WHATCOM — Football postseason matchups are all set and in full swing, with Class 3A Ferndale and Squalicum already a week into their district crossover matches. Class 1A football kicks off tonight with Meridian vs. Granite Falls in a district play-in game. The rest of Class 1A and 2A matchups are slated for this Friday as teams battle for state berths.
Here is a look at each matchup for Whatcom County teams.
1A district playoffs: Meridian needs two-straight wins and Lynden Christian and Mount Baker need just one to move onto the state playoff round. Provided that happens, the winners will be seeded 1-16 for the state playoffs by Football Seeding Committee.
Meridian (2-7) at Granite Falls (3-6) at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday
It’s been an uncharacteristically down year for the Trojans, who are just two seasons removed from a state title appearance. Part of that can be contributed to the Trojans playing the toughest non-league schedule of 1A Northwest Conference teams, a run that included defending 1A champ Colville, ninth-ranked Class 2A Sedro-Woolley, and big-bodied California powerhouse Amador.
Now Meridian gets one of its easiest opponents of the year, at least on paper, in the Tigers of the North Sound Conference.The Tigers are led by sophomore QB Ryan Gese, who scored TDs in six consecutive games before getting shut out by Friday Harbor last week.
The Trojans should easily handle Granite Falls, as the Tigers were blown out by Nooksack Valley 42-0 in week two, a league rival Meridian defeated 34-28 and 27-18 this season.
A win would pit Meridian against North Sound champion King’s (4-5).
Cedar Park Christian Bothell (7-2) at Lynden Christian (7-1) at 7 p.m., Friday
After getting the NWC’s No. 2 seed, the Lyncs take on North Sound’s No. 2 seed.
The two teams have no common opponents, but the Eagles were crushed 52-6 by King’s, a team Nooksack Valley toppled 28-21 on Oct. 18. The Lyncs cruised past the Pioneers 33-0 and 34-6 in the regular season.
So what looks like an even matchup could end up being a decisive victory for the Lyncs. The Eagles offense is capable of putting up big numbers, averaging 34.7 points per game while allowing 17 a match.
LC averages 31 points per game and has allowed an average of just 7.4. And they’re on a roll defensively, allowing just 14 total points their last three games.
Mount Baker (8-1) vs. South Whidbey (6-3) at 7 p.m., Friday, at Sedro-Woolley HS
The Mounties garnered the top 1A NWC seed with a 27-0 shutout of Nooksack Valley last week. Now, they’ll get the North Sound’s three seed in South Whidbey, a team that lost to King’s, a squad that lost to Nooksack Valley. Baker had no trouble with the Pioneers in both their matchups this season, and should see similar results against the Falcons.
Baker is averaging 30.4 points per game and is allowing 11.4 a game. The Mounties advanced to the state quarterfinals last year before losing 55-6 to Royal.
2A district playoffs: Fourth-ranked Lynden got an extra week of rest with a first-round bye, while Sehome moved on to the winner-to-state round with a 20-14 victory against Burlington-Edison last week. Blaine was eliminated in the opening round with a 57-6 defeat at the hands of Liberty. Now the two remaining NWC teams face each other in an all-or-nothing battle.
Sehome (7-2) vs. No. 4 Lynden (6-2) at 4:30 p.m., Friday, at Civic Field
Lynden is the home team here, but with dire field conditions at Rollie DeKoster Field this game will take place on Sehome’s home turf at Civic.
The Mariners are on a six-game win streak, that includes a forfeit from Bellingham, since narrowly losing to Centralia 21-20 at home on Sept. 21.
The Lions are coming off a bye-week that followed a 34-7 win over Blaine in the regular-season finale. The week before that the Lions were upset by ninth-ranked Sedro-Woolley. The last time Lynden lost before that they reeled off five-straight wins, and they’re hoping they can replicate that again.
The winner will advance to the state playoffs and be seeded 1-16 for the opening round Nov. 15-16.
3A district crossover playoffs: Ferndale and Squalicum each won their district crossover openers last week and now head into loser-out, winner-to-state matchups.
Ferndale (5-4) at No. 1 O’Dea (8-0) at 5 p.m., Friday, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle
The Golden Eagles’ reward for trouncing Shorecrest 38-13 in the first week of crossover action is a loser-out, winner-to-state game against the top-ranked 3A squad in the state.
Ferndale, which has scored at least 38 points in five of their nine games, will need a massive offensive outburst or a defensive miracle to topple O’Dea. The Fighting Irish has wins over three ranked teams, and it will take a massive effort for the Golden Eagles to pull off the upset here.
Juanita (2-7) at Squalicum (7-2) at 7 p.m., Friday, at Civic Field
Squalicum got a much easier draw than Ferndale, pulling a two-win Juanita team that started the season with five-straight losses.
The Storm will ride the legs of sophomore standout Ben Schlenbaker, the county’s leading rusher. Schlenbaker has unleashed an absurd 1,825 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on 199 carries, according to whatcompreps.com.
The high-powered Storm offense, that have put up at least 30 points in six of their nine games, should have no trouble handling Juanita, a team that has been held to single-digit scoring five times and who’s highest-scoring game is 21 points.