Four weeks into the regulation season, the playoff status of area Class 1B football teams remains uncertain.
The Coastal League disbanded last December, leaving all Southwest Washington 8-man teams as independent entities.
District IV has been allotted only one Class 1B state berth, but will probably have two teams playoff-eligible in crossover games with the combined districts I-II-III. The top-seeded team will likely host a state-qualifying game, with the second seed traveling north to probably face the likes of Neah Bay or Lummi.
The seeding process is still undetermined, but will probably involve some type of district playoff to determine two berths. District IV administrator Rich Frazer said he will probably announce a format late this month.
“I’ll get the comparative schedules and comparative scores and set up a format for a district tournament,” Frazer said Friday.
One rumor, that area 8-man teams needed to schedule a minimum of eight games to be playoff-eligible, is unfounded. Among area teams, only Wishkah and possibly Oakville would have met that standard.
“We were all told that there is not an issue with not having enough games,” Lake Quinault athletic director Keith Samplawski said.
Greater St. Helens to open
While most Southwest Washington leagues have been in session for two weeks, Aberdeen will not launch its Greater St. Helens 2A League campaign until Friday.
In their second season as a Greater St. Helens football-only member, the Bobcats have an unusual league schedule. They’ll host both Longview schools (Mark Morris and R.A. Long) on consecutive weeks, then face two long road trips to Washougal and Hockinson before concluding league play at home against Ridgefield on Nov. 1.
Non-league results have done little to establish a league favorite. Four teams — Mark Morris, R.A. Long, Hockinson and Washougal — are no worse than 3-1 thus far. Aberdeen is 2-2, but lost a thriller to Montesano and outgained Black Hills in Friday’s 27 defeat.
The latter contest included a spectacular defensive performance by Aberdeen senior lineman Chase Johnson, who probably had a hand in at least a dozen tackles and forced a fumble. Johnson also drew, according to Aberdeen coach Terry Dion, a few Black Hills holding penalties.
Bobcat sophomore Joel Dublanko, usually a running back, was forced to step in at quarterback when starter Veek Cheema, afflicted with the flu, also sustained a leg injury on Aberdeen’s final drive. Dublanko completed 5-of-6 passes, including a 26-yard scoring strike to Lorenzo Ontiveros, on the Cats’ final drive.
Aberdeen receiver Deon Schlesser caught six passes from Cheema and Dublanko for 37 yards on that march.
In terms of player identification, Black Hills could have been mistaken for a participant in a witness protection program.
Not only did the Wolves wear white jerseys with silver numerals that were almost indistinguishable from a distance, but they neglected to provide a roster for inclusion in the game program.
Grays Harbor Radio play-by-play broadcaster Ian Cope, after several calls to the Tumwater school, was able to secure a copy of the Black Hills roster, which he generously shared with the public address announcer and Daily World representatives.
If you believe the 2-point conversion is a luxury in football, talk to Lake Quinault head coach Darwin Sharrah. Following Saturday’s 42-38 loss to Mary M. Knight, the Elks were 1-for-6 on 2-point tries and that became the difference between a comeback victory and a just-short loss. The Owls were 3-for-6 in conversions, with both teams scoring six touchdowns. In eight-man football, the 2-point conversion play is commonplace, especially with the shortage of kickers in the format. Also, the vast open field gives 8-man teams a better chance at converting. When a game is decided by less than a touchdown, the 2point conversion rate becomes one of the biggest stats on the field. … Speaking of 2-point conversions, Forks was unable to convert its try in the third overtime period in a 21-20 loss to Tenino on Friday night. The Beavers tied the game late with a 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback Calvin Guzman, who scored all three of their touchdowns (126 yards rushing, 125 yards passing for the QB). Guzman notched a 10-yard touchdown run in the third overtime and Tenino kicked the extra-point try. Forks answered with its own touchdown, but tried to win the game on a 2-point try and came up short. … Elma quarterback Ryan Collin could have had a perfect night behind center on Friday night. The Eagles routed Rainier, with the senior quarterback finishing his night 15-of-18 attempts for 260 yards and two touchdowns. His three misses? One was an interception and two were bad throws, according to Elma head coach Jim Hill.