Warriors get set for playoff opener on Saturday

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COULEE CITY — Almira/Coulee-Hartline prepares for another postseason run as they open the 1B State Tournament on Saturday against Lummi at Quincy High School.

The Warriors enter the State tournament as the third seed after finishing the season with a 10-1 record, with their lone loss coming to the top seed in Odessa. ACH head coach Brandon Walsh said the season went about as well as the coaching staff had anticipated coming in.

“It went about how we hoped it would as far as the regular season goes and set ourselves up to be where we kind of want to be in the playoffs bracket,” Walsh said. “And we’re excited about this weekend and we’ll see what we can accomplish.”

The Warriors will face a familiar opponent in Lummi on Saturday, a team they faced in the State championship in 2015 and semifinals in 2017. Walsh said their opponent on Saturday has been a perennial playoff team and said they come in with good athletes and size.

“We anticipate they’re gonna be one of those teams that’s going to give us about 12 to 15 different looks on offense as far as formation, a kind of run and shoot offense, and try and misdirect you,” Walsh said. “We have to be aware of whatever our assignment is in each particular situation and make sure to execute.”

The ACH coach said that he doesn’t really approach this time of year much different than the rest of the season. Walsh said they talk about execution all season, and that good fundamentals will win them football games, something they talk to the players about from day one.

“It’s no different this week, it’s just the stakes are a little higher,” Walsh said. “So we talk to the kids about that and the importance of doing all the little things right and hopefully we can go pull it off.”

The Warriors lone loss came on Oct. 25 when the Warriors traveled to face the defending State champions in Odessa. Losing by a wide margin, Walsh said they simply have to play better if they want to compete in a potential rematch.

“The message to the kids after the game was, OK, now we know if we want to be elite and we want to knock that team out, now we know what it’s going to take because what we did didn’t work,” Walsh said. “Let’s go back to work and fix some of the things that didn’t work.”

Walsh said he hopes the Warriors can get another shot at the only team to defeat them this season. A rematch between the two would be for the State title.

For now, the Warriors will take things one game at a time. Walsh said he doesn’t worry much about getting his players ready for this moment, with so many having experience playing for these stakes before.

“These kids have been through it before, so they understand,” Walsh said. “There’s not a whole lot of getting them hyped up that we need to do. They know what’s at stake and they’re ready to go to work.”

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