WALLA WALLA — The Bees will be buzzing this weekend as the Washington state prep football playoffs pick up steam.
Blue Mountain Country has three teams still in contention for a coveted state championship: Waitsburg-Prescott and DeSales in the Class 2B bracket and Touchet in the Class 1B eight-man division.
DeSales and Touchet are slated for Friday games while Waitsburg-Prescott takes the field Saturday.
The Irish appear to have drawn the toughest assignment as they travel to Ritzville to face the defending state champion Lind-Ritzville Broncos Friday night at 7. The Broncos, ranked No. 2 in the most recent Washington Class 2B prep state poll, won the Northeast 2B District championship with a 6-0 record and take a 10-0 overall mark into Friday’s game.
DeSales improved its record to 6-3 last Friday with a 42-41 District 7/9 crossover victory over Davenport at Ty Baffney Field. By comparison, Lind-Ritzville defeated Davenport 42-8 when those teams met in a league game Oct. 18 in Ritzville.
“The goal, once you get to the playoffs, is always to play the best teams,” Irish coach Mike Spiess said. “And we are going to get to do that right away.
“They’ve won 21 games in a row and there’s no question they are the best team on this side of the state. So we are going to find out how good we are right away, which is just fine.”
DeSales lost to Lind-Ritzville 21-14 in last year’s state quarterfinals.
“And we were ahead of them in that game,” Spiess said. “I think we might be the only team to have a lead on them in the last two years.”
Touchet entertains Odessa-Harrington Friday afternoon at 2 in a game that will be a rematch of the teams’ season opener, also contested in Touchet. The Indians prevailed 46-28.
The Indians went on to post a 9-1 season record and are ranked No. 2 in the most recent Washington Class 1B state poll. Odessa-Harrington will take a 5-5 season record into Friday’s contest after finishing second in the Northeast 1B League’s South Division with a 5-1 record.
“From an advantage/disadvantage standpoint, I don’t think it will be either beneficial or a detriment to either group,” Touchet coach Gary Dorman said of the rematch. “That was our first game of the year, and everybody, hopefully, has improved and changed and added things since then.
“Maybe it’s age, but I don’t remember all that much about the game,” Dorman added. “Maybe the kids do more than I.”
Dorman and his assistant coaches did scout O-H last weekend in its 50-26 Northeast 1B League divisional crossover loss to Cusick.
“They have had some injuries over the course of the year and lost a couple of starters,” Dorman said. “But they are one fast group of kids. You can’t key on any one guy because they spread things around, but as you might expect their quarterback is the most important part of their offense.”
Waitsburg-Prescott will be the home team as well Saturday, although W-P’s 4 p.m. game Saturday against Adna will be played at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
“We love Edgar Brown Stadium,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. “We have played their many times, and it’s nice to know you are going to be playing on a dry field in a good climate usually.
“We’d love to be able to play in Waitsburg,” Bartlow added. “But our stadium is not approved.”
Waitsburg-Prescott is the No. 1 seed out of the Southeast 2B League and takes a 7-2 overall record into Saturday’s game. Adna is 7-3 on the year and finished fourth in the Central 2B League with a 5-3 record.
The Pirates began the season on a three-game losing streak, Bartlow noted, then scrapped their new spread offense and returned to their traditional wishbone attack.
“They’ve won seven straight games since,” the W-P coach said. “They are a quality opponent.
“Adna won a state championship just a few years before we did (in 2011),” Bartlow added. “Their coach has quite a tradition going over there. This is going to be a battle between two teams that have won a lot of football games in the last few years.
“But we are happy with the draw. We are happy with the position we are in.”