Running game has O’Dea aiming to top Rainier Beach for 3A state title

This season, O’Dea has 4,105 rushing yards versus 844 passing.

O’Dea football is probably the only team in the state of Washington that doesn’t require a scouting report. And they revel in that fact.

“You could pull up any film from the last 30 years and you’ll see they run the same (offensive) plays,” Rainier Beach coach Corey Sampson said. “The thing about it is you have to stop it. You know what they’re going to run (offensively), but can you stop it?”

Seniors Connor Gregoire and Jamyn Patu flash prideful smiles when talking about their school’s consistency. They are part of the latest installment of O’Dea’s famed running game, which will dare Rainier Beach to stop them Friday.

Gridiron Classic

Games at the Tacoma Dome

Class 4A title game

Richland (13-0) vs. Woodinville (13-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Class 3A title game

O’Dea (11-1) vs. Rainier Beach (9-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Class 2A title game

Hockinson (13-0) vs. Tumwater (11-2), Saturday, 10 a.m.

Class 1A title game

Royal (13-0) vs. Meridian (13-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.

Class 2B title game

Liberty (13-0) vs. Kalama (13-0), Saturday, 4 p.m.

Class 1B title game

Almira/Coulee-Hartline (11-2) vs. Sunnyside Christian (12-0), Friday, 4 p.m.

The Metro League teams face off at 7:30 p.m. for the Class 3A state championship at the Tacoma Dome. The Fighting Irish (11-1) are making a return trip after losing the title in overtime to Kamiakin last year.

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“It’s in the way we execute it and how it’s taught so thoroughly,” said Patu, the best example of the offensive system coach Monte Kohler established in 1985. Patu, a 6-foot, 195-pound running back, transferred from Beach after his sophomore season.

Already talented, he’s melded into the offense to be the leading rusher with 1,916 yards on 214 carries, scoring 26 touchdowns this season. Overall, O’Dea has 4,105 rushing yards versus 844 passing. Patu, Gregoire, and junior Mark Tafia each rushed for more than 100 yards in a win against Mercer Island in November.

“Jamyn added a lot of competition for our running backs,” said Gregoire, a three-year starter. “And a lot of diversity with the way he runs. It’s honestly great to have another guy out here to carry the load.

“At the beginning we did have to teach him the O’Dea way. There’s a different vibe out here than at a lot of other schools, and we had to…

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