A decade has passed since Pomeroy was relevant in the Class 1B playoff conversation. The Pirates won two playoff games in 2011, advancing to the state semifinals that season.
Since, Pomeroy is 0-2 in the postseason – and before this fall, its best finish overall in a season is 6-5.
But all of a sudden, Pomeroy has found the key.
“The last two years, we finally got old and got good,” Pomeroy coach Kyle Kimble said.
The Pirates went 4-1 during the Covid-19-shortened spring season. They are 10-0 this fall as they prepare for a Saturday afternoon quarterfinal game against Naselle.
“I think our game, of all of them, will be the best matchup,” Kimble said. “We’re such similar teams.”
The Comets boast a lot of team speed. While not the biggest up front, they are fundamentally sound. Kimble expects Naselle to do some things “to give us problems.”
Recent history, the Pomeroy coach believes, will aid in the effort.
Almost immediately upon arriving six years ago, Kimble instituted a junior football program.
“The kids that were sixth graders when we started that are now sophomores,” Kimble said. “That’s really why we are starting to see success. Our high school and junior high coaches help out with those kids, so they are listening to the same voices from the second grade to the 12th grade.”
It also helps, Kimble said, that he’s got “dudes.” And those may continue to come with the feeder program in place – including two current fifth graders, Kimble’s own son and another assistant coach’s son.
Which bodes for the future, and the possible sustained success rather than a short-term spike.
SBLive Washington podcast: What we learned in the first round
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Editor’s note: Here’s a game-by-game breakdown, including top individual performers, outlook and score prediction, of this weekend’s 2021 WIAA Class 1B football quarterfinal matchups.
NO. 11 WINLOCK CARDINALS (9-1) at NO. 3 QUILCENE RANGERS (8-1)
3 p.m. Saturday at Sammamish High School
Statistical leaders: For Winlock – QB Neal Patching (33-64, 819 yards, 11 TDs; 116 carries, 1,242 yards, 18 TDs), RB Nolan Swofford (146 carries, 1,610 yards, 28 TDs), WR Collin Regalado (15 catches, 452 yards, four TDs). For Quilcene – QB Nathan Kieffer (32-69, 608 yards, eight TDs), RB Kevin Alejo (100 carries, 866 yards, 12 TDs), WR Deakon Budnek (7 catches, 189 yards, three TDs).
What to watch for: The Cardinals went to the air in the first round, getting five touchdown passes from QB Neal Patching to outlast DeSales, 64-60. But can Winlock keep it up against a Rangers’ team that hasn’t allowed more than 38 points all season, and can control the clock with RB Bishop Budnek and Kevin Alejo?
Pick: Quilcene, 46-40.
NO. 7 LIBERTY BELL MOUNTAIN LIONS (9-1) at NO. 2 ODESSA TIGERS (9-1)
3 p.m. Saturday at Lions Field, Moses Lake
Statistical leaders: For Liberty Bell (thru nine games) – QB Riley Lidey (63-98, 1,071 yards, 12 TDs), RB Lucien Paz (92 carries, 1,101 yards, 10 TDs), WR Sawyer Crandall (27 catches, 476 yards, six TDs). For Odessa – QB Collin Martin (37-50, 790 yards, nine TDs), RB Davey McMillan (113 carries, 1,342 yards, 18 TDs), WR Daeton Deife (13 catches, 349 yards, two TDs).
What to watch for: The two-time defending champion Tigers remain on a collision course with No.1 Almira/Coulee-Hartline, which snapped the Tigers’ 37-game winning streak back in early October (50-20 ACH win). Odessa wants to make sure and continue along that path to more important games in December.
Pick: Odessa, 62-44.
NO. 5 NASELLE COMETS (8-1) at NO. 4 POMEROY PIRATES (10-0)
1 p.m. Saturday, at Lybecker Field, Pomeroy
Statistical leaders: For Naselle – QB Jacob Lindstrom (36-54, 606 yards, 11 TDs), RB Kolten Lindstrom (66 carries, 1,505 yards, 21 TDs), WR Jason Harmon (11 catches, 203 yards, three TDs; 54 carries, 724 yards, 11 TDs). For Pomeroy – QB Trent Gwinn (30-41, 611 yards, 15 TDs), RB Trent Gwinn (83 carries, 1,419 yards, 28 TDs), WR Trevin Kimble (14 catches, 300 yards, seven TDs).
What to watch for: The Pirates have rolled through 10 games, allowing no more than 12 points in any win but one all season while scoring points at a prolific rate. Pomeroy’s closest margin came in Week 7, a 32-point win over DeSales. And dual-threat QB Trent Gwinn is one of the best players in the classification.
Pick: Pomeroy, 74-32.
NO. 8 WILBUR-CRESTON-KELLER WILDCATS (8-1) at NO. 1 ALMIRA/COULEE-HARTLINE WARRIORS (9-0)
Noon Saturday at Lions Field, Moses Lake
Statistical leaders: For Wilbur-Creston-Keller – QB Dru Becker (25-49, 579 yards, 10 TDs), RB Preston Michel (93 carries, 1,162 yards, 20 TDs), WR Preston Michel (12 catches, 262 yards, six TDs). For Almira/Coulee-Hartline – QB Dane Isaak (10-23, 271 yards, seven TDs; 39 carries, 658 yards, 12 TDs), RB Carter Pitts (69 carries, 713 yards, 13 TDs), WR Neil Bowechop (14 catches, 240 yards, five TDs).
What to watch for: RB Carter Pitts leads a balanced running attack for the top-seeded Warriors, who have five backs with more than 100 yards rushing – and four with 491 or more. And their active, physical defensive front, led by DEs Reece Isaak and Cooper Corriea, will get after Wildcats QB Dru Becker.
Pick: ACH, 60-32.
(Photo by Teresa Bingman)