This Saturday, the Tacoma Dome hosts the WIAA Gridiron Classic, the dream of all Washington high school football teams. Here, teams will face off for the title of 2016 State Champions. After 5 weeks of post season play, only 2 teams remain in each division, hopeful to bring the state title home.
Here are match ups for this weekend, 1A—4A.
Connell vs. Royal
These league rivals will face off for the 1A state title this Saturday. The Royal Knights and the Connell Eagles met earlier this year in league play, with the Knights coming out on top 28-21.
Royal is hoping to defend their 2015 state title, as quarterback Kaden Jenks continues to dominate opponents. Coming in at 6’2” and 215 lbs, he is a powerhouse in the running game and equally effective in his passing. With a semi final win over Deer Park 56-0, this team will challenge opponents on both sides of the ball.
Connell is also led by their dominating quarterback, Brian Hawkins. Hawkins is dangerous in the run game, proving this with 220 yards on 20 carries for 2 rushing touchdowns in the semi final against La Conner where they won 24-7. This matchup carries the weight of not only the state title, but the league rivalry as well. This is a game to watch this weekend.
The Knights and the Eagles square off Saturday, December 3rd at10:00 a.m.
Archbishop Murphy vs. Liberty
Archbishop defeated Lynden 52-14, and the star of the show was quarterback Connor Johnson: he was 11 of 12 for 241 yards and five touchdowns, including a rushing touchdown. In an offense that carries as much power as Archbishop, they are traditionally a run-heavy offense. However, Johnson is not to be overlooked going into the title game. Expect the Wildcats offense to keep the defense guessing with a variety in their powerful run and pass game.
Liberty defeated Ellensburg 35-26 to earn their spot in the state title game. In their last trip to the state title game in 2009, they lost the 3A title to Bellevue. This year, they plan to change their fate. With a strong defensive front that caused 4 turnovers in the semi final, expect Jackson Wray, Isaiah Owens and Khalil Manning to come out even stronger this week.
See the battle for the 2A state championship Saturday, December 3rd at 1 p.m.
Kamiakin vs. O’Dea
In the semi finals, Kamiakin stopped the defending state champions from returning to the state championship game for a fifth consecutive year. They defeated Eastside Catholic in a close game, 30-27 to earn their spot in the title matchup. Fighting back from a 10-point deficit to take the win, the Braves are relentless from game start to finish. With a game saving interception in the last 2 minutes of the game and a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Isaiah Brimmer is dangerous on offense and defense. Zach Borisch leads this powerful offense, with over 300 total yards, 2 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns, he had a part in all 4 touchdowns for the Braves.
O’Dea definitively beat Meadowdale 35-9 to earn their spot in the championship game this weekend. Jamyn Patu, a name we have heard regularly throughout the season, continued to be lights out in the semi final. Rushing for 213 yards and three touchdowns, expect him to continue to be a force in the running game this weekend. The defense had 8 sacks in the second half of play, even against Meadowdale’s strong offensive front. Expect this Irish defense to continue to bring the pressure this weekend.
Kamiakin and O’Dea face off for the state title Friday, December 2nd, at 7:30 p.m.
Camas vs. Richland
Scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter to top Sumner 45-21 last weekend, the Camas Papermakers maintain their perfect 13-0 season going into the title game. Mixing in both the passing and running game and adjusting as the game went on was key to the Papermakers’ scoring success. On the defensive end, they forced one fumble and intercepted Sumner quarterback Luke Ross 3 times (Cooper McNatt, Ryan Rushall and Luke Bruno).
Richland enters the game a perfect 13-0, just like their opponents. Dominating their regular season and post season appearances, they topped Skyview in the semi final 35-7. With depth in their runningbacks, the Bombers are not afraid to run the ball. Expect the Bombers’ defense to challenge the Papermakers offense. Last week, defensive tackle Brigham Whitby alone had 3 tackles,2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups, 1 sack and an interception.
This is a matchup of two powerhouses — expect a battle until that clock runs out.
The 4A state title matchup will take place Saturday, December 3rd, 7:30 p.m.