Postcards from Camp: Meadowdale

LYNNWOOD – At Thursday’s afternoon practice on the second day of training camp, Meadowdale head football coach Mike Don smiled like he had a trick up his sleeve when he talked about his football team.

At the end of the 2013 season, the Mavericks stumbled late in the regular season before righting the ship in the playoffs and advancing to the 3A state quarterfinals – an experience that’s hard to put a value on.

This year, many of the players that played key roles in that run are seniors.

“It’s nice to have a bunch of older kids,” Don said. “(It’s) a good group of seniors with a lot of returning kids and a lot of kids that are going to step in and take pretty predominant roles. I think getting to the playoffs and making runs in the playoffs is always good for you as a team. Part of it is, losing in the playoffs is also good because it gives the kids an idea of how close they are and how much harder they have to work to get just a little bit further.”

Don said of the 22 starters, only a handful won’t be seniors. The most important of those returners will likely be running back Malik Braxton, who at times put the team on his back during last year’s playoff run.

“He’s going to be even better,” Don said. “He worked really hard this offseason and he’s done a good job of changing himself. He got bigger, stronger and faster. I think he put on 10 pounds of muscle. He’s was able to fix some things running wise. He’s going to be pretty special.”

The Mavericks lost their final three-regular season games last season before turning things around in the playoffs with victories over Timberline and Lakes. With games against Lake Stevens, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds-Woodway and Glacier Peak in the first four weeks of the season, Meadowdale can’t afford to a slide like the one it had a year ago. A similar stretch could cost the Mavericks a spot in the postseason.

“It forces our kids to really focus up in the beginning of the year,” Don said. “We can’t have that build up like we did last year, where we kind of hit stride late in the year. We’ve really got to hit the ground running.”

In lieu of captains, the Mavericks have what Don calls a “leadership group.” That group is already taking steps to make sure they don’t have another late-season collapse.

“They discuss what’s going on with the team and they really try to figure out how to take our team to different levels as a group,” Don said. “They’ve done a really good job of that this year.”

Head Coach: Mike Don (2nd year)

Key Returners: Malik Braxton, Sr., RB/DB; Charlie White, Sr., TE/LB; Nick Neely, Sr., LB; Tim Smith, Sr., OL/DL; Brett Schafer, Sr., K; Garrett Walsh, Sr., FB/DE.

Coach’s Quote: “We are just looking to take a group of kids returning from last year and keep building on what we started last year. I think we’ve got a good group of kids and if we can develop a few new starters then we have an opportunity to be a pretty good team.”

More in Sports

Everett’s Ondrej Vala controls the puck with Swift Current’s Beck Malenstyn trailing Sunday afternoon at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on January 21, 2018. The Silvertips won 4-1. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Silvertips beat Swift Current, keep winning streak alive

U.S. Division-leading Everett has won seven straight WHL games

Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Philadelphia is headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years

Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England climbed back from a 20-10 deficit in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville.

UW women earn their first Pac-12 victory of the season

Junior forward Hannah Johnson enjoys a career day as Washington tops Washington State, 56-49

Dedication drives local coaches into 100-Season Club

Commitment to student-athletes is a hallmark of the area’s longest-tenured coaches.

Everett’s Tori Odom, right, attempts a shot with Edmonds’ Jake Higgins defending Saturday night at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett on January 20, 2018. The Trojans won 117-100. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
EvCC races past EdCC in NWAC North showdown

Gio Jackson scores 32 points to lead the Trojans over the Tritons 117-100.

Former QB on Schottenheimer: ‘He’s a win-first’ OC

Kellen Clemens has had the new Seahawks’ play-caller as his coordinator for 7 of his 11 NFL seasons.

Huskies men overcome slow start to beat Colorado

Jaylen Nowell scores 19 points and Matisse Thybulle adds 18 in UW’s 72-62 win.

Silvertips blank Brandon Wheat Kings for 6th straight win

Carter Hart tallies his league-best sixth shutout as Everett tops Brandon 4-0.

Most Read