Newport can clinch playoff spot with win Friday

Newport football coach Mike Miller says his team realizes the opportunity they have Friday.

With a win over Eastlake Wolves, the Knights assure themselves one of the three KingCo 4A Crest Division playoff spots. While the order of the spots could fluctuate greatly with the remaining two weeks left to play, the Knights are one of just three teams in the division who control their own destiny when it comes to the playoffs.

The Wolves don't fall in that same category. Thanks largely to a surprising 24-21 loss to Redmond on Sept. 25, Eastlake is on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. Their best hope for a spot is to beat Newport Friday, which at the very least helps them hope for a three-way tie for the third and final spot as the season ends.

"They're fighting for their playoff lives," Miller said. "They're going to come out swinging for sure and we know that."

At 0-3 in conference play, the Wolves (3-3 overall) will need to win out for a chance at the postseason. Eastlake features speedy running back Cameron Hunt (528 yards, nine touchdowns) and experienced quarterback Kelby McCorkle (53 of 83, 743 yards and six touchdowns) and a passing attack that averages 148.6 yards per game.

"I think this game will really be the test for our guys," Miller said. "They have a great quarterback and a solid running back, and they're aggressive on defense as well."

Newport, on the other hand, is rolling along - the Knights shut out Garfield 30-0 last week, and beat Redmond, who upset Eastlake, 21-7 the week before.

"At this point last year, we had the same exact record," Miller said. "I'm happy with where we're at, but our goal is to improve off of last season."

A win Friday and Newport (4-2, 2-1) is in the playoffs - with a shot at the No. 2 seed in its final game against Issaquah next week.

"We would like to take care of business this Friday and not take it into the Issaquah game," Miller said. "It's a great opportunity and a great venue since its our homecoming game. We had the opportunity to schedule our homecoming for many of the games this season, but we wanted this one. We wanted it to be a challenge."

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