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Championship week predictions and polls | Prep football

Will the Wolverines claim yet another 3A state football championship on Friday against O
Will the Wolverines claim yet another 3A state football championship on Friday against O'Dea?
— image credit: Chad Coleman, Bellevue Reporter

Skyline vs. Skyview

Kevin - Skyview is the real deal. I know I picked Issaquah to beat them back in the state-qualifying round. They proved me wrong — soundly! Running back Parker Henry is a load. He looks much larger than his listed 6-foot, 205-pounds and is an obvious talent with 2,165 rushing yards and 31 TDs. Quarterback Kieran McDonagh is also getting Division I looks. He's accurate and mobile, throwing for more than 2,600 yards, 24 TDs and four INTs. The Storm are also BIG on the line, averaging 280 pounds across the front. Skyline is peaking behind quarterback Max Browne's breakout season (3,813 yards, 43 TDs, 5 INTs), the rise of running back Damien Greene, and a much improved defense. I have a feeling it will be a real shootout at the Tacoma Dome Saturday night. It's cliche, but the team who limits its mistakes will come out on top.

Pick: Skyline 32-29

Josh – Not unlike my counterpart, I made the ridiculous pick of Issaquah over Skyview in the district playoffs. Of all the selections I made this year, that one is by far the most embarrassing. The Storm is without a doubt one of the real powerhouse teams we have in Washington prep football this year. As Kevin alluded to they have a sizable front on both sides of the ball and an absolute stud in Parker Henry. The Spartans have had well documented troubles against both top-tier backs as well as polished ground attacks, of which Skyview has both. There is no doubt Skyline has the edge in terms of experience, but something keeps pulling at me, telling me not to get burned by the underrated and almost forgotten team in the Storm. I respect Skyline’s football program and believe it is truly one of a handful in the state that represents for Washington on a regional and national level. But I’m going the other way in this one.

Pick: Skyview 28-26

Bellevue vs. O'Dea

Kevin - I've seen both these teams in person and let's just say, one is slightly more impressive than the other. Hint: That team is ranked No. 12 in the nation by USA Today. Give O'Dea (13-0) its due credit, it's never easy to be undefeated at this point in the season. That said, four of the Irish wins were by three points or less — two of those by one point. I watched Eastside Catholic fall just shy of an upset, throwing a late-game interception in O'Dea territory. Bellevue, on the other hand, has been dominant from start to finish. The Wolverines' defense has only become more stingy as its progressed into the postseason, and their offense is simply a machine. Thirteen different Bellevue players have scored offensive touchdowns out of their proficient Wing-T formation. Obviously, the games are played for a reason. But don't look for any surprises.

Pick: Bellevue 35-7

Josh – The only chance I’ve had to see the Irish was on the webcast of last week’s semi-final win over Camas. It was hard to get an accurate read seeing as the video was so grainy, I didn't know Pierre Le Dorze’s touchdown pass was a tipped ball intended for another receiver until I read the game story later that night. All of that being said, history tells us the Irish have the system, coaching staff and attitude to give Bellevue a game. I don’t know of a more disciplined team (other than the Wolverines) than O’Dea. There are few teams with the girth up front and the athletes at the skills spots to matchup with the Wolverines, but there is no doubt the Irish are one of them. And there are only a couple coaches who have the big-game experience, winning pedigree and scheme to keep the game within reach and that list surely includes Monte Kohler. O’Dea was the last team to beat Bellevue in the playoffs, 21-17 in the 2007 semi-finals. They gave them their second closest decision in a 17-12 Wolverines’ win back in 2002. The 21-7 Bellevue win in the 2003 title game included a devastating dislocated elbow to Fighting Irish superstar Chancellor Young early on that sapped the zeal from O’Dea straightaway. At this point, it probably sounds like I’m inventing reasons that this game will be close. That’s because I am. Obviously what happened in 2003 or 2007 has nothing to do with the kids playing the game in 2011, but it’s just more fun to imagine this game being a one-point thriller than another clinical dismantling of an over-matched foe. The Wolverines are going to do what they do on both sides of the ball and special teams and there is little (at least from this year’s results) to suggest O’Dea can stop them. Look for at least one big return from Budda Baker, possibly to swing momentum after an Irish score. I also expect Tyler Hasty to rebound after the turnovers last week and finish his prep career with an inspired performance against his former teammates. And I expect Bellevue to hoist another trophy.

Pick: Bellevue 31-14

Archbishop Murphy vs. Lynden

Kevin - This is a very intriguing game. Lynden has rolled over the competition on its way to a undefeated season. Archbishop Murphy had one hiccup earlier this season, but they are on a tear of late. The Wildcats dominated three of the top ranked 2A teams — Tumwater, Othello and Prosser — by a combined score of 125-20. The Lions have the advantage of playing in the Tacoma Dome last week, while Archbishop Murphy was playing outdoors in the cold of eastern Washington. I don't think that will matter with all the chips on the table, however. Look for plenty of fireworks Saturday morning.

Pick: Lynden 38-35

Josh – I got an up close and personal look at the Lions in the quarterfinals against Interlake and came away impressed. They use two athletic quarterbacks that can throw just enough and have a bevy of talented skill guys to go with a hard-nosed identity on both offense and defense. As Kevin said, Murphy lost only once this year and that was the homecoming game for a conference rival that had the Wildcats circled since spring football began. When it’s all said and done, this might be the best title game played in 2011.

Pick: Archbishop Murphy 40-35

OTHER GAMES

Cascade Christian vs. Connell

Kevin - Connell 35-28

Josh – Cascade Christian 44-40

Morton/White Pass vs. Waitsburg/Prescot

Kevin - Morton/White Pass 28-21

Josh – Waitsburg/Prescot 35-20

Almira/Coulee/Hartline vs. Neah Bay

Kevin - Almira/Coulee/Hartline 48-32

Josh – Neah Bay 24-20

Week 13 results

Kevin: 4-2

Josh: 5-1

Readers: 5-1

Season totals

Kevin: 118-32

Josh: 114-37

Readers: 121-29

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