Last season: 0-4 Wesco South, 0-10 overall
Head coach: Joe Cronin, 1st season
Outlook: It's been a tough couple of seasons for the Bruins, not winning a game in 2011 or 2010. But under first-year head coach Cronin this season could be different. The Bruins lost quarterback Tay'lor Eubanks to graduation last season and he is replaced this season by Ryan Lucas. The team has a lot of youth and only a handful of seniors. Leading up to the first game the team has been working on establishing its new identity and spending a lot of time on conditioning. Cronin said the goal for the season it's just to get better every day and if they take care of that the wins will come.
Impact player: Steven Gallardo | TE
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior hasn't won a game in his varsity career at Cascade, but you wouldn't know it when he talks about the 2012 season. Cronin said Gallardo can catch anything and if the team can find a way to get him the ball he will have a big season.
Fresh face: Kaleb Dobson | WR/DB
Dobson was injured before last season, but has a lot of speed and could also be a big play threat on offense. Just like Gallardo, the Cronin said the key will be finding a way to get Dobson the ball.
Schedule: SHOREWOOD, Aug. 31; at Shorecrest, Sep. 7; at Everett, Sep. 14; MARINER, Sep. 21; EDMONDS-WOODWAY, Sep. 28; Lynnwood, Oct. 5; at Jackson, Oct. 12; at Kamiak, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Sept. 14, at Everett
The crosstown rivals meet under the lights at Everett Memorial Stadium. The Bruins, in their best chance for a win last season, led 17-0 at halftime, but fell 31-24 in the Battle for Broadway.
To vote for this week's Game of the Week, click here
Last season: 4-0 Wesco South, 6-5 overall; lost 42-7 to Bellarmine Prep in first round of 4A state playoffs
Head coach: John Gradwohl, 15th season
Outlook: The Warriors begin the 2012 season with far different
expectations than they did in 2011. A year ago, no one quite knew how good Edmonds-Woodway was and the answer after three games appeared to be not very. But the Warriors proved the doubters wrong, reeling off five straight victories to claim the Wesco South championship and nearly defeating Lake Stevens, who made the 4A state semifinals, in the Wesco championship. This year the Warriors begin the season as the favorites to repeat as Wesco South champions and judging from their returning talent, that makes a lot of sense. While the team did have its share of losses, they have key players returning on defense at safety and middle linebacker and offensively at quarterback and running back. Offensively, running back Desmond Young will carry much of the load, but Gradwohl hopes his team can be even more balanced as junior quarterback Davis Giles has another year of experience. Gradwohl said he hopes to see his team take it as far as they can go in 2012 and not be satisfied with just getting to a certain level of success.
Impact player: Desmond Young | RB/DB
How do you beat 20 touchdowns and 1,417 rushing yards? That's the challenge that running back Desmond Young faces in 2012. Young was the offensive leader on a team that made a run to the state playoffs a year ago and he is expected to play just as big of a role if not bigger this season.
“He's very competitive,” Gradwohl said of Young. “Obviously he's a good athlete, very fast, runs hard. He's a smart football player ... Nine times out of 10 he is going to be the fastest player on the field and he wants to succeed at any cost, so he's going to work hard.”
Young isn't shy about have high expectations for himself and his team this season.
“I'm trying to go (Division)-1 so I'm planning on taking my team to the state championship,” said Young, whose Twitter handle is @D1hopeful. “I'm trying to have over 2,000 yards. I'm pushing for the stars, but it's my dream so that's what I'm pushing for.”
And it isn't just on offense that Young has an impact. He plays defensive back for the Warriors, something he did more of two years ago as a sophomore before emerging as the team's star running back. But Gradwohl is always looking to get players like Young involved in the game in any way he can.
“This year we will see,” Gradwohl said. “It's up to him on what kind of shape he is in if he can go both ways and how much he can. We are still working on that.”
If his comments are any indication, Young seemed just as ready to go on defense as he is on offense.
“I can have the same impact on both sides of the ball,” Young said. “I'm not cocky, but I have confidence in myself so I feel I'm just as good of a defensive player as I am on offense. I'm going to help my team in as many spots as I can.”
