Future Cougars split in state title showdowns

FUTURE COUGAR FOOTBALL players Connor Halliday and Blair Bomber made it to the Promised Land of prep football – their respective state title games – on Saturday in the Tacoma Dome. Bomber hauled in seven receptions and intercepted a pass as Lynden won the Class 2A championship. Meanwhile, in the Class 4A title tilt, Halliday and his Ferris Saxons came up short against defending champion Skyline.

"This game was just back and forth and back and forth," said Bomber, a speedster who verbally committed to WSU earlier this year. "It was like a heavyweight fight." Lynden beat West Valley of Spokane 16-6 to finish the season at 13-1. It marks the school's third title in the last four years.

"It doesn't get any better," Bomber told reporters. "I'm not saying my career wouldn't have been complete (without his third title), but it makes it so much sweeter. You can't top it."


In the 4A title game between Ferris and Skyline, another WSU verbal commit -- Halliday -- drew first blood in the ballyhooed showdown between teams featuring the state's two best quarterbacks. He put Ferris ahead 7-0 on a short pass to favorite target Jason Bates. The two would connect on another TD passes before the night was over, but it wouldn't be enough. Skyline, led by BYU-bound QB Jake Heaps, pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 45-21.

Both Halliday and Heaps threw for 254 yards. Halliday was 26-of-44 with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Heaps was 15-of-25 for 4 TDs and no INTs.

For the season, Halliday had a whopping 4,177 passing yards, 43 TDs and 13 INTs.

Ferris finishes at 10-4. The Saxons' run through the state playoffs was an unlikely one. They finished the regular season tied for third in the Greater Spokane League, but only because of an improbable last-minute, one-point win by Lewis & Clark over Gonzaga Prep on the last day of the regular season. From there, Ferris earned a state playoff berth after defeating G-Prep and University High in mini-game tiebreakers.

Led by Halliday's cannon-like right arm, the Saxons then proceeded to march through the playoffs, scoring 132 points in the four games leading to the title showdown.

The loss to Skyline marked the second year in a row that the schools from Sammamish ended Ferris' season. A year ago, the Spartans knocked off the Saxons 24-21 in the semi-finals.

The Tacoma News Tribune on Saturday picked Halliday as its all-classifications All-State quarterback. Heaps was tabbed state player of the year. Bomber also was selected to the team, at receiver.

NOTABLE: One of Halliday's teammates at Ferris is junior defensive back Cody Sorensen, son of former WSU All-American and long-time CF.C columnist Paul Sorensen. Ferris' crimson connections don't end there. Receiver Mason Maxey is the son of former WSU receiver Bevan Maxey, and defensive coordinator Grady Emmerson is a former WSU linebacker. NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton's nephew, Riley, is also a Saxon. And talk about family tradition. Ferris slotback/running back Jordan Tonani is now the second member of his family to star for a state runner-up team. His dad Tim was a running back for the Gonzaga Prep squad of 1977 that lost the Kingbowl final to Sumner, 12-7. That G-Prep team was quarterbacked by Tim Davey, who later was a four-year starting punter at WSU .

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