By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
Last season: 4-4 Wesco 3A, 5-5 overall
Head coach: Will Soren, 7th season
Outlook: If it was an Everett player that ran, caught or threw the ball last season, he’s probably no longer on the roster. Gone is quarterback Riley Ayers, who threw every pass for the Seagulls and was the team’s second-leading rusher last season; gone is RB Blake Williams, the team’s leading rusher and receiver; gone also are receivers Connor Boyce, Meko Baca (also a key return man) and Lucas Henry, who led the team in receptions. “We’ve got some skill kids who have never played on Friday night before, so they’ll be inexperienced,” said Everett coach Will Soren of this year’s team. “But they’re working hard and they’re capable.” It starts at the top at quarterback, where junior Bryce Jameson and sophomore Nolan Rogge are competing for the starting job. Senior Ahmed Kamagate and another sophomore Taylor Gipson are trying to fill the big shoes left by Williams, who is playing at Central Washington now, and Jared Hawkins, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior, will be asked to step in at receiver. Realignment may have been toughest on Everett, which welcomes former 4A teams Stanwood and Marysville Pilchuck to its league and keeps a tough Oak Harbor team.
Impact player: Garrett Wise | SE/OLB
Not only did graduation leave a hole in Everett’s skill positions, but it also caused quite a dent in the team’s leadership. But over the summer, Wise took up the challenge of being a senior leader and stepped comfortably into the role. “Garrett worked hard this offseason and he was voted team captain and he’s living up to that title,” Soren said. “He’s being a vocal leader and he’s working hard.” Start both ways at outside linebacker and slot receiver, Wise will be someone the Seagulls count on a lot this season.
Fresh face: Nolan Rogge | QB
Even if he doesn’t win the job outright coming out of camp, Rogge will likely be asked to take snaps under center at some point this season. Never an easy task for a sophomore. But Soren said he’s confident Rogge can handle it. “It’s tough to step up as a sophomore in that position but he’s done that and he’s earned the respect of the upperclassmen,” Soren said. “His hard work has paid off.” As quarterback, Rogge led the freshman team to a 6-2 record last season.
Schedule: at Edmonds Woodway, Aug. 31; JACKSON, Sept. 7; CASCADE, Sept. 14; at Oak Harbor, Sept. 21; at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 28; MARYSVILLE GETCHELL, Oct. 5; MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK, Oct. 12; at Stanwood, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Marysville Pilchuck, Oct. 12
It’s not only homecoming for Everett but this second-to-last game of the regular season could go a long way in deciding the Wesco North 3A title and whether the Seagulls can get back to the playoffs.
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MARYSVILLE GETCHELL CHARGERS
Last season: 0-8 Wesco 3A, 0-10 overall
Head coach: Davis Lura, 2nd season
Outlook: After an inaugural season in which they didn’t win a single game, Chargers players can be excused for getting a little over-excited about winning a scrimmage at the Eastern Washington football camp this past summer. “After the kids won it was like we’d won the state championship,” Lura said. “I had to remind them that this is just a scrimmage guys.” With a year under their belt and nearly the entire roster returning, Marysville Getchell players are looking for bigger and better things this season. The offense will be in the hands of returning quarterback Dylan Diedrich, who after a season of learning is now putting all of it into practice. “We haven’t changed too much going into this season and he’s worked really hard in the offseason, not just physically, but also mentally,” Lura said. “He’s come so far and once we got to spring ball he was making the checks and I didn’t have to say anything.” Defensively MG will rely on Cody Stone, who was second-team All-Wesco, and Alfredo Diaz, who at 6-foot-7, 315 pounds brings some size and strength to the Chargers line. Stone will be in charge of implementing a more complex scheme on defense, something the young Chargers couldn’t do last year. “They’ve learned to adjust to teams lining up in a certain formation,” Lura said. “That was one of the problems last year we could only teach them one or two things and if somebody came up and lined up in something we weren’t ready for it was going to be bad.”
Impact player: Zander Seymer | WR
Up until last season, Seymer and Diedrich didn’t talk much. But like most good quarterback/receiver combinations, the two became fast friends. As two of the key components of Lura’s wide-open spread attack, Diedrich and Seymer hooked up early and often last season, connecting 22 times for 336 yards and three TDs. For his efforts Seymer was voted to the All-Wesco second team, becoming the first Marysville Getchell offensive player to make either first or second team All-Wesco. This year the two hope their deeper bond — the two also played basketball and track together — leads to even great things.