Fresh face: Travis Bakken | OT/DE
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound junior returns to the football team after taking his sophomore season off. Gradwohl said Bakken has speed for his size — he runs a 4.9 second 40-yard dash — and has good hands. Gradwohl is banking on Bakken to make big plays on both sides of the ball.
Schedule: EVERETT, Aug. 31; at Mountlake Terrace, Sep. 7; MEADOWDALE, Sep. 14; at Jackson, Sep. 21; at Cascade, Sep. 28; KAMIAK, Oct. 5; at Lynnwood, Oct. 12; MARINER, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Sept. 14, vs. Meadowdale
It's a nonleague game, but it features favorites in the 4A South and 3A South. Nothing playoff related will be decided on this night, but it should prove to be a measuring stick for both teams for what they do well and what they need to improve on.
For a team-by-team preview of the new-look Wesco North, click here
Last season: 2-2 Wesco South, 5-5 overall; lost 56-7 to Snohomish in a winner to 4A quad-district/loser out game
Head coach: Joel Vincent, 15th season
Outlook: The Timberwolves lost key players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver to graduation after the 2011 season, but head coach Joel Vincent seems comfortable handing over the reins of his offense to senior Conor Plaisance, who replaces Sam Brown at quarterback. The offensive system won't change under Plaisance, but Vincent said they will attempt to be more balanced. In order to be successful in 2012, Vincent said the Timberwolves have to get better defensively and be able to run the ball at crucial time during the game.
Impact player: Conner Plaisance | QB
Plaisance was the leading receiver in the Wesco South last season before breaking his collarbone in week seven. The 6-foot, 175-pound senior has a strong arm and has familiarity with the Timberwolves offensive schemes.
Fresh face: Larry Baker-Bruce | WR/RB/DB
The 6-0, 185 lbs. senior is a transfer from Cascade. He was injured for the Bruins in the first game of the season against Lake Stevens and missed the remainder of the season. Baker-Bruce is athletic and has the potential to provide a big-play threat for Jackson. He will see most of his action at running back and wide receiver on offense, but Vincent hasn't ruled out setting up some packages for Baker-Bruce at quarterback.
Schedule: MONROE, Aug. 31; at Everett, Sep. 7; at Glacier Peak, Sep. 14; EDMONDS-WOODWAY, Sep. 21; at Kamiak, Sep. 28; at Mariner, Oct. 5; CASCADE, Oct. 12; LYNNWOOD, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Sept. 21, vs. Edmonds-Woodway
The Timberwolves face the 4A south favorite Edmonds-Woodway in an early-season league game that should give them an idea of where they stand in the race for this season's championship.
Last season: 1-3 Wesco South, 4-6 overall
Head coach: Dan Mack, 15th season
Outlook: Injuries plagued the Knights last season, not the least of which was quarterback Anthony Berg going down before the first game. Junior Brett Ludeman stepped in for Berg and got some valuable on-field time as the starter until Berg returned. Knights head coach Dan Mack said a key to success this season will be staying healthy and taking care of the football. Mack has also been impressed with how tight his team is, saying it is one of the most together teams he has ever coached. If the Knights continue to work hard and improve each game and, of course, stay healthy, Mack said he expects his team to contend for the 4A South championship.
Impact Player: Brett Ludeman | QB
Ludeman, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior will lead the Knights offense in 2012. He has a good grasp on the system and Mack said he has the ability to read defenses well at the line of scrimmage.
Fresh face: Austin Hall | RB/DB
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior will be the starting running back for the Knights in 2012. Mack said he is a hard-worker that has the "it" and will play a big role in offensive scheme. Hall came onto the scene at the end of the 2011 season, starting the final three games and scoring seven touchdowns in those games.
Schedule: at Meadowdale, Aug. 31; at Marysville Getchell, Sep. 7; SHORECREST, Sep. 14; LYNNWOOD, Sep. 21; JACKSON, Sep. 28; at Edmonds-Woodway, Oct. 5; at Mariner, Oct. 12; CASCADE, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Sept. 28, vs. Jackson
The second league game for both teams that will be fighting it out in the competitive Wesco South. This game shouldn't lack offense, both teams like to sling the ball around the field.
