SPORTS: Area 1B football coaches pick Neah Bay to beat Lummi

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

Neah Bay and Lummi left a path of destruction on their respective journeys to Saturday’s state semifinal matchup at the Tacoma Dome.

The game starts at 4 p.m.

Many teams have huge scars in their season records that were the result of playing the Blackhawks and Red Devils.

Some of those teams had the misfortune of playing both 1B powerhouses in 2012.

Considering the coaches of those teams have a first-hand witness of the strengths of the two most recent state champions (Neah Bay in 2011, Lummi in 2010 and 2009), who do they give the advantage to in the semifinals?

Darrell Yount,

■ Losses: 58-6 to Lummi; 96-12 to Neah Bay.

■ Analysis: Yount broke down the matchup position by position.

Offensively, he said the teams are fairly equal.

He said Josiah Greene gives Neah Bay a slight advantage at quarterback over Lummi’s Jared Tom.

“Both quarterbacks have a keen understanding of their offenses, both quick and agile, both great runners and both quarterbacks are effective passers,” Yount said.

“But I give the edge to Greene. [He] throws a better ball, keeps eyes downfield even while on the move. Has the ability to make something big out of nothing.”

Tyler McCaulley and Deion Hoskins are almost mirror-images at fullback, but Yount said McCaulley’s speed and hands give Neah Bay the advantage.

At halfback, he gives the edge to Lummi’s stable of runners.

Yount considers the two teams even at receiver and offensive line, with the Blackhawks having a superior return game.

Defensive strengths

On the defensive side of the ball, Yount said Neah Bay’s line is superior, while Lummi has better linebackers.

Yount said play of the defensive backs could be the difference between playing in the championship game or going home.

“Both secondaries are big and fast. Both teams cover well,” he said.

“But we were able to put the ball in the air versus Lummi. Neah Bay’s secondary plays lock-down, in-your-face defense. Edge to Neah Bay.”

■ Prediction: Neah Bay wins.

“Based on position-by-position breakdown, the edge goes to Neah Bay, based on their overall defensive edge,” Yount said.

“And that has held to form all season long for them as they have been dominant on defense. They really haven’t given up anything. And championships are won by defenses.

“It gives them such an advantage; the ability to make stops and to give their already explosive offense an even shorter field.”

Nathan Seiltz,
Evergreen Luth.

■ Losses: 69-18 to Lummi; 54-8 to Neah Bay.

■ Analysis: Like all of the coaches interviewed, each time Seiltz gave one team an edge, he followed by clarifying that the other squad wasn’t weak in that particular aspect.

He gives the Red Devils the overall edge.

“Neah Bay is a little better team,” Seiltz said.

“Top to bottom, they have a little more talent. But Lummi is loaded with talent, too.”

Seiltz was impressed by how motivated Neah Bay was, despite winning the state title last year.

“Lummi let up against weaker opponents, which I think is normal,” he said.

“Neah Bay didn’t do that. Their coach [Tony McCaulley] did a good job of keeping them motivated.”

■ Prediction: Neah Bay wins.

Jim Kavaney,
Tulalip Heritage

■ Losses: 128-68 to Lummi; 65-20 to Neah Bay.

■ Analysis: Kavaney’s Hawks were on the receiving end of Lummi’s national record tying 128-point onslaught last month, so it isn’t surprising that he thinks the Blackhawks have the better offense.

His team scored 68 on Lummi compared to 20 against Neah Bay, though, so it also isn’t shocking that he thinks the Red Devils have the edge on that side of the ball.

“Offensively, Lummi has a lot of tricks,” Kavaney said.

“If Neah Bay can keep it a slugfest, I think they win.”

He added that Lummi played better later in the season, following its 48-28 loss to Neah Bay.

■ Prediction: Neah Bay by 10 points.

Cal Ritter,
Clallam Bay

■ Losses: 73-18 to Lummi; 65-14 to Neah Bay.

■ Analysis: Ritter said that playing both teams’ backups for most of the games revealed how stacked the Blackhawks and Red Devils are.

“Lummi has so many weapons and they’re deep,” Ritter said.

“But Neah Bay is deeper than Lummi overall.

“Neah Bay’s second string is as good as any other team’s first string, except Lummi.”

Ritter said both coaches, Neah Bay’s McCaulley and Lummi’s Jim Sandusky, make good in-game adjustments.

■ Prediction: Neah Bay by two touchdowns.

“Without a doubt, it’s going to be a great game,” Ritter said, echoing a sentiment expressed by all of the coaches.

“I think Lummi will tire out.”

Last modified: November 21. 2012 5:57PM
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