It’s here. The Gridiron Classic, Week 14, the state championship is upon us.
Here’s an in-depth preview of the 1B state championship game between the Odessa Tigers and Naselle Comets:
NO. 1 ODESSA TIGERS (12-0) VS NO. 2 NASELLE COMETS (12-0)
When and where: 12 p.m. Saturday, Mount Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma
How to watch?
Naselle’s first trip to the state championship game in program history. Odessa won its first state title in 25 years last year, a team that featured several fathers of current players. A repeat title would be a program-first.
Jeff Eaton is in his 26th season at Naselle. Jeff Nelson is in his 5th year at Odessa. He has won six total state championships, five at Lacrosse-Washtucna.
Odessa: 2018, 1993, 1989. Naselle: none.
Road to the Gridiron Classic
Naselle: Beat No. 7 Quilcene 50-46 in the quarterfinals, then defeated No. 3 Almira-Coulee-Hartline 70-44 in the state semifinals.
Odessa: defeated No. 8 Selkirk in the quarterfinals 82-24, then beat No. 4 Entiat 84-20 in the semifinals.
About the Comets
Naselle’s best season since 2011 is led by a trio of standouts. Senior running back Fa’aoso Tutu’u had four touchdowns in the second half to help the Comets pull away from ACH in the semifinals, including two of more than 50 yards. Ethan Lindstrom, also a senior, is a dual threat quarterback/linebacker and one of the team’s leaders. Those are two of the team’s three seniors. And don’t count out the Strange brothers — Jimmy and Joey — complete a team with speed up and down the roster.
About the Tigers
Odessa’s season has been one of total outright dominance. The undefeated Tigers have an average margin of victory of 45 points this season, and 65 in the playoffs. That’s in part because their starters are playing more than half the game. The state’s best one-two backfield punches in reigning state player of the year Marcus King (1,548 yards, 19.1 yards per carry, 27 touchdowns) and Josh Clark (987 yards, 13 yards per carry, 25 rushing touchdowns) accounted for eight touchdowns in the semifinals. Odessa’s season has led up to this stage after returning all but three starters from a team that won the state championship by nearly 50 points a year ago.
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