Last season: 0-4 in league (fifth); 1-9 overall
Head coach: Will Soren, 8th season
Herald’s power ranking: N/R
Key returners: Lucas Arnestad, LB; Bryce Jamieson, QB; Tyree Rutter, DE/TE; Thien Ngo, RB.
After winning just one game last season, Everett shook things up over the offseason. Soren changed the offense, offseason weight-room routines were switched up and spring camp changed.
Then came the biggest change of all. Last year’s starting quarterback Nolan Rogge announced he was transferring to Archbishop Murphy and the Seagulls were reeling. But Soren is confident in new starter Jamieson, who played split end last season.
“He seized the opportunity and ever since then he’s stepped up leadership-wise,” Soren said of Jamieson. “He’s earned the respect of the team.”
Jamieson, who is a more experienced runner than passer, will be guiding a new offense. Soren said the Seagulls will spread it out a little more this season and work out of some new sets. They’ve also simplified the running game.
Jamieson will be handing off to junior Ngo and will be passing to Paul Larson, who sat out last season due to eligibility issues.
Soren has tried to re-energize a Seagulls program that has seen its numbers dwindle over the past few years to the point it may not be able to field a junior varsity team this fall. Including Jim Lambright (see cover story), Soren brought back players from the past to talk to the team, including a pair of Pacific Lutheran football players Lucas Sontra and Spencer McKinnon.
Everett will need Lucas Arnestad and its defense to step up early and the let the offense jell to avoid a repeat of last year.
MARYSVILLE GETCHELL CHARGERS
Last season: 2-2 in league (third); 5-5 overall
Head coach: Davis Lura, 3rd season
Herald’s power ranking: 12th
Key returners: Jacob Bisenius, DL; Kaleb Seymer, WR; John Clark, DL; Wil Owens, RB; Austin Miller, WR/DB; Ryan Gamble, OL/DL; Francisco Juarez, TE/LB; Devon Green, DB.
After going winless in the program’s first year, Getchell had a hugely successful second season, winning five games and three of its final five.
“Once we got the monkey off our back we kind of relaxed,” Lura said.
Getchell graduated its first class of seniors who started a number of games and contributed significant playing time last year. It’s a void that is noticeable. To take that next step the Chargers will have to replace four out of five linemen, a quarterback and a tailback.
At quarterback Getchell will go week-to-week with two quarterbacks, senior Michael Cameron and sophomore Taylor Koellmer, fitting into this year’s theme: competition. Wil Owens will take over for Zander Seymer at tailback.
The biggest thing for the Chargers is the continuity in the system allows Lura to open an already open playbook even wider.
“The positive is we have kids who have been in the program for three years now so we can kind of expand what we do,” Lura said.
On defense, junior defensive end John Clark, who is being recruited by Utah and Nebraska, is expected to create havoc off the edge. In the secondary Owens and Seymer are back and Jacob Bisenius was a first-team All-Wesco defensive lineman last year.
If the young players pick up to speed quickly, Getchell could make it a Marysville clean sweep at the top of the 3A North.
MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK TOMAHAWKS
Last season: 4-0 in league (first); 9-3 overall (lost to Eastside Catholic, state quarterfinals)
Head coach: Brandon Carson, 7th season
Herald’s power ranking: first
Key returners: Jake Luton, QB; Austin Joyner, RB/DB; Alex Gray, LB; Ryan Spiva, K; Dante Fields, DL; Nic Alonso, RB/DB; Austin Schimke, OL.
The Tomahawks return most of the key pieces of last year’s deep playoff run, and those pieces now have playoff experience and another year in the weight room under their belts. Marysville Pilchuck took care of business in the 3A North last season, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be successful in defending their league title.
The Tomahawks do have to deal with several key departures along the offensive line, including all-league first-teamers Iggy Gabov and Ishmael Perez. Jory Cooper was second-team all-league and even tight end Conner Martinis is gone, meaning Marysville Pilchuck could have a whole new look up front. But if there’s one coach who can take inexperienced offensive linemen and turn them into all-leaguers, it’s MP assistant coach Scott Stokes.
What will help the Tomahawks are all those returning all-Wesco players, including quarterback Jake Luton, running back Austin Joyner and kicker Ryan Spiva, who will all try to improve on last year’s run that saw the Tomahawks get all the way to the 3A state quarterfinals.
And thanks to the experience of last year, another deep playoff run is also a strong possibility.
“We want to improve upon what we accomplished last year,” Carson said. “We want to challenge for the Wesco North title and make it into the playoffs and just go from there.”
OAK HARBOR WILDCATS
Last season: 3-1 in league (second); 6-4 overall (lost to Peninsula, quad districts)
Head coach: Jay Turner, 6th season
Herald’s power ranking: 11th
Key returners: Sheyenne Sams, DB; Tyler Adamson, DL; Sams, RB; Troy Sturdevant, TE; Matt Zafra, OL; Rhys Mattilla, DL; Ray Quinday, LB; Jackson Constant, DL; Julian Faralan, LB.
The Wildcats must replace two-year starting quarterback Ian Kolste, and save running back Sheyenne Sams, who saw significant carries last season, the Wildcats will have inexperienced players at every skills position.
The Wildcats will need young skill position players like quarterbacks Michael Lanningham and Clayton Doughty to learn quickly. Once coach who has shown the ability to coach up his team as the season progresses and get the most of his players is Turner.
The key for the Wildcats is the play of the line. All-Wesco first-team returner Adamson anchors the offensive line at left tackle and is joined by Constant, Zafra, Quinday and tight end Sturdevant. That’s a lot of experience returning on the line and they should be able to blow open some big holes for Sams and others.
“It’s really nice not having to replace linemen,” Turner said. “If you gave coaches the choice, of course it would be nice to have depth returning everywhere, it’s really nice to be able to build from the offensive line out.”
Defensively Oak Harbor must replace tackle machine Jon Lanningham. Sturdevant will take over his spot as leader of the unit and will be joined by Faralan, an All-Wesco honorable mention at linebacker.
After heavily favored MP it’s anybody’s question who will rise in the 3A North standings, including a young Oak Harbor team.
Last season: 1-3 in league (fourth); 4-6 overall
Head coach: Dave Telford, 1st season
Herald’s power ranking: N/R
Key returners: Alec Scappini, OL,DL; Drew Wright, QB; Laurence Wanambisi, WR
With a large senior class, Stanwood went into last season with high hopes. But after winning their first two games, the Spartans lost their next five and did so in spectacular fashion, losing by a combined score of 240-29.
This year that senior class is gone and so is last year’s coach Doug Trainor. This year Telford steps in as head coach and has some repairing to do. First and foremost that begins with building Stanwood’s confidence back up.
If anyone can boost the Spartans’ confidence, it looks like it could be Telford. He has a history of rebuilding teams after helping lead Monroe nearly back to the playoffs for the first time since 1992 in 2010.
The offense this year will revolve around returning starter Drew Wright and his ability to get the ball to playmakers like Laurence Wanambisi and running back Chad Niven. Wright couldn’t have asked for a better coach to learn under. Telford not only played the position in high school and college but has coached it on the collegiate level, including most recently at Indiana State the past two years.
The defense has plenty of starters to replace, but Telford is confident they can do good things on that side of the ball.
Stanwood’s fate rests along the line. Stanwood has to replace a lot of starters, including Kyle O’Donnell and Travis Jones, and youth and inexperience is never good in the trenches. “We’ve got our work cut out for us there,” Telford admitted. “We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got.”