La Center, Washougal, and Skyview play opening round games
A final three for Clark County high school football.
The state playoffs begin tonight for some teams, while others will wait to play on Saturday.
And for the first time since 2010, there are only three teams from Clark County in the opening rounds of state.
La Center, the Trico League champion, has the only “home” game in the first round. The Wildcats received the No. 6 seed from the WIAA’s seeding committee. La Center will take on No. 11 Cashmere at 5 p.m. Friday at Woodland High School.
Washougal, the 2A Greater St. Helens League champion, just missed out on a home state playoff game. The Panthers got a 9-seed and will travel to take on No. 8 Highline at 7 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the 2A bracket.
Skyview, the second-place finisher in the 4A Greater St. Helens League, was the lone survivor from the league in the Week 10 state preliminary round playoffs. The Storm received an 11-seed and will travel to face defending state champion and No. 6 Graham-Kapowsin on Saturday. Kickoff for that game is 4 p.m. at Art Crate Stadium in Spanaway.
The way the brackets are set up, this will be La Center’s last home game in the region regardless of the results. Skyview, even if it advances in the 4A bracket, will not have a home game. Seeding is not a factor in determining home-field advantage after the first round. It’s just the bottom team in the bracket. (To be fair, the top four seeds are placed on the bottom and are assured of home games the first two weeks should they win the first game. But, for example, if a 16-seed were to stun a No. 1 seed in the opener, the 16-seed takes over the bracket and would get a home game in the second round.)
If Washougal were to blow past seeding expectations and win two games in the state playoffs, the Class 2A semifinal would be played in a Southwest Washington stadium. So a “close-to-home” scenario.
Of course, no one from Washougal is worried about a possible Week 13 matchup when it is win-or-done in Week 11.
For this week, though, there is only one “home” game for Clark County football fans. Gotta head to Woodland to see La Center’s game on Friday. Another reminder: That’s a 5 p.m. kickoff.
No. 9 Washougal (9-1) at No. 8 Highline (9-1), 7 p.m. at Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien
The Panthers survived the Week 10 district playoff game. And survived is the right word. Washougal scored late for a 38-34 victory. It is possible that the close score led to Washougal getting a 9-seed instead of an 8- or even 7-seed. Still, these are two 9-1 teams, getting the 8-9 designation. That tells you just how good that Class 2A is this year. … This will be a special week for Highline regardless of the result. This is the football program’s second appearance in the state playoffs, and the first home game. … This is Washougal’s second state playoff appearance in the past three non-Covid seasons. The Panthers reached the quarterfinals in the fall of 2019. Before then, gotta go back to 1999 the last time Washougal made it to state. And in 1974, the Panthers reached the semifinals.
No. 11 Cashmere (8-2) vs. No. 6 La Center (9-1), 5 p.m. at Woodland High School
It seems like years ago when La Center blew a decent lead in a non-league Week 1 game. Since then, the Wildcats have only played one close game. (And that was an epic comeback for the ages to beat Mount Baker, a 10-seed in these playoffs.) La Center scored 63 points in its win over Hoquiam in the district playoffs last week. Cashmere finished second in its league and advanced to state with a 12-6 win over Colville last week. … Cashmere has a long, rich football history. This is the program’s 30th appearance in the state playoffs dating back to 1973, the first year that the WIAA held football playoffs. Cashmere has won two state championships. … This is La Center’s 14th appearance at state, all with longtime coach John Lambert. The Wildcats reached the semifinals in 2017 and in 2003.
Class 4ANo. 11 Skyview (8-2) vs. No. 6 Graham-Kapowsin (8-2), 4 p.m. at Art Crate Stadium in Burien
A year ago, just about everyone knew Graham Kapowsin was going to win the state championship. That team was that loaded. Its closest game in the state playoffs was a 16-point win. This year? The 4A is wide open. Could G-K win it again? Sure. But could Skyview win this game and go on a run? Why not? The Storm believe they are one of the best teams in the state. They had a three-point loss to Jesuit, a traditional Oregon power, and then outplayed Camas for most of the game only to lose in the final seconds. The Storm feel they are that close to an undefeated season and what would have likely been a top-four seed. … Graham-Kapowsin has been around less than 20 years but already has a strong football history. This is the program’s ninth state playoff appearance. As noted, G-K won the state championship last year. … This is Skyview’s 13th appearance at state. The Storm finished second in 2011 and has reached the semifinals two other times.
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