Wesco South 3A capsules

Glacier Peak Grizzlies

Last season: 6-2 Wesco 3A, 6-4 overall; lost to Bellevue in first round of state playoffs

Head coach: Rory Rosenbach, 5th season

Outlook: The Grizzlies are one of the favorites in the 3A South this season with 17 players who saw time as starters last season. Chris Beccerra will likely get the nod as the starting quarterback, replacing David Linney, who graduated. Beccerra, who stands 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, is physical and has an understanding of the system. Coach Rory Rosenbach said the defense will be a strength this season with a speedy front-seven and a veteran secondary. The skill positions should be explosive with a good mix of youth and experience, including three-year starter Sean Elledge and Quinton Dunbar.

Impact Player: Quinton Dunbar | RB/OLB

Dunbar contributed as a sophomore and junior, but Rosenbach said Dunbar is poised for a breakout season in 2012. His offseason work in the weight room and conditioning has paid off in the spring and summer and his speed and explosiveness should make him a big-play threat for Glacier Peak. On defense, Rosenbach said Dunbar will be a force and that during summer camps he was blowing past offensive tackles. “The way he comes off the edge, it’s incredible,” Rosenbach said.

Fresh face: Chris Becerra | QB

Having waited patiently behind former Glacier Peak starting quarterbacks Kevin Campbell and David Linney, Becerra is excited to finally be in charge of the Grizzlies’ high-scoring offense. Not your proto-typical quarterback — Becerra is 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds — the senior has learned what it takes to be successful in Rosenbach’s spread offense. “You don’t have to do anything outstanding because we have great linemen and great receivers,” Becerra said. “so I just have to do my job.” Becerra got some playing time last season when Linney went down with an injury, which gives him confidence going into this season. Rosenbach said he’s confident in his new QB. “He’s worked his tail off and the kids respect him and he’s become what I think can be a pretty good player in this offense,” said Rosenbach.

Schedule: LAKE STEVENS, Aug. 31; at Snohomish, Sept. 7; JACKSON, Sept. 14; at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 21; SHORECREST, Sept. 28; at Bothell, Oct. 5; SHOREWOOD, Oct. 12; at Meadowdale, Oct. 19.

Game to watch: Oct. 19, at Meadowdale

The two favorites in the 3A south face each other in the final regular-season game that could decide the league championship. Meadowdale gets GP at Edmonds Stadium for the second straight year.

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MEADOWDALE MAVERICKS

Last season: 9-0 Wesco 3A, 11-1 overall; lost 40-0 to Camas in 3A state quarterfinals

Head coach: Mark Stewart, 13th season

Outlook: The Mavericks are coming off of an undefeated regular season in 2011, but are missing several key contributors off of that team. Six of the seven member of a defense that were named all-league last season are gone to graduation including All-Area defensive player of the year Kyler Larsen. Head coach Mark Stewart said the good news is returning starters Jeremy Gomez (DL), Giavani Shepard (DB) and Jo Jo Aikhedairy (DL) will help the Mavericks maintain their defensive identity. Offensively, the Mavericks return six starters, including quarterback Brian Marty. Stewart said if the defense can be nearly as effective as it was in 2011 and the offense can run the ball effectively to open up the passing game, the Mavericks should be able to compete for the league championship.

Impact Player: Michael Cummings | RB/LB

Cummings was an all-league linebacker in 2011 and Stewart said the senior comes back this season with the potential to become one of the most dominant defensive players in the school’s history. This season, the Mavericks also plan to use his combination of speed and strength as a situational running back.

Fresh face: Morgan Masanda | RB/DB

Masanda is a transfer from Archbishop Murphy who Stewart said brings a lot of positive energy to the football team. He has fit in with his new teammates well and has a lot of speed on both sides of the ball. He also Masanda as having big-play potential both on offense and defense.

Schedule: KAMIAK, Aug. 31; at Inglemoor, Sept. 6; at Edmonds-Woodway, Sept. 14; SHORECREST, Sept. 21; at Shorewood, Sept. 28; at Mountlake Terrace, Oct. 5; EASTLAKE, Oct. 12; GLACIER PEAK, Oct. 19.

Game to watch: Oct. 29, vs. Glacier Peak

The final regular-season game for both teams could decide the 3A south championship.

Mountlake Terrace Hawks

Last season: 2-6 Wesco 3A, 2-8 overall

Head coach: Tony Umayam, 9th season

Outlook: The Hawks should be more competitive in 2012 after losing about a half dozen seniors off last year’s team. Nine starters return on both sides of the ball and offensively the Hawks will have a new offensive system that running back Devante Downs will have a key role in. Coach Tony Umayam said his team has been working hard in the offseason and is hungry to get the program back to the level of recent success.

Impact Player: Devante Downs | RB/LB

It’s not often that a player makes such a big impact as an underclassmen — especially at running back — but that’s exactly what Downs did the past two seasons for the Hawks.

