Cusick, top-ranked Liberty Christian clash at Albi

Final play heroics for CHSA pair of 12-0 teams will square off on Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium for a berth in the State 1B (eight-man) championship the following weekend at the Tacoma Dome.Second-ranked Cusick and top-ranked Liberty Christian (12-0) will meet in the east of the Cascades 1B semifinal on Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium (1 p.m.).In the other semifinal on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, Neah Bay (12-0) will oppose Lummi (10-2) at 4 p.m.Both Cusick and Liberty Christian (Tri-Cities) have been blowout winners all season long—until last weekend that is.Cusick tested for the first time all season Cusick, untested all season long and averaging nearly 60 points a game, had to pull out its bag of tricks and a rabbit’s foot to get past Touchet of the Southeast 1B 44-38 last Friday night at Gonzaga Prep.Senior running back Derrick Bluff hauled in a Ryan Sample touchdown pass with no time left to give the Panthers the narrowest of wins.Bluff, like he has all fall long, had another big game with five touchdowns. He ran for a TD and hauled in touchdown passes of 24, 57 and 14 yards from Sample.Bluff also ran back the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a score.This one looked like a rout early-on with the Panthers scoring three first quarter touchdowns. But the Northeast 1B champions missed on all their two-point conversion tries. That would prove to be nearly fatal as the game progressed.CHS led 18-0 and stretched the lead to 32-16 at halftime before Touchet got rolling in the second half.Touchet cut the CHS lead to 38-30 late in the fourth quarter and recovered an onside kick at midfield to make things interesting and entertaining late.Sample thisTouchet quarterback Vincente Flores then tossed a fourth down pass to tie the game with 3:06 left. Sample was able to move Cusick into position in the game’s last minute before Flores picked off the senior’s pass.But Bluff returned the favor as Touchet got to midfield. His interception of Flores apparently was returned for the game-winning touchdown. But an illegal block by Cusick on the play at the four-yard-line nullified a nifty interception return and gave the Panthers one last play at the Touchet 14.Sample, like he has been doing all fall long, found Bluff on an out pattern and Cusick had escaped.Meanwhile, big and fast Liberty Christian had no trouble dispatching Lacrosse-Washtucna/Kahlotus 70-8 in another quarterfinal at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.Reace Howard, the cornerstone of the LC offense, ran for 227 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the Patriots past the Tigercats (8-4). State football semifinals Friday and Saturday.Class 4ASaturday—Camas (12-0) vs. Skyline (12-0), 1 p.m., Tacoma DomeSaturday—Auburn (10-2) vs. Bellarmine Prep (11-1), 7 p.m., Tacoma DomeClass 3AFriday—Bellevue (12-0) vs. Mount Si (11-1), 7 p.m., Tacoma DomeSaturday—Eastside Catholic (12-0) vs. University (8-4), 4 p.m., Joe Albi StadiumClass 2AFriday—Capital (10-2) vs. Lynden (11-1), 1 p.m., Tacoma DomeSaturday—Tumwater (11-1) vs. Prosser (11-1), 5 p.m., Lampson Stadium, KennewickClass 1ASaturday—Mount Baker (10-1) vs. Montesano (10-2) 10 a.m., Tacoma DomeSaturday—Royal (12-0) vs. River View (11-1), 11 a.m., Lampson Stadium, KennewickClass 2BFriday—LaConner (11-1) vs. Morton-White Pass (11-0), 4 p.m., Tacoma DomeSaturday—Waitsburg-Prescott (11-1) vs. Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (11-0), 2 p.m., Lampson Stadium, KennewickClass 1BSaturday—Liberty Christian (12-0) vs. Cusick (12-0), 1 p.m., Joe Albi Stadium, SpokaneSaturday—Lummi (10-2) vs. Neah Bay (12-0), 4 p.m., Tacoma Dome