Fresh face: John Clark | LB/DL/TE
One thing coach Lura wanted to improve over the offseason was his team’s strength. Consider giving more playing time to this sophomore a step in the right direction. Standing 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Clark doesn’t look like a sophomore and Lura said he’s already one of the fastest and strongest players on the team. Clark is expected to produce right away on both sides of the ball and will line up at either linebacker or defensive line depending on the formation. On offense he’ll play tight end, giving Diedrich a big target to go along with his speedy receivers.
Schedule: at Mariner, Aug. 31; KAMIAK, Sept. 7; at Shorewood, Sept. 14; STANWOOD, Sept. 21; at Marysville Pilchuck, Sept. 28; at Everett, Oct. 5; OAK HARBOR, Oct. 12; SHORECREST, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Marysville Pilchuck, Sept. 28
Just two years ago most of the Marysville Getchell players played for the Tomahawks. This night they’ll be playing against their former friends and teammates. This game is big for both teams, but for the upstart Chargers it’s extra special.
MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK TOMAHAWKS
Last season: 1-4 Wesco North, 5-5 overall
Head coach: Brandon Carson, 6th season
Outlook: After a decent start to 2011, injuries derailed the Tomahawks’ chance at winning the Wesco North. But the silver lining was it gave many young MP players a chance to shine. Due to that experience, Marysville Pilchuck has high hopes going into this season. Besides quarterback Jake Luton, who returns after starting all 10 games last season, the Tomahawks return talent in the backfield (Austin Joyner and Jordan Woodin), at receiver (Kyle Nobach and Deion Stell) and on the line (Iggy Gabov, Ismael Perez and Dylan Hanson). “We had a number of kids we thrust into some roles last year that we’ll hopefully see the dividends of them getting some valuable playing time,” Carson said. MP’s evolution to more of a passing team with the 6-foot-5 junior Luton promises to continue. “We still want to run the ball, but having him as a weapon with his arm that’s going to help us.” Defensively Marysville Pilchuck will be led by linebacker Jordan Hoorn, who recorded more than 200 tackles in the past two seasons combined. For more on the Tomahawks’ offense, click here
Fresh face: Austin Joyner | RB
As a freshman last year Joyner was one of those players thrust into a starring role because of injury. He didn’t disappoint. Joyner rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on six carries in a win over Garfield and had 114 yards rushing and another TD and had two touchdown receptions in a win over Mountlake Terrace in the season finale. This year he’ll be called upon to do that all season. Despite Luton’s advancement as a passer, MP is still a team that loves to mash its opponents behind its strong offensive line and Joyner will be the one counted on to run through a lot of those gaping holes.
Impact player: Kyle Nobach | WR/S
In Marysville Pilchuck’s new aerial attack no player has blossomed more than this senior. Nobach had more than 500 yards receiving last season and caught six touchdowns and those numbers should only increase as MP’s passing game improves. As any versatile receiver, Nobach loves any route as long as he can beat a guy and make a grab. “I like to burn guys deep or stop short and run a 3-yard button hook,” Nobach said. As a senior, Nobach will be called upon to be a leader of a young receiving corps, including converted running back Stell and Cameron Dockendorf. “I just enjoy being around these guys,” said Nobach, who is a converted running back as well. “We all love to hang out and we’re much more of a team this year.”
Schedule: ARLINGTON, Aug. 31; at Lake Stevens, Sept. 7; SNOHOMISH, Sept. 14; at Shorewood, Sept. 21; MARYSVILLE GETCHELL, Sept. 28; STANWOOD, Oct. 5; at Everett, Oct. 12; at Oak Harbor, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: Oak Harbor, Oct. 19
Sure there are big rivalry games still on MP’s schedule (Arlington, Lake Stevens, Snohomish) and one new one (Marysville Getchell), but this game at Wildcats Stadium could be for a league title or a spot in the playoffs.
