By Aaron Swaney and David Krueger, Herald Writers
Austin Joyner, Marysville Pilchuck, RB/DB
Austin Joyner was one of the top breakout players of 2012 in any conference last season, earning first-team All-Wesco 3A honors on both offense and defense.
And the Tomahawks still have him for two more seasons.
As a sophomore last year, Joyner rushed for 2,036 yards and was named a first-team all-league running back. He finished just 19 short of the Marysville Pilchuck single-season record.
Joyner still has two more seasons to top that mark, and if he continues to average 14 yards a carry as he did last season, it might not take long for Joyner to eclipse that mark.
“A few games he had less than 10 carries,” said Marysville Pilchuck head coach Brandon Carson. “But he averages 14 yards a carry. A lot of people are going to do their best to stop him and key on him. … We want to get the ball in his hands as much as we can.”
Joyner rushed for 119 yards in the Tomahawks’ season-ending loss to Eastside Catholic in the state quarterfinals last season, and afterwards made a bold prediction for his junior season.
“2,500 next year,” Joyner said after the game. “That’s the goal.”
And that’s just half of what Joyner brings to the Tomahawks. The junior was also a first-team all-league selection on defense, where Joyner plays defensive back.
After another year of experience – and hard work in the weight room – Joyner is looking even more formidable as he prepares to start his junior campaign.
“Being a year older and another year in the weight room he’s gotten a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger,” Carson said.
Other players to watch
John Clark, Marysville Getchell, DE/TE
There’s a good reason schools like Utah and Nebraska are interested in Clark, who stands 6-foot-4, weighs 230 and runs a 4.7 40-yard dash. Getchell will bring Clark off the edge to create havoc in opponents’ backfield, but will also get him more involved in the offense at tight end.
Sheyenne Sams, Oak Harbor, RB/DB
The Wildcats senior rushed for more than 400 yards last season and is looking to better that this year as the bell cow in the Wildcats’ run-heavy offense.
Lucas Arnestad, Everett, LB
The senior missed most of last season with a broken foot, but is back and healthy. Seagulls coach Will Soren praised Arnestad for his work in the offseason and leadership. “He’s the one player everybody out here looks up to,” Soren said.