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Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Wesco 4A North


Team-by-team capsules

ARLINGTON EAGLES
Last season: 2-2 in league (third); 5-6 overall (lost to Camas in the first round of the state playoffs)
Head coach: Greg Dailer, sixth season
Herald's preseason power ranking: 10th
All-Wesco honors: Jared Lindberg, OL, 2nd team; Jared Alskog, K, 2nd; Deeshaw Benjamin, DL, HM.
Schedule

Outlook
With a first-year quarterback under center, Arlington's offense is going to take some time to get up to speed. Good thing the Eagles have plenty of speed on defense.
"We fly around the ball defensively," Dailer said.
Max Gray and Austin Wells spearhead a strong defensive backfield, and Nate Lewis will be joined this year by Gareth Henderson as anchors of the linebacking corps. But the center of the defense is lineman Deeshaw Benjamin. "Deeshaw is the heart and soul of that defense," Dailer said.
Leadership will be big for Arlington as well. Dailer said he stresses leadership and likes what he sees this year, including the leadership of Jon Rabourn and first-year running back Jared Alskog. "Rabourn and Alskog are just selfless. You never hear them say a word about themselves," Dailer said.
That leadership and defense will be the keys to buying time for the offense to find its rhythm. If the offense clicks, Arlington has a good shot at winning the 4A North.
-- Aaron Swaney, Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS
Last season: 3-1 in league (second); 8-3 overall (lost to Skyline in the first round of the state playoffs)
Head coach: Tom Tri, ninth season
Herald's preseason power ranking: fourth
All-Wesco honors: Austin Otis, RB, 1st; CJ Lat, LB, 1st; Evan Miksch, DL, 1st; Evan Miksch, OL, 2nd; Ignacio Ponce, LB, 2nd; Gavin O'Neil, QB, HM; Tanner Krenz, RB/WR, HM; Tevin Gray, WR, HM.
Schedule
Outlook
Youthful exuberance and cautious optimism abound at Lake Stevens.
A young team, the Vikings appear to have the talent to contend in the Wesco 4A North conference and make a playoff run.
"I think we've got some key guys with some experience coming back," Tri said. "That being said, we're going to be young and inexperienced. So we might go through some growing pains. But I like to think those guys are pretty talented kids and hopefully will be fast learners so by week one, week two hopefully we can start eliminating some of those mental mistakes and start firing on all cylinders. We're going to be young, but I think we'll be talented."
The Vikings have so many playmakers that several athletes, including Krenz and Gavin O'Neil, have had to switch positions to get more playing time. That depth should help the Vikings this season.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that we're going to be a team to be reckoned with in the Wesco North," Tri said. "I like to think that we're in the top two or three competing for a Wesco North championship."
-- David Krueger, Herald Writer
MONROE BEARCATS
Last season: 3-1 in league (first); 4-6 overall (lost to Rogers in the quad-district playoffs)
Head coach: Dick Abrams, third season
Herald's preseason power ranking: sixth
All-Wesco honors: Gabe Moore, RET, 1st; Gabe Moore, RB/LB, 2nd; Hunter Bingham, LB, HM; Alex Vidican, OL, HM; Brennan Brown, OL, HM; Lucas Waller, DL, HM.
Schedule
Outlook
The Wesco North is always a challenge, but there is no reason the Bearcats shouldn't be considered the favorite after winning the league championship last season and with the success they have enjoyed this summer.
The key is new quarterback Andrew Zimmerman, who had an impressive showing for the Monroe 7-on-7 team this summer. Zimmerman started at quarterback for the JV last season, but Monroe head coach Dick Abrams decided now was the time to let the junior lead the varsity.
"Andrew matured a lot and had a great summer," Abrams said. "... In the spring he was a leader as far as getting kids out to do 7-on-7 and that carried over into the summer when he was a leader in the weight room."
The Bearcats return several players at the skill positions and have Hunter Bingham moving his talents over to wide receiver. If Zimmerman can take command of the offense and he is protected by his offensive line, the Bearcats could be looking at back-to-back league championships.
-- Aaron Lommers, Herald Writer
MOUNT VERNON BULLDOGS
Last season: 1-3 in league (fifth); 3-7 overall
Head coach: Jay Silver, second season
Herald's preseason power ranking: N/R
All-Wesco honors: Melvin Walser, WR/DB, 1st; Max Salgado, OL, 1st; Tristan Brock, LB, 1st.
Schedule
Outlook
The old tradition of ringing a bell on campus after any win -- either home or away -- took a hit last year when the bell broke after one of Mount Vernon's victories. This year they've made "Ring the Bell" their mantra.
"It's not so much about winning but rather being the ultimate citizen, student and competing not only on the field but in the classroom," Silver said.
Silver is going into his second season as Mount Vernon's coach and it's the Bulldogs' second season in Wesco. Last year Mount Vernon struggled, going 2-6 against the tougher competition in Wesco. But not everyone felt that was a bad thing.
"In some ways it was easier because we had to come to play every week. The challenge was consistent," Bulldogs senior WR Miles Witt said.
This year will be no different. Mount Vernon will have to get first-year QB Tristan Brock up to speed quickly if they want to compete with the likes of Lake Stevens, Arlington and Monroe.
-- Aaron Swaney, Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH PANTHERS
Last season: 1-3 in league (fourth); 2-8 overall
Head coach: Kai Smalley, first season
Herald's preseason power ranking: N/R
All-Wesco honors: Spencer Lipke, OL, 1st; Boomer Vuori, DB, 2nd; Josh Sharpe, DL, 2nd; Garrett Stich, RB, HM.
Schedule
Outlook
One of the adjustments Snohomish's new head coach, Kai Smalley, who most recently coach at Park City High School in Utah, has faced is the later football schedule in Washington. In Utah, the games start as early as the third week of August so the season can end before the snow hits.
The first-year coach needs all the time he can get as he installs the spread offense at Snohomish. One of the latest trends in high school -- and college -- football, the offense is designed to spread the defense and get the ball to athletes who can then try to make a play downfield.
"Right now I'm just excited that we're executing the way we are this early on," Smalley said. "If they keep rolling like that throughout the season, they're going to make things happen."
With a new coach and a fired up team, Snohomish looks to improve significantly on last year's 2-6 season. Don't be surprised if the Panthers double their win total from last season.
-- David Krueger, Herald Writer

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Story tags » Arlington High SchoolLake Stevens High SchoolMonroe High SchoolSnohomish High SchoolHigh School FootballMount Vernon High School

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