This week’s game is a classic triangular conflict straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie: The Meridian Trojans vs. The Cashmere Bulldogs vs. The Stevens Pass Fightin’ Closures.
First opponent first. It’s been 29 years since Meridian and the Cashmere Bulldogs (or the “Kashmir Fightin’ Peshmergas,” their nom de guerre in the remote Washington central highlands, is also acceptable) last played, and the ‘Shmergas certainly for the rematch. To, you know, beat us again.
That last game was in 1984 Class A finals. The Kashmir beat us that day 32-7 to win the state title. They took second in 1985, lost to Ephrata in the 1988 semis, and then made the first or second round of the playoffs most years for the next decade and a half. The Peshmergas made the semis again in 2002 (Connell) and 2005 (Archbishop Murphy) before winning the whole thing again in 2008, beating Cascade Christian 10-9. Most recently, Kashmir lost to Cle Elum 48-6 in the first round last year.
After losing the non league opener to Cascade Christian 21-3, Kashmir has blown through the remainder of their schedule, save for a 30-29 win over Chelan. No one else have been closer than 24 points to them, and they finished the Caribou Trail League 7-0, 9-1 over all. In last week’s crossover/district playoff game, they crushed Medical Lake 54-14.
Unfortunately, there’s precious little press coverage coming out of the rugged Central Washington highlands this year. We were unable to raise the baksheesh necessary to purchase detailed information on Kashmir’s stats and team standouts. However, remote camera footage has lifted the veil on the generalities of Kashmir’s formational tendencies.
Kashmir’s base set is what we “Monte” in Laurelland—two close-set wings, a single fullback, and two wide split ends. They will occasionally bring the ends back in and go in tight double-wing set. The end result looks a little like Air Force or Navy’s flex bone. Apparently in years past, Kashmir did run a flex bone style triple-option offense. In 2013 at least, they are running less triple-option, but many of the other plays you’d expect from a flex bone team: jet sweep, rocket toss, power, midline, and a good helping of playaction pass. There is still some option, bootlegs, and other plays where the QB fills the role of tailback in a power run behind the fullback.
Defensively, they’re every bit as good as you’d think. Nothing flashy, just a solid team that knocks the snot out out people and doesn’t allow many points.
Allison’s play will most likely be crucial for the Bulldogs’ chances of victory in their 1A state tournament first-round game against Meridian on Saturday.
Zukowski said that the Trojans’ defensive line will be the best his team has faced all season. Meridian (7-4), which beat Charles Wright 49-0 on Saturday to clinch a state spot, uses an intricate offensive system that has produced big numbers for running back Letrez Jonez, who led the Northwest Conference with 1,929 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns.
“To say they use multiple formations is an understatement,” Zukowski said. “When I scouted them off of game film, I counted 45 offensive formations. We have four.
“They’ll try to use all of their formations to take advantage of misalignment. Our defense will have to be very savvy.”
The game will represent the first match-up between two Hall of Fame coaches; Trojans coach Bob Meridian has been at the helm for the past 40 years.
Meridian won state titles in 1999, 2003 and 2006.
“They have great tradition and a great coach,” Zukowski said. “They’re a great program through and through.”
MERIDIAN AT CASHMERE
Time: 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
Site: Cashmere High School
Trojans update: Meridian (7-4, 3-2 NWC 1A) beat Charles Wright Academy 49-0 last week the Class 1A Tri-District Tournament. Letrez Jones surpassed 200 yards rushing for the fifth week, carrying the ball 19 times for 284 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Tanner Tutterrow was extremely efficient, completing 8 of 11 passes for 119 yards. The Trojans’ defense allowed only 106 total yards of offense, including 41 rushing yards.
Bulldogs update: No. 5-ranked Cashmere (9-1, 7-0 CTL) beat Medical Lake 54-14 last week during districts. The Bulldogs have won nine straight since losing their season-opener to undefeated Cascade Christian. Cashmere is averaging 44.3 points per game and allowing 17.2 points.
Player to watch: Running back Bryce Garcia had a strong game last week, running for 53 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Key to the game: Meridian’s defense has played outstanding of late. They’ve held their last six opponents, minus Mount Baker, to 1.98 yards per carry. If the Trojans’ defense can come up big again, Meridian may leave Cashmere with a W.
Herald’s pick: Meridian 34-30
Back to the other opponent in this multilateral struggle, the Stevens Pass Fightin’ Closures. The WizzDOT has issued a winter storm warning for the passes this weekend. It’s in ALL CAPS so it must be serious.
