There are seven undefeated teams entering the first round of the 1A playoffs, which spells a bracket filled with competition and parity. Or so it seems.
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of this weekend’s 2019 WIAA Class 1A football round of 16 playoff matchups.
NO. 16 CHARLES WRIGHT TARRIERS (9-1) AT NO. 1 ROYAL KNIGHTS (10-0)
Friday, time and place TBA
What to watch for: There hasn’t been a doubt who the top team in 1A is all season. The Wiley Allred-led Knights, who lost to Colville in the semifinals last year, haven’t been threatened by a 1A team this season, and even beat two 2A playoff teams as well. Charles Wright, the No. 2 Nisqually League team, will have its hands full.
Pick: Royal, 51-7
NO. 9 COLVILLE INDIANS (7-2) AT NO. 8 OMAK PIONEERS (9-0)
1 p.m. Saturday, at Omak High School, Omak
What to watch for: The defending 1A state champ Colville took a pair of slim losses, but made it out of the vaunted Northeast 1A League. Its size — highlighted by 6-5, 290-pound lineman Jory Dotts — will be an asset against an undefeated Omak that ran through the Caribou Trail League.
Pick: Colville, 21-17.
NO. 13 CONNELL EAGLES (7-3) AT NO. 4 LA CENTER WILDCATS (9-0)
Friday, 7 p.m. at La Center High School, La Center
What to watch for: It’s not often these days La Center misses the playoffs, but after doing just that in 2018, the undefeated Wildcats are led by Trico League MVP QB Tom Lambert, and must first get past the 1A South Central No. 2 team Connell.
Pick: La Center, 41-21.
NO. 12 HOQUIAM GRIZZLIES (7-3) AT NO. 5 MOUNT BAKER MOUNTAINEERS (9-1)
2 p.m. Saturday, Civic Stadium, Bellingham
What to watch for: After beating 2A 2-seed Lynden in the season opener, the hard-nosed Mountaineers have put together an impressive season with running back Jason Lee and all-state tight end Maylon Kentner leading the way. If there’s a year for Mount Baker to make a deep run, this is it.
Pick: Mount Baker, 42-12.
NO. 15 CASHMERE BULLDOGS (6-3) AT NO. 2 LA SALLE LIGHTNING (10-0)
Friday, time and place TBA
What to watch for: La Salle has played like a team that doesn’t want a first round playoff exit like last year. Led by the dynamic Kershaw brothers — quarterback Kieran Kershaw and wideout Ryan Kershaw — the Lightning’s impressive track record should stay in tact against a Cashmere team that has closed out a lot of close games.
Pick: La Salle, 38-14.
NO. 10 CASCADE CHRISTIAN COUGARS (8-0) AT NO. 7 LYNDEN CHRISTIAN LYNCS (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday, at Civic Stadium, Bellingham
What to watch for: Parker Johnson was hurt for last year’s playoff opener against Lynden Christian, and it hurt the Cougars. Back with a vengeance, an undefeated record and top-tier targets in the Zetterberg brothers, is that enough to upend a Lynden Christian team helmed by quarterback Trajan Schouten?
Pick: Lynden Christian, 31-24.
NO. 14 MERIDIAN TROJANS (4-7) AT NO. 3 MONTESANO BULLDOGS (10-0)
6 p.m. Saturday, at Montesano High School, Montesano
What to watch for: Most of Montesano’s starting lineup was a part of its first round exit last year. You bet those Bulldogs, who won the 1A Evergreen League handily will relish its high seed. Seven-loss Meridian has has seen its ups and downs, but played its way into the playoffs with a strong showing scoring 105 points in two games in its districts.
Pick: Montesano, 31-20.
NO. 11 ZILLAH LEOPARDS (8-1) AT NO. 6 DEER PARK STAGS (8-0)
6 p.m. Friday, at Deer Park High School, Deer Park
What to watch for: Outside of a lopsided loss to 2-seed La Salle, Clay Delp, Wes Avila has helped Zillah up a lot of points this season. But it faces a tall task in undefeated Deer Park, which escaped a tough 1A Northeast League and has wins over both teams in last year’s 1A state championship.
Pick: Deer Park, 27-21.