Players to Watch

Dylan Donohue, Lakewood, OL/DL

During a recent practice, one of Lakewood’s coaches, exasperated at one of the younger players, had had enough.

“Donohue: Get over here and show this guy how to get down in a stance,” the coach barked.

Donohue jogged over with the younger player and provided a quick clinic in how to get down in a four-point stance. Donohue’s expertise and leadership is one of the things that Lakewood is counting on this year.

“His attitude is phenomenal,” Teeter said. “He was out there complimenting players and picking them up and being a real leader.

“He’s always been somebody who’s not afraid to share what he’s thinking and get guys going. As he matures he’s gotten better at learning the right thing to say to guys and how to pick guys up. I’m really proud of him.”

Donohue stands 6-1 and weighs in at 270 pounds and was a powerful force along both sides of the line for Lakewood a year ago. The Cougars are counting on him to do the same this year, whether it’s protecting first-year QB Watts or opening up holes in the running game.

One thing that has helped Donohue is his recent surgery for a deviated septum. Instead of struggling to breathe, the Lakewood senior has been re-energized since the surgery and his stamina has increased.

“He was really struggling with that when we went to camp,” Teeter said of Donohue. “He is so far above where he was because of his ability to breathe now.”

The Cougars senior, along with fellow senior center Jeff Harrison, will be helping mold three first-year starters in the other three spots along the offensive line, including Alec Burbee and Brady Vandensteenhoven. But Donohue, who was first-team all-conference as a junior, has a lofty goal not only for himself but his line-mates.

“We want all five of our linemen to be first-team all-conference,” Donohue said.

That may depend not only on how good of a player Donohue can be but how good of a coach he can be.

Other players to watch

Chris Yand, King’s, RB

Two seasons ago, Yand had what Shapiro called a “pretty severe knee injury” that sidelined him for the season. In his second game last season, he had a similar tweak to his other knee, which ended his junior campaign after just 18 carries (that went for 126 yards).

King’s has had high hopes for Yand the past couple seasons, but the senior just couldn’t stay healthy.

This season the hopes are just as high. However, Shapiro’s highest hope for Yand, who has missed most of the past two seasons, is that he can stay on the field.

“I’m hopeful that he stays healthy,” Shapiro said. “He has not been able to complete a high school season yet. But he’s healthy, he’s running hard, he’s a good leader so he’s a name to be watching for on both sides of the ball.”

Taylor Comfort, Sultan, OL/LB

Comfort is one of two returning Cascade Conference players named first-team all-league on both sides of the ball last season, joining Lakewood’s Dylan Donohue.

“He’s an amazing kid,” Murphy said. “He has those things that football coaches love, but can’t coach. I can teach a kid proper form and technique, but I can’t teach the passion and that is something that Taylor exudes on the football field.”

As a senior, Comfort is unquestionably one of the team’s leaders. Murphy said the other players on the team respect him and listen to what he has to say. The leadership isn’t always vocal, Murphy said Comfort never gives up on a game or a play no matter what the score is.

Aside from his leadership abilities, Comfort is also a pretty darn good football player and he loves to do what most football players love to do.

“He loves to hit,” Murphy said. “He is one of those kids that that is the essence of football for him. He could play in a spread offense. He could play in a 3-5 defense. He could play anywhere and he’s willing to go up against anybody and give it his best shot and knock the socks of people.”

Foster Wade, Archbishop Murphy, OL/DL

With a young squad, Jensen went to his all-league tight end and asked him a favor: Would the first-team All-Cascade Conference tight end be willing to switch to offensive lineman and fill an area of need for Archbishop Murphy?

Wade was more than happy to oblige.

“We’ve asked Foster to switch positions, based on need, and he did that without even a second thought,” Jensen said. “I’ve been very impressed with Foster and his willingness to do whatever the team needs him to do. He’s a guy that’s going to compete. We need more Foster Wades.”

Jensen said Wade will start on the offensive line, and will be an anchor on the Wildcats’ defensive front. It’s still possible Wade could get some snaps at tight end, although Jensen was careful not to promise anything.

“We’ll see how things transpire,” Jensen said. “I would like to be able to play him at tight end but as needs are met that may happen but it’s not guaranteed.”

Nick Streubel, Coupeville, OL/DL

The 6-foot-4, 315 pound mountain of a lineman will be key on both sides of the ball for the Wolves, including blowing open holes for running backs Jake Tumblin and Brett Arnold.

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