* SOME AFFECTED LOCATIONS…LOCATIONS ABOVE 2000 FEET IN THE
NORTH CASCADES AND ABOVE 2500 FEET IN THE CENTRAL CASCADES.
THIS INCLUDES ALL OF THE HIGHWAY PASSES…SUCH AS STEVENS
PASS… SNOQUALMIE PASS AND WHITE PASS. MOUNT BAKER AND MOUNT
RAINIER ARE ALSO INCLUDED.
* TIMING…HEAVY SNOW BEGINNING LATE THIS MORNING AND ENDING EARLY
SATURDAY MORNING. HEAVIEST SNOWFALL RATES OCCUR THIS AFTERNOON
THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS…12 TO 18 INCHES IN THE PASSES AND NEAR
MOUNT BAKER. AROUND TWO FEET AT MOUNT RAINIER. SNOWFALL RATES
EXCEEDING 1 INCH PER HOUR ARE LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.
* MAIN IMPACT…TRAVEL THROUGH THE CASCADES WILL BE CHALLENGING.
Meridian will travel to Cashmere to play the Bulldogs on their home field for the first round playoff game.
Kickoff is 1:00PM at Cashmere High School.
More details and whatnot later.
When we last checked in with Chas. Wright in 2011, they were are program back on the rise after not appearing in the state playoffs since 1991. The Trojans won that game 42-27 thus knocking CWA out before the state round of 16. In 2012, CWA did make their return to the round of 16, in a close loss to Montesano 31-21 in the first round.
In 2013, Chas. Wright is 6-2 (they had a bye in late September). They lost to Cedar Park Christian 42-17 and to Cascade Christian last week, 48-14. Read more about that game from the TNT. They’ve blown out Vashon (42-21) and Chimmy (55-14), and by 7-14 points the remainder of their games.
Chas. Wright still runs a fly-sweep based offense, a look that the Trojans don’t see often. You can read more about it in the 2011 post.
However, in 2013, the Tarrier offense is more varied. Compared to 2011, they are running more formations—I, empty shotgun, pistol, full-house variations—and running more power plays between the tackles. In terms of offensive yardage, they are relatively balanced with 1400 team rushing yards and 1220 passing. But they run the ball 66% of the time. Whether in passing or rushing, the Tarriers spread the ball around quite well.
The Tarriers are led by athletic phenom Alexander Moore. Moore finished 3rd in the 1A state 100m last season, took 2nd by 1/100th of second in the 200m, and 1st in the 400m. Yeah, he’s fast, literally the fastest 1A on the Westside. In 2013, he’s the team’s leading rusher (72-563, 6TDs) and second receiver (9-209, 1TD).
MERIDIAN AT CHARLES WRIGHT ACADEMY
Time: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9
Site: Harry E. Lang Stadium
Trojans update: Meridian (5-4, 3-2 NWC 1A) lost to Mount Baker 24-17 last week, and then beat Lynden Christian 28-12 during a mini playoff. The Trojans overcame a 17-point deficit against Mount Baker, pulling even with less than 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Letrez Jones ran for a game-high 192 yards and two TDs on 31 rushes. Sam Chambers caught seven balls for 94 yards.
Tarriers update: Charles Wright (6-2, 4-1 Nisqually) lost to Cascade Christian 48-14 last week. Quarterback Henry Cheney threw for 217 yards on 14 of 24 passing, and the rushing attack managed only 127 yards on 34 carries. No Charles Wright back has more than 600 yards rushing this year, and its defense is giving up 23.9 points per game.
Player to watch: When the Trojans are at their best is when they run the ball, and Spencer Blackburn is a real difference maker along the offensive line.
Key to the game: Meridian has played particularly well its last two games. Starting fast after a long road trip to Lakewood will be very important.
Herald’s pick: Meridian 31-20
As on Friday morning, KGMI says it will be carrying the game on air and online at 7:00 kickoff.
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The Trojan path to the playoffs diverges tonight, perhaps twice.
Meridian will play either Lynden Christian or South Whidbey tonight in the district tiebreaker, starting at 6:00PM tonight at Meridian. I shall defer to NWCAthletics.com’s Ted House for all the math of the thing.
The 1A’s from the NWC also need to settle something. Mt. Baker’s finish as the 1A champ, sends them directly into the first round of the state playoffs. They will take on the #4 seed from District 4.
