SPORTS: Neah Bay plays Quilcene in Class 1B football playoffs

1B Preliminary Playoffs Quilcene (6-3) vs. Neah Bay (8-1)

SILVERDALE — The Red Devils (7-2) will look to clinch their third straight 1B state playoff berth when they face Northwest Football League rival Quilcene (6-3) tonight at 7 p.m.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are hoping the third time is a charm against the Red Devils in tonight’s 1B preliminary playoff at Silverdale Stadium.

The first two certainly weren’t.

The Red Devils triggered the 45-point mercy rule on the Rangers the first two times they met this fall, outscoring them 134-38 in a pair of victories.

But that means little to Neah Bay head coach Todd McCaulley.

Not with what happened in last year’s 1B semifinals when the same Lummi squad Neah Bay had beaten twice during the regular season handed the Red Devils their first and only loss of the season.

“That’s a little motivation,” said McCaulley, who has a 27-7 record in his three seasons in Neah Bay. “We need to just go and be ready and play solid football.

“That’s my wish is that we can just go and play solid and not have a let down because we’ve beat them before.”

Neah Bay has improved markedly since beginning the season with four freshmen starters.

The Red Devils are 7-1 since a 45-0 loss at No. 2 Lummi on opening night. Their only other loss came against those same Blackhawks, 41-30, on Oct. 29.

That game, despite it being a loss, gave Neah Bay some added confidence going into the postseason, McCaulley said.

“We’ve been playing pretty well,” McCaulley said. “We had a extreme amount of young players and they’ve come a long ways.”

Quilcene is making its first postseason trip in football since 1998.

Just a year ago, the Rangers were playing a junior varsity schedule in 2B 11-man play.

Now they are on the cusp of their first state appearance in 26 years.

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