Meridian vs. Cedar Park Christian, District 1 Playoffs, Nov. 3

Friday night’s surprise win over Nooksack clinched the NWC 1A #1 seed for the Mighty Trohahns, thus clarifying the rest of the season.

Meridian will host Cedar Park Christian on Nov. 3, at a site TBD, playing for the District 1 1A #1 seed into the state round of 16.

In the world of Washington 1A football, CPC made about the biggest coaching hire one could imagine by landing former Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff in January. As high school football followers may recall, Goncharoff was wildly successful at Bellevue before the program fell under scrutiny for numerous irregularities beginning in 2015. Goncharoff was “removed” from his position at Bellevue in 2016. When the hiring was announced, CPC principal/AD Todd Lundberg told the Seattle Times, “We’ll let the hiring process and fact that we came to an agreement speak for itself. We fully vetted him as a person and a coach.”

CPC currently stands at 1-4 in Cascade Conference play, and 3-5 overall. However, CPC has been improving throughout the season and growing into Goncharoff’s system.

The Eagles were 4-6 last year. Under Goncharoff they are 2-5 but have qualified for the Class 1A district playoffs thanks in part to the small number of 1A schools in the district.

With a small roster of 32 players, Goncharoff has been forced to play freshmen this season.

“I’ve never played a freshman before; that one threw me for a loop,” Goncharoff said. “That’s what we have, that’s where we’re at, and the kids are battling really hard.”

With Goncharoff, Cedar Park has become reminiscent of Bellevue. The Eagles, who wear gold instead of yellow, have the same tiered huddle formation in between plays with the quarterback’s back to the defense as he gives instruction from the sideline. Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen, whose team lost to Bellevue this season, said there were similar plays, too.

The winner of this game advances into the state playoffs on Nov. 10 or 11 against someone like Hoquiam, Forks, Castle Rock or White Salmon. This is a favorable bracket, potentially as home-team all the way to the finals.

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