Last season: 2-6 Wesco 3A, 3-7 overall
Head coach: Adam Fermstad, 1st season
Outlook: The Royals won three of their final four games in 2011 and will have to build on that momentum in 2012 as they move from 3A to 4A. Quarterback Blake Lord is one of several key players lost to graduation of last year's team, but first-year head coach Adam Fermstad said he has some very capable underclassmen ready to step into key roles. One of the strengths of this year's team should be their experienced receiving core led by Corey Newman, David Nguyen, Hunter Lord and Andrew Katzenberger. Defensively, the Royals return seven varsity players from a year ago led by University of Washington recruit Andrew Basham. Fermstad is looking for a strong start to the season and hopes to see his team improve each week.
Impact Player: Andrew Basham | OL/DL
Basham has committed to the University of Washington after graduation, but still has his senior year to play with the Royals. Fermstad said he expects Basham to be a leader on the team and that he has the ability to make others on the team better and raise their game to new heights. At 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, Basham is a handful for any opponent the Royals will face in 2012. For more on Basham, click here
Fresh face: Hunter Lord | WR/DB
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound wide receiver/safety has picked up where his brother Blake left off. Fermstad praised Lord's offseason work ethic and believes the junior will be a dominant addition to the Royals' starting offense and defense. “The passion he brings to the game is easy to see with the excitement and fearlessness with which he plays,” Fermstad said.
Schedule: at Shorecrest, Aug. 31; SHOREWOOD, Sep. 7; MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Sep. 14; at Kamiak, Sep. 21; MARINER, Sep. 28; at Cascade, Oct. 5; EDMONDS-WOODWAY, Oct. 12; at Jackson, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Sept. 21, at Kamiak
After opening up with three opponents they are familiar with from their days in 3A competition, the Royals face Kamiak in their first 4A league game.
Last season: 3-1 Wesco South, 5-5 overall; lost 49-7 to Kentlake in 4A quad-district playoffs
Head coach: John Ondriezek, 20th season
Outlook: The Marauders have to deal with the loss of one of the most highly recruited players in the area in some time as running back KeiVarae Russell graduated and moved on the Notre Dame. But Russell wasn't the only player Mariner lost, it returns just two starters on offense and five on defense. Head coach John Ondriezek said that the three nonconference games on the schedule to start the season will be crucial to the Marauders season, saying they have to use those games to gain the experience needed to compete in the Wesco South. Senior Dan Nadat takes over for Gabe Dye, who also graduated, at quarterback and Josh Williams takes over in the backfield for Russell. Ondriezek called Williams quick, strong and explosive – something Mariner will need if it wants to challenge for a playoff spot in the 4A South. Nadat and Williams should be protected well by and offensive line that in anchored by 6-foot-4, 280-pound Hector Ruiz.
Impact player: Dan Nadat | QB
Ondriezek made it very simple and clear saying, "we need our quarterback to be our impact player." Nadat will be expected to step up as a leader on this year's team. The 5-9, 165 lbs. senior throws a strong ball, has a lot of speed and is an intelligent football player according to his coach. It is because of his speed that Ondriezek thinks that Nadat will also serve as a kind of fourth running back for the Marauders.
Fresh face: Kyle Aird | RB/ILB
Aird played a little over half the time in 2011, but will have a much bigger role in 2012. Ondriezek said he has good instinct and is often in the right spot on the field. His competitive nature and work ethic should rub off on his teammates.
Schedule: MARYSVILLE GETCHELL, Aug. 31; WOODINVILLE, Sep. 7; at Monroe, Sep. 14; at Cascade, Sep. 21; at Lynnwood, Sep. 28; JACKSON, Oct. 5; KAMIAK, Oct. 12; at Edmonds-Woodway, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Oct. 12, vs. Kamiak
The Mukilteo rivals square off in the second to last game in the regular season. As close as the 4A South is expected to be this season, playoff positioning is certain to be at stake on this night.
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