Football notebook: O'Dea eager to take back Metro crown

Most teams like to approach things "one game at a time," but O'Dea running back Brandon Markey has had the Metro League football championship on his mind all season.

Markey proclaimed that "We have to snatch the title back," after O'Dea's 40-0 crushing of Central Kitsap in the season opener.

Fourth-ranked O'Dea (8-0) faces unranked Rainier Beach (6-2) tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium for the Metro title. Both teams have already clinched berths in the state playoffs.

The Metro's third state berth also will be determined tomorrow when Eastside Catholic (6-2) faces West Seattle (5-3) at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

And while defending Metro champ Rainier Beach would like to feel optimistic about its chances tomorrow, it can't argue with the mere one touchdown that the Irish have allowed in first halves all season.

"We're going to have to have a top-notch game in order to play with them," said Vikings Coach Mark Haley.

Linebacker Keandre Magee holds together the O'Dea defense with a team-high 55 tackles.

Rainier Beach features running backs Cheikh Davis, Shelton Danzy and Anthony Stewart and the sophomore tandem of quarterback Junior Lologo and receiver Adam Leonard.

"They can hurt you in a lot of ways," O'Dea Coach Monte Kohler said.

Morris numbers adding up

If the five Division I college prospects playing football at Jackson of Mill Creek constitute the Jackson Five, then quarterback Jason Morris is statistically the equivalent to Michael.

Here's his career line, and no, it's not a misprint: 3,896 yards passing, 1,325 yards rushing and 54 combined touchdowns in three seasons as a starter. That's 5,221 total yards and nearly 4,000 passing yards, which Jackson Coach Joel Vincent said he can't remember being done since Chris Chandler played for Everett.

"It speaks volumes," Vincent said, "of his talent level and the consistency that he's been able to play with."

It also says a lot, Morris added, about the offensive talent that surrounds him, which includes running back C.J. Marsh and UW recruit Craig Chambers.

Morris is being recruited by Nebraska, Oregon and Washington State to play football, but he's also a standout baseball player with the possibility of going in the next amateur draft.

"My sophomore year, I was just nervous about playing," he said. "My junior year, I really stepped it up. And this year, I'm just continuing to put up numbers."

Ballard's Bankhead questionable

Ballard Coach Doug Trainor wasn't wasting his time with tiebreakers.

Then again, he didn't need to because for the Beavers, the scenario is simple.

"What we're telling the kids is if we don't win," Trainor said, "we don't go."

Ballard (5-2, 6-2) enters tonight's game at Redmond (5-2, 6-2) locked in a three-way tie with Eastlake (5-2, 5-3) for third place in the KingCo 4A Conference.

Only four teams advance to next Tuesday's district playoffs. Ballard, with a loss, would not be one of them because the Beavers would lose a power-ranking tiebreaker to Eastlake regardless of what the Wolves do against Woodinville tonight.

Complicating Ballard's struggle is the questionable health of two-way standout Keauntea Bankhead. The 6-foot, 200-pound junior — considered by some to be the best player in the conference — suffered a shoulder injury playing defense against Garfield last week.


• When Eastside Catholic takes the field tomorrow night against West Seattle in a winner-to-state Metro playoff game, leading rusher Mark Sutherland and leading receiver Andrew Bean can only cheer from the sidelines.

Both players were injured in last week's 20-12 win over Seattle Prep. If the Crusaders ( 6-2) advance, only Bean has a chance to return from the tissue damage in his right knee. Sutherland is out for the season with a dislocated right elbow.

• Lynnwood and Squalicum, a pair of winless 3A teams heading into the final weekend of the regular season for most teams, have agreed to play a 10th game next Wednesday at Edmonds Stadium. There will be a dinner for both teams after the 5 p.m. game.

• In an effort to revitalize community spirit and involvement, rivals West Seattle and Chief Sealth will call their annual football game the Huling Bowl, thanks to sponsorship from Huling Brothers Auto Center in West Seattle. Round One went to West Seattle, 26-21, in a thriller when both teams still harbored state-playoff ambitions.

• The best-kept secret in the Metro League? You could make a strong case for Nathan Hale lineman Junior Tautulu, a 6-foot, 305-pound senior who joined the Raiders after moving to Seattle from Samoa. "He's just a dominant force," Hale Coach Ron Cunningham said. "If he'd played here last year, he'd have D-I coaches all over him, but no one knows about him."

On the first day he met Cunningham and asked about playing football, the coach took Tautulu to the weight room. "He hadn't even lifted weights before, but he gets in there and throws 225 on the bench and does 12 reps," Cunningham recalls. By the end of the impromptu powerlifting exhibition, Tautulu was bench-pressing 300 pounds and squatting 400.

Times staff reporters Greg Bishop and Matt Peterson, and Marc Matsui and Austin Burton of the Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.