Second place Blaine’s next game will be in the Tri-District Tournament, against District 3′s fourth place team. A win there will send the Borderites to State. Cascade Conference 1A Champion, King’s, is also awaiting a Tri-District match-up in a winner to state game. The Knights will play the #3 team from District 3.
So, there is one spot left, and that team will advance to the Tri-District Tournament as the #4 team from District 1. That team will be either South Whidbey, Lynden Christian, or Meridian. Those three teams will play on Tuesday, at Meridian High School.
Game 1 is at 6pm, and will have South Whidbey against Lynden Christian. The winner of that, will turn around and play Meridian, as approximately 730pm. Both games will be two quarters in length, and will employ the Kansas City Tiebreaker, if teams end up tied at the end of their half-game.
Teams that do not advance to their respective 1A or 2A district tournaments, will play in a non-playoff crossover game, next weekend. Those games will be announced as soon as these events are complete.
The Falcons are running a throw-first version of the Tony Franklin type spread offense, much like Nooksack.
Between senior QB Nick French and junior Parker Collins, the Falcons have thrown for 1755 yards this season, and have the best passing attack in the Cascade Conference. Yes, that’s including King’s and Lakewood. French (112-592, 7TDs rushing) is the trigger man and makes the whole thing go. He’s accounted for 61% of South Whidbey’s total offensive attempts and 67% of their total offensive production between passing and rushing. Senior Cooper Nichols is the next guy up running the ball (71-239, 1TD). Nick Bennett (28-484, 2TDs) and Kale Reichersamer (42-476, 7TDs) are the #1 and #2 receivers in the Cascade Conference by yards.
South Whidbey is a much better team in 2013 than we might remember when we were playing them regularly. They are 5-4 playing in that tough 2A/1A combo Cascade Conference, and this their first winning record in a while. They’ve finished 4-6 in 2009-2012.
As noted above, LC & SW play at 6:00. Meridian will play the winner about 7:30. The game will be on air and online from KPUG 1170AM.
Before we get into blathering about tonight’s game, remember that Laurel is your one-stop Halloween entertainment center tonight. The Trunk or Treat starts at 6:00, meaning the kiddos can get their sucrose on while getting a prime parking spot for the game. And about that game…
Really, what amalgamates opponent and occasion better than Killdozer. Mount Baker comes to Laurel on Halloween at full throttle and blade down. The Mounties are rolling behind their typical roadgrader rushing attack, led by senior Izaiha Schwinden at 9.6 yards per carry. Schwinden has gone north of 160 yards in three games this year. If he was the only player we had to worry about, it would be horrible. Worse yet are the many other play makers on the field, Liam Short, Joey Walton, Jed Schleimer (what, really, still?) and senior QB Andrew Zender.
Critical goes to catastrophe when a running team can throw the ball when they want to, not just need to, and Zender can put the action into playaction passing.. He’s over 52% on the year, with 8TDs.
Up front, the Mountie lines are handing out treats, but the only thing coming out of their oversized Tupperware salad bowls is pain. Maybe with a little nougat, but mostly just pain.
Defensively Baker has shutdown just about everybody. In their only loss, 20-27 to Lynden, they hung tough for most of the game and didn’t really give up much.
MOUNT BAKER AT MERIDIAN
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Meridian High School
Mountaineers update: Mount Baker (7-1, 4-0 NWC 1A) displayed its many offensive weapons during a 52-19 win against Blaine last week in Deming. Big-play back Izaiha Schwinden rushed for a season-low 22 yards on 11 carries, but fellow back Liam Short made up for it, rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Andrew Zender showed off his arm, tossing touchdowns to Seth Bass, Travis Lindsay and Hunter Gates. The Mountaineers scored 49 or more points for the third straight week and can lock up an automatic state bid with a win on Thursday.
Trojans update: Meridian (5-3, 3-1 NWC 1A) bounced back from its first league loss with a 45-14 win against Lynden Christian last week in Lynden. Electric running back Letrez Jones was at it again, rushing for 221 yards and four touchdowns. It was the third time in the last four games he’s eclipsed 200 yards. The Trojans’ defense held Lynden Christian’s offense to negative 10 rush yards and only 63 total yards of offense. Meridian can earn as much as the NWC’s No. 1 or 3 seed based on how Thursday’s games pan out.
Player to watch: Short’s work at running has been somewhat overshadowed by Schwinden’s big numbers. He’s been a great compliment all season and will help tremendously against a stout Meridian defense.
Key to the game: The Trojans have given up a measly 53.3 rush yards the past three games and haven’t allowed more than 160 ground yards in a game since their season opener. Whether Meridian can slow Schwinden and Short may be the difference in the game. Mount Baker will have a tough task stopping Jones, too.