OAK HARBOR WILDCATS
Last season: 7-1 Wesco 3A, 8-2 overall; lost to Eastside Catholic in first round of state playoffs
Head coach: Jay Turner, 5th season
Outlook: There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this program after some down years following the 2007 state championship-winning team. More than 100 players between sophomores and seniors turned out this season, including 40 in the senior class. Coming off of a strong season in which the Wildcats finished second in Wesco 3A, Turner has a tight-knit senior class to lean on this season. Back is senior quarterback Ian Kolste, linemen Jeremy Foster and Dayne Herron, and tight end Austyn Walker. Oak Harbor did lose two impact backs in first-team All-Area RB Josiah Miller and the bruising Brent Ryan and wide receiver Michael Washington Jr. In their place Turner turns to more of a committee approach in the backfield, spearheaded by running back Isaiah Trower and fullback Julian Faralan. As for weapons for Kolste, Turner expects Andre Cumberbatch and JoJo Webster, the point guard on the Oak Harbor’s boys basketball team last season, to see a lot of passes.
Impact player: Dayne Herron | OT/DT
If Oak Harbor quarterback Kolste seems like a confident kid its because he knows he’s protected by two of the best tackles in Wesco, including this 6-foot-5, 290-pound giant. Herron, who wears size 18 shoes, is a soft-spoken kid but there’s nothing soft about him on the field. Last season he helped open up huge holes for Miller and Ryan and he’ll be called upon to do the same thing this year while also building confidence in a pair of young interior linemen. So far he’s received interest from Washington State, Portland State and Idaho.
Fresh face: Isaiah Trower | RB
With a balance of blinding speed and deceptive strength, Miller was one of the most feared backs in Wesco last season. This year Trower, Miller’s backup a year ago, will be called upon to step into that role and produce. “In his limited duty last year he played really well,” Turner said. “He’s got a lot of speed and he’ll get a lot of carries for us.”
Schedule: SNOHOMISH, Aug. 31; at Arlington, Sept. 7; LAKE STEVENS, Sept. 14; EVERETT, Sept. 21; at Stanwood, Sept. 28; at Mount Vernon, Oct. 5; at Marysville Getchell, Oct. 12; MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: at Stanwood, Sept. 28
After a rough stretch to open the season, including three games against 4A opponents, the Wildcats travel to Stanwood to take on a new-and-improved Spartans team.
Last season: 0-5 Wesco North, 2-8 overall
Head coach: Doug Trainor, 1st season
Outlook: With former head coach Aaron Cupp moving to Texas to be an offensive coordinator, the Spartans get a fresh start under Trainor. The former Stanwood assistant and Bellingham head coach has infused a talented senior class with confidence and given them hope after a disastrous 2-8 campaign a year ago. Junior Drew Wright, who split time with Kyle Strachan at QB a year ago, has been practicing as the No. 1 signal-caller this summer and fall, while Strachan moves to running back. Trainor envisions wide receiver Jake Campbell as being a big-play threat and has high hopes for Brian O’Donnell, who is moving from offensive line to tight end. O’Donnell’s twin brother, Kyle, who is 30 pounds heavier and was voted to first-team All-Wesco last year, Josh Smith and Travis Jones will be forces on both the offensive and defensive lines. For more on Trainor, click here
Impact player: Kyle O’Donnell | OL
Kyle and Brian O’Donnell are twin brothers not that it’s easy to tell at first glance. Both cut a large figure on the gridiron, but Kyle is a monster plain and simple. Standing at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, Kyle is the embodiment of a mean and nasty lineman and he’s excited to be unleashed in Trainor’s easier-to-comprehend defense. “It’s more read and react than last year,” Kyle said of the new defensive scheme. Kyle may have his biggest impact on offense, however, where he’ll be asked to do multiple jobs. As long as it’s hit the guy in front of him, it seems Kyle will be just fine. “I love big contact,” Kyle said.
Fresh face: Jake Campbell | WR/S
The senior receiver played last season in a limited role, but as he said at practice earlier this month: “We don’t talk about last year.” With a mixture of size and speed, Campbell promises to be an often-used target for quarterback Wright and is looking to have a breakout season. “Jake is always going up and making plays,” Wright said.
Schedule: MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Aug. 31; MOUNT VERNON, Sept. 7; at Arlington, Sept. 14; at Marysville Getchell, Sept. 21; OAK HARBOR, Sept. 28; at Marysville Pilchuck, Oct. 5; at Lake Stevens, Oct. 12; EVERETT, Oct. 19.
Game to watch: at Arlington, Sept. 14
The Stilly Cup last year was a brutal affair for the Spartans, who lost 59-0 to Arlington in a laugher. But don’t think that just because the Spartans have moved down a classification they won’t be more competitive in this game. “We’ve got to beat Arlington,” Kyle O’Donnell said. “That’s No. 1.”
Wesco North 3A polls