saints’ star running back Jordan Todd. Interlake might have to have someone else step up Saturday.
Pick: Lynden 32-14
Josh – Kevin is absolutely right, the Saints need someone else to step up and make some game-changing plays on offense, defense and special teams to win this game. I (incorrectly) thought last week would be the point when a disciplined defense was able to slow Jordan Todd enough to give its offense a chance to win the game. Franklin Pierce had no answer whatsoever for Todd, allowing 432 yards and five scores despite entering the game knowing full-well coach Jason Rimkus’ intentions to get his superstar the ball early and often. This week, it’s Lynden’s turn to try and slow Todd and the Saints’ ground game and that means it’s Kamana Adriano’s time to shine. The wiry, athletic quarterback convert has been good enough in 2011 thus far and is one of the toughest kids I’ve covered. He took a shot against Juanita that I thought was going to leave him unconscious on the ground but before the pile was pulled apart, he was already back up woofing at the defense and getting his squad back in the huddle. If the Turman brothers, Ryuji Kawashima and some of the Saints’ other weapons can get loose on the outside to open up the passing game, that’s going to make life a lot easier on Todd. If not, this one is going to look a lot like the quarterfinal loss to Murphy in 2010.
Pick: Interlake 34-33
Woodinville vs. Union
Kevin – Woodinville’s defense is the real deal. In 11 games, the Falcons have allowed an average of under eight points per game. They held Bethel, a team scoring 48 points per game, to just seven points last week. Union is much improved since a 27-10 loss it suffered to Bothell in week one, but I don’t see this return trip to Pop Keeney Stadium going much better for the Titans.
Pick: Woodinville 31-10
Josh – Really tough to go against Woodinville in this one, especially at Pop Keeney and with the low numbers that defense has been holding teams to all season. Union’s schedule also just flat out doesn’t match up to the slate the Falcons weathered.
Pick: Woodinville 34-13
Week 11 results
Kevin – 18-6
Josh – 16-8
Readers – 20-4
Year to date
Kevin – 105-27
Josh – 100-32
Readers – 108-24