WIAA Class 3A state football championship game preview: Does Eastside Catholic bounce back in much-awaited, higher stakes rematch?

Here’s a breakdown of this weekend’s 2019 WIAA Class 3A football championship matchup:

NO. 2 EASTSIDE CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (11-1) VS. NO. 1 O’DEA FIGHTING IRISH (12-0)

When/Where?

12 p.m. Saturday at Sparks Stadium, Puyallup

How to tune in

Televised on ROOT Sports Northwest; Radio broadcast at Sports Radio KJR; Follow for live updates on the Scorebook Live app

Game nugget

The game that’s been long in the making. O’Dea thumped Eastside Catholic, possibly the most talented team in state history, on the road in Week 6. Rematch of last year’s state title game, which the Crusaders won 31-13.

Coaches

Dominic Daste, Eastside Catholic football
Eastside Catholic first-year coach Dominic Daste

Eastside Catholic’s Dominic Daste is in his first year as head coach after several as a coordinator (11-1). In his 35th season at O’Dea Monte Kohler is the winningest active head coach in state (347-55).

Road to the Gridiron Classic

Eastside Catholic: defeated No. 15 Squalicum in the first round, 55-14, No. 7 Bellevue in the quarterfinals 50-21, No. 3 Lincoln in the state semifinals, 34-21. O’Dea: defeated No. 16 Kelso 35-0, No. 8 Mt. Spokane 10-3 in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Kennewick 29-7 in the state semifinals.

About the Crusaders

Vince Miller photo

There’s a chance you’re watching several future NFL players suit up for this Crusader team. But a roster with talent that rivals some of the state’s best-ever teams was thumped at home in Week 6 by this O’Dea team, which makes a rematch in the title ever the more intriguing. Outside of that game, Eastside Catholic has pretty much rolled through the rest of its schedule. The Crusaders are scoring more than 46 points per game on average, and beat a top-to-bottom talented No. 3 Lincoln by a convincing two touchdowns last week, highlighted by a strong outing from first-year starting QB Kobe Muasau, who has almost 3,000 yards passing, a 66.5 completion percentage and 31 touchdowns opposite eight picks passing to soon-to-be power-five college targets in Ohio State commit Gee Scott Jr., four-star tight end DJ Rogers, among others. 

About the Fighting Irish

Vince Miller photo

One standout running back went down, and another stepped up. When 1,300-plus yard rusher Cameron Daniels went down with an injury, junior K’Son Mika responded with 211 yards and three touchdowns on the ground against Lincoln last week, his third 100-plus yard game in a row — all in the postseason. That’s O’Dea in a nutshell. The Fighting Irish are deep and make few mistakes. Expect them to try to control the game and keep the ball out of Eastside Catholic’s stars, just like it did in Week 6. A boa-like scoring drive took nearly the entire third quarter. Defense is what has powered O’Dea throughout the playoffs. It’s given up 10 points in three games, holding an all-state worthy running back in Mt. Spokane’s Kannon Katzer under 100 yards and out of the end zone and keeping a Kennewick offense that has put up a lot of points this season — and postseason — at bay. 

Scorebook Live WA pick

Eastside Catholic, 28-21.

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