TACOMA Okanogan High School graduate Kelly Neely will be coaching in the Tacoma Dome this Saturday.
The 1984 graduate, who is the brother of former Okanogan High School football coach Denny Neely, is the offensive coordinator at No. 3 state-ranked Freeman (13-0).
Freeman, which is in Rockford about 10 miles south of Spokane Valley, takes on No. 4 Mount Baker (11-1) at 1 p.m.
The Scotties remained unbeaten by scoring 28 unanswered points and overcoming No. 5 Cashmere (11-2), 28-20, in the semifinals last week.
Kelly Neely, 48, is in his 23rd year at Freeman, and was an assistant coach in 2004 when Royal beat the Scotties in the state championship.
Jim Wood took over the head coaching job about nine years ago, moving Neely to offensive coordinator.
“I call all the offensive plays,” he said.
Neely said Freeman had 65 kids lifting weights four days a week all summer starting at 6:30 a.m. in preparation for this season.
“They busted it and dedicated themselves,” he said. “I think they are reaping their rewards for their hard work.”
The Scotties have lots of young players, including Neely’s son, J.T.
The freshman was the ball boy in 2004. Now he’s the backup quarterback and safety while holding on PAT kicks on varsity.
Kelly Neely teaches middle school history and technology.
Of late he’s been assisted on weekends by nephew Tyler Neely, son of Denny Neely. The Chronicle carried a story about Denny Neely, who is stepping down from coaching, in the Sunday edition.
Tyler Neely coaches football and wrestling while being a school counselor at Almira/Coulee-Hartline.
“He’s been spending the weekends with me,” Kelly Neely said with a chuckle. “He’s been helping with the offensive line. During games he watches the offensive line play, helping make adjustments with those guys when they come off the field.
“He did his internship at Freeman.
“We’d like to get him back.”
No. 4 Mount Baker (11-1) used an overtime field goal to hand No. 1 Cascade Christian (11-1) its only loss, 31-28, in the other 1A semifinal.
Cascade Christian was the lone school to beat Cashmere during the regular season.
The 1A championship starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Freeman enters averaging 40.4 points per game on offense and 9.5 ppg on defense (best in the state for 1A schools).
Mount Baker is playing its first 1A championship game.
The Mountaineers are averaging 43.1 ppg on offense and 18.7 ppg on defense, which has 15 interceptions.
The state B-11 championship follows the 1A game with a rematch of last year’s 2B title tilt between Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (12-0) and Morton/White Pass (12-0) at 4 p.m.
Morton/White Pass, which is in the finals for the third straight year, beat Raymond, 27-14, in the semifinals.
LRS beat Adna, 56-13, in the semifinals.
LRS is averaging 44.7 ppg on offense and 10.5 ppg on defense. The defensive number is a little misleading since the Broncos have given up only 28 points in the first half of games all season. The second halves have often been filled with reserves. LRS is attempting to repeat as champions.
The Timberwolves, who lost to the Broncos in the state finals last year (21-19), are averaging 46.9 ppg on offense and 6.3 ppg on defense (6 shutouts this year).
Also Saturday, Lynden takes on Tumwater for the 2A crown at 10 a.m. and in the 4A championship, Chiawana takes on Camas at 7:30 p.m.
Lynden has won four of the last five state titles, including a win over Tumwater last year.
This will be the first 4A title game for either Chiawana or Camas.
The B-8 championship kicks off action Friday at 4 p.m. with Neah Bay (11-0) taking on Touchet (12-1).
Following the game at 7:30 p.m. will be the 3A championship between five-time defending champ Bellevue and Eastside Catholic, which is looking for its first title.
In the semifinals, Neah Bay topped Lummi, 46-14, and Touchet beat Rosalia, 62-36.
The Red Devils are averaging a massive 65.1 ppg on offense and 15.8 ppg on defense.
The Indians are averaging 47.22 ppg on offense and 17.4 ppg on defense.
Neah Bay is considered the larger of the teams (265 pound Tyler McCally leads the way at fullback).
Touchet is fast and swarms to the ball.