After starting last season at wide receiver, the coaching staff decided they could better utilize his talents at running back and it proved to be a stellar decision. In the eight games that remained on the team’s schedule, Downs went on to lead the league in rushing touchdowns with 19. With a more experienced offensive line this season, head coach Tony Umayam thinks Downs can be even better.

“I think he going to have an even better season statistically,” Umayam said. “He’s going to carry a good portion of our offense.”

At 6-3 and 225 pounds, Downs is a physical runner that also has good vision and moves well. Umayam said the combination of skills that Downs possesses are hard to find.

“It’s unusual to have a player that’s his size that can move as well as he can and still have a lot of the natural running back skills that you look for,” Umayam said.

Downs carries a 3.6 grade point average in school and has started to garner attention from colleges despite still having two seasons of high-school football to play. Many of the schools on the west coast have expressed interest as well as the University of Michigan.

It’s unclear what position colleges see Downs playing, but they have two more years of seeing this great talent run to figure it out.

Fresh face: Jay Hang | WR/SS

The 5-8, 175 lbs. senior returns to the team after not playing as a junior. Umayam said Hang is a good athlete who will likely start at strong safety and see some touches on offense.

Schedule: at Stanwood, Aug. 31; EDMONDS-WOODWAY, Sept. 7; at Lynnwood, Sept. 14; GLACIER PEAK, Sept. 21; EVERETT, Sept. 28; MEADOWDALE, Oct. 5; at Shorecrest, Oct. 12; at Shorewood, Oct. 19.

Game to watch: Sept. 21, vs. Glacier Peak

The Hawks open up 3A league play with the Grizzlies, one of the favorites in the league. Win or lose, this game should give Terrace an idea of where it stacks up against the league’s elite.

SHORECREST SCOTS

Last season: 5-5, lost 28-14 to Mount Vernon in a winner to 3A quad-district/loser out game

Head coach: Brandon Christensen, 3rd season

Outlook: After three years, the Scots will have a new quarterback – or quarterbacks – under center in 2012 after the graduation of Ted Hammond. Junior Nik Hendriks and senior Tyson Maine are expected to split time at QB this season and will be protected by and offensive line led by Johnson Jones and John Daniels. Defensively the Scots are young, but fast and coach Brandon Christensen said speed will be a key to the team’s success this season. In the past the Scots had been balanced with their offense, but Christensen said they will focus more on the running game this season, led by running back Keegan Small.

Impact Player: Keegan Small |RB/LB

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior has a unique blend of speed and toughness that will lead the Scots on both sides of the ball this season.

Fresh face: Aaron Kelly | WR/S

Kelly returns for his junior season even more experience and Christensen said Kelly has a big upside. Kelly has good speed and hits hard and will anchor the back end of the Scots defense.

Schedule: LYNNWOOD, Aug. 31; CASCADE, Sept. 7; at Kamiak, Sept. 14; at Meadowdale, Sept. 21; at Glacier Peak, Sept. 28; SHOREWOOD, Oct. 5; MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Oct. 12; at Marysville Getchell, Oct. 19.

Game to watch: Oct. 5, vs. Shorewood

The Thunderbirds face their Shoreline rival in a late-season league game that could have playoff implications for both teams.

SHOREWOOD THUNDERBIRDS

Last season: 2-6 Wesco 3A, 3-7 overall

Head coach: Rob Petschl, 3rd season

Outlook: The Thunderbirds have to replace first-team all-league running back Eugene Holley, but they do return third-year starting quarterback Aaron Miller. Coach Rob Petschl said that Miller has been working on his game in the offseason and the T-birds’ offense should be more balanced compared to last year’s mostly running attack. Petschl said the defense was young last year and not very physical and improving on that has been a major focus of the practices leading up to the first game.

Impact Player: Levy Diaz | RB/LB

Diaz is a two-time all-league linebacker and going into his third season as a captain with the T-birds. He has started on both sides of the ball for three years and Petschl expects him to have a big impact on the league this season. The 6-foot, 220-pound senior should help cushion the loss of Holley at running back.

Fresh face: Marquise Holley | RB/LB

Also helping to cushion the loss of Holley is his little brother Marquise, who will split carries at running back and start at linebacker. The 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore should help ensure that the T-birds running game remains tough in 2012.

Schedule: at Cascade, Aug. 31; at Lynnwood, Sept. 7; MARYSVILLE GETCHELL, Sept. 14; MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK, Sept. 21; MEADOWDALE, Sept. 28; at Shorecrest, Oct. 5; at Glacier Peak, Oct. 12; MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Oct. 19.

Game to watch: Oct. 5, at Shorecrest

The Thunderbirds face their Shoreline rival in a late-season league game that could have playoff implications for both teams.

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