Herald’s pick: Mount Baker 31-24
The stakes tonight are real. A Baker win gives the Mounties an outright league title and a bye before going directly into the state round of 16 in two weeks. Should Meridian win and Nooksack beats Blaine, Meridian would have the outright league title and they bye. A Meridian win and Blaine win produces yet another 3-way league tie and a Saturday tiebreaker. Good times.
Kickoff is 7:00, and parking will likely be more trick than treat. For Laurel expats, the game is on air and online on KGMI 790 tonight.
One last note: the 2013 season, at its conclusion, will be Bob Ames’s 40th season in Lovely Laurel.
Before Thursday’s (Halloween) game against Mt. Baker, from 6pm-7pm (or until candy is gone), The Leadership students are putting on “Truck or Treat” for children who would like to trick or treat before the game (with a parent).
This will be at the high school, children are encouraged to dress up. Spread the word….it should be fun!
The boys came to play last night.
The Trojans have played pretty well at LC lately, and Friday’s game continued that trend. Letrez Jones unofficially had 200 yards rushing… in the first half, and finished with about 220. Bryce Garcia had another 75. On the other side, we sacked LC at least 7 times, maybe 9.
Here’s the Herald story.
With Baker pummeling Blaine last night, we once again have the possibility for a NWC 1A tie. Thus, next week’s game against Baker will be on Thursday to allow for any necessary extra fun on Saturday to settle ties. Then there’s the possibility of Tuesday crossovers, but that’s a problem for another day.
After last week’s Blaine Bummer, the Trojans get back into the NWC 1A schedule tonight at Lynden Christian.
The Lyncs are 3-4 on the season. They’ve blown out Omak (34-3) and Nooksack (43-18), won close (13-6) over Coupeville, lose close to Blaine (19-20) and been blown out by The Harbour (21-49), Anacortez (0-21) and Baker (14-49).
Lynden Christian is back to LC power football on both sides of the ball. Really, one could look at LC’s 1993 offense and their 2013 offense, and have a hard time telling between the two. And a little throwback action is a good thing for the Lyncs. Josh Friberg and Jordan Jansen are the leading rushers, typically coming at you from an I-Set. QB Lucas Roetcisoender has thrown for around 900 yards at just about 50% completion rate.
Former head coach Dan Kaemingk has returned to the team as defensive coordinator. Again, old is new and new-new is good for LC. Coach Kaemingk is a great defensive mind. They brutalized Nooksack last week, forcing 3 interceptions and keeping Tanner Myhre pretty much in check all night. Following the concussion suffered against Blaine last week, ‘Trez is questionable at best, giving the Lyncs latitude to pin back their tufted, triangular ears and come after whomever dares stand in the Trojan backfield.
The Herald previews tonight’s game thusly:
MERIDIAN AT LYNDEN CHRISTIAN
Time: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
Site: Lynden Christian
Trojans update: Meridian (4-3, 2-1 NWC 1A) suffered a 24-21 loss to Blaine last week. NWC leading rusher Letrez Jones surpassed 1,000 yards with his 166 yards and two TDs in the first half but did not play the second after suffering a concussion. Tanner Tutterrow passed for 220 yards and a TD, while the Trojans defense held Blaine to 82 yards rushing.
Lyncs update: Lynden Christian (3-4, 1-2) ended a three-game skid with a 43-18 victory over Nooksack Valley last week. Cousins Lucas and Zach Roetcisoender connected four times for 105 yards and three TDs, while Alex Vander Velden added 62 yards on four catches. Josh Friberg rushed for 75 yards and a TD, while LC’s defense forced four turnovers.
Player to watch: Meridian’s Sam Chambers caught four passes for a season-high 97 yards and a TD last week. He’s second on the team with 269 yards receiving this year.
Key to the game: Assuming Jones can go, the Lyncs must find a way to limit the 10.0 yards per carry he’s averaged this year. The Lyncs have allowed 5.8 yards per carry so far this year.
Herald’s pick: Meridian 42-17
Another absolutely ideal night for high school football: Clear, cool and crisp. It’s tough to imagine much better weather for Friday Night Lights. Kickoff is at 7:00.
The Herald previews tonight game
thusly— Strike that, there’s no preview available online as of Friday afternoon.
Thanks to Norm Smith, who will be handling game updates tonight. Go Trojans
— MeridianFootball.com (@meridianfb) October 18, 2013