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Lake Stevens has all the answers in 48-7 win over Kamiakin in WIAA 4A football semifinals, 3 takeaways

Reigning state champion becomes first program to advance to three consecutive Class 4A title games since Skyline (2008-12)

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. - There are a series of questions Graham-Kapowsin High School coaches and players will have to ask themselves next week in anticipation of facing red-hot reigning Class 4A champion Lake Stevens at Gridiron Classic.

How do we slow down the Vikings' offense?

How do we move the ball on their defense?

Is this a winnable game?

In back-to-back weeks, the Vikings put an opponent on a mercy-rule running clock in the WIAA playoffs. This time, it was 4A Mid-Columbia Conference co-champion Kamiakin and its tough-as-nails defense.

The Vikings cruised to a 48-7 victory Saturday.

They led 41-0 at intermission as quarterback Kolton Matson completed 18 of 20 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the first half (19-for-21, 314 yards for the game).

"We turned it up a couple notches," Matson said. "We've just had a mindset of not losing."

Jayshon Limar (shoulder), who left last week's state quarterfinal win over Kennedy Catholic in the first half, returned to have a big game, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 89 yards on seven carries while catching four passes for 48 yards.

His 17-yard touchdown catch along the left sideline with 9:38 to go in the first quarter opened the scoring - and the Vikings never looked back.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

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PASSING OFFENSE HAS FOUND DIFFERENT GEAR

Matson said at the outset of the playoffs, he knew the Lake Stevens offense had another level of performance to jump to.

Consider it a big leap.

After being near-perfect last week in the first half (290 passing yards, four touchdowns) of the quarterfinal win over Kennedy Catholic, Matson was even better against a more formidable defense Saturday - selling misdirection and throwing to every quadrant of the field with accuracy.

He completed 18 of 20 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns, opening and closing the first half with scoring passes to Limar. He finished 19-for-21, 314 yards for the game.

And now with 45 touchdown passes this fall, he is the school's new single-season touchdown passing record-holder, breaking the old mark of 42 held by Jacob Eason.

"He is one of the best quarterbacks in the state," Vikings coach Tom Tri said. "He can run. He throws it anywhere you want him to. He buys time when you need him to. He will lower his shoulder (on runs). He does everything for us."

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JAYSHON LIMAR SETS EARLY TONE

After scoring an early touchdown last week, Limar (shoulder) made an exit after a goal-line carry on the team's second series and never returned.

In fact, Tri was very uncertain his junior would suit up Saturday, but the teenager's chances improved when he returned to practice for the first time Friday.

But Limar was fantastic, especially in the early going. After catching the 17-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter, he also had scoring runs of 14 and 36 yards to give the Vikings a 21-0 lead at the 10:30 mark of the second quarter.

"I actually wasn’t supposed to play in this game, but I came out and wanted to play," Limar said. "I felt like we had a great performance today."

Limar finished with 137 total yards, all in the first half.

"One of benefits (of being limited) ... he’s got fresh legs," Tri said. "You can see when he runs."

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DEFENSE NOT GIVING AN INCH

Equally impressive has been the resurgent Vikings defense, which dominated in the first half again Saturday.

In the first half of the three WIAA playoff games, Lake Stevens has given up no points (outscored opponents, 99-0) and a grand total of eight first downs (Woodinville, Kennedy Catholic, Kamiakin).

The Braves had just 84 first-half yards. Trent Woodhouse was sacked four times and threw an interception.

"Oh man, the difference in our performance from the final Glacier Peak game and the playoffs - it's been a high jump," Lake Stevens linebacker Mason Turner said. "It's because of our chemistry. It clicked against Olympia (in the district round) ... and it's been getting better each week."

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Boxscore

Kamiakin 0 0 0 7 - 7

Lake Stevens 14 27 7 0 - 48

LS – Jayshon Limar 17 pass from Kolton Matson (kick).

LS – Limar 14 run (kick).

LS – Limar 36 run (kick).

LS – Paul Varela 14 pass from Matson (kick failed).

LS – Keagan Howard 37 pass from Matson (kick).

LS – Limar 3 pass from Matson (kick).

LS – Taiha Rai 6 run (kick).

K – Camden Schmidt 1 run (kick).

Statistics

Passing – Kamiakin: Woodhouse 10-25-121-1; Lake Stevens: Matson 19-21-314.

Rushing – Kamiakin: Schmidt 11-34, Makram Altahir 5-18, Woodhouse 5-(-)14; Lake Stevens: Limar 7-89, Rai 8-67, Matson 2-(-)29.

Receiving – Kamiakin: Robert Julima 2-37, Schmidt 3-34, David Kuku 1-26, Gavyn Buchanan 3-14, Tucker Jordan 1-10; Lake Stevens: Jaxson Lewis 3-83, Varela 3-58, Jesse Lewis 4-52, Limar 4-48, Howard 1-37, Steven Lee Jr. 2-19, David Brown 2-19.