The high school football season kicks off Friday night, with nearly every local team in action. Here’s a look at the top five Week 1 matchups involving local teams:
4A No. 9 GLACIER PEAK at SNOHOMISH
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO 1380 AM
The skinny: Glacier Peak looks to continue its dominance of crosstown rival Snohomish. The Grizzlies have won all nine matchups since these schools began playing in 2012, including a 35-10 victory this spring.
Glacier Peak: 4-1 last season
About the Grizzlies: Glacier Peak is expected to be a 4A state playoff contender after returning about half of its starters on both sides of the ball from this spring, when it went 4-1 with an impressive slate of blowout wins over Marysville Pilchuck, Snohomish, Archbishop Murphy and Monroe. The Grizzlies graduated star running back Ryan Black and standout quarterback Tyson Lang, but still have plenty of talent coming back. Highly touted junior Cooper Jensen and Snohomish junior transfer Trey Leckner headline an array of big receiving targets. Senior center Jacob Erickson anchors an offensive line that returns four of five starters. And senior linebacker Michael Fant highlights a defense that should be stout once again.
Snohomish: 2-3 last season
About the Panthers: Two-time defending Wesco 3A South champion Snohomish is expected to contend for a third consecutive league title this fall. The Panthers went 2-3 in the spring while playing a tough slate, with their three losses coming to perennial Wesco 4A powerhouse Lake Stevens, crosstown rival Glacier Peak and Monroe. They graduated a trio of all-league offensive linemen, but return their leading rusher in senior Josh Vandergriend and their defensive centerpiece in standout senior linebacker Brayden Ulrich.
Herald pick: Glacier Peak
ARLINGTON at EDMONDS-WOODWAY
When: 5 p.m., Friday
Where: Edmonds Stadium
The skinny: This should be a good test right out of the gate for both teams. And it could provide an early hint at how the Wesco 3A North and Wesco 3A South stack up against each other this year. Arlington was picked third in the Wesco 3A North coaches poll, while Edmonds-Woodway was the favorite in the Wesco 3A South coaches poll.
Arlington: 2-3 last season
About the Eagles: Arlington is looking to bounce back from a rough 2-3 spring season that included a shutout loss to Monroe and blowout losses to Marysville Pilchuck and Snohomish. The Eagles should benefit greatly from the return of standout quarterback Trent Nobach, who missed nearly the entire spring season with a broken collarbone. Nobach had a quality sophomore year in 2019 and is now considered one of the top senior quarterbacks in the state. He’s surrounded by a promising group of receivers, led by seniors Levi Younger, Gage Price and Elisha Jackson. And on defense, three-star senior linebacker and Tennessee recruit Quintin Yon-Wagner returns to the field after missing the spring season with an ACL injury.
Edmonds-Woodway: 5-0 last season
About the Warriors: Edmonds-Woodway is coming off a dominant 5-0 spring season in which it outscored Mountlake Terrace, Shorecrest, Shorewood, Lynnwood and Meadowdale by an average of 35.4 points per game. Edmonds-Woodway followed its familiar formula of a strong rushing attack and a stingy defense, the latter of which posted three shutouts and allowed just 20 points combined over the five-game slate. The Warriors graduated standout running back Steele Swinton and four all-league defenders. But they return a trio of first-team all-league seniors in top offensive lineman Riley Johnson, running back Ryan Fahey and linebacker Jake Ingram.
Herald pick: Arlington
MONROE vs. FERNDALE
When: 5 p.m., Saturday
Where: Blaine H.S.
The skinny: Monroe opens its season with a tough non-league test against a talented Ferndale team that’s a co-favorite with Marysville Pilchuck to win the Wesco 3A North. This could be a preview of a potential Week 9 crossover game, as both teams figure to be at or near the top of their respective leagues.
Monroe: 3-2 last season
About the Bearcats: After finishing second in Wesco 4A in four of the past five full-length seasons, Monroe embarks on its first season in the Wesco 3A South. The Bearcats are coming off a respectable 3-2 spring slate, with their two losses coming to a pair of 4A state-playoff caliber teams in Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak. Monroe graduated the bulk of its offensive production, but returns a veteran offensive line led by massive 300-plus-pound seniors Griffin Montana and Connor Owens. And on defense, the Bearcats are led by junior linebacker Noah Berry, who was a first-team all-league selection this spring as a sophomore.
Ferndale: 4-1 last season
About the Golden Eagles: After returning nearly every starter from a team that went 4-1 this spring, Ferndale is a Wesco 3A North co-favorite and a contender to make a 3A state playoff run. Ferndale is led by a pair of highly touted juniors in two-way lineman Landen Hatchett and running back/linebacker Isaiah Carlson. Hatchett, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound center, already has offers from Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and more. Carlson, ranked nationally by 247Sports as the No. 13 junior linebacker and No. 132 overall junior recruit, has four Pac-12 offers. With Hatchett paving the way for a talented backfield trio of Carlson, Thomas Broselle and Ryan Pelton, the Golden Eagles’ Wing-T rushing attack should once again be a powerful force.
Herald pick: Ferndale
NORTH CREEK at 2A No. 3 LAKEWOOD
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Lakewood H.S.
The skinny: Lakewood was originally slated to host reigning 2A state runner-up Steilacoom in a showdown of 2A top-10 teams. But after Steilacoom canceled because of COVID-related issues, the Cougars found another intriguing opponent in North Creek. This provides Lakewood a rare opportunity to test itself against a quality 4A program.
North Creek: 1-2 last season
About the Jaguars: Entering its fifth season since the school opened, North Creek has quickly become a quality program in the ultra-tough KingCo 4A. In 2019, the Jaguars went 6-3 and reached the Week 10 winner-to-state round after finishing third out of five teams in the KingCo 4A Crown Division. They went 1-2 this spring, with their two losses coming to 4A state powerhouses Woodinville and Bothell.
Lakewood: 5-0 last season
About the Cougars: After reaching the 2A state quarterfinals in 2019, Lakewood steamrolled to a dominant 5-0 season this spring. The Cougars outscored opponents by a whopping 46.8 points per game, with running-clock routs over a trio of lower-tier Wesco teams and a double-digit win over fellow 2A state power Archbishop Murphy. Lakewood graduated a handful of key players, but with about half of its starting lineup returning on both sides of the ball, the Cougars appear to have the talent for another deep playoff run. Washington State-bound two-way senior lineman Jakobus Seth headlines a strong group in the trenches, senior quarterback Justice Taylor is a dual-threat playmaker and senior linebacker Andrew Malloy anchors what should be another stout defense.
Herald pick: North Creek
3A No. 2 SEATTLE PREP at 2A No. 9 ARCHBISHOP MURPHY
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Archbishop Murphy H.S.
The skinny: This private-school showdown features a pair of teams looking to make deep state playoff runs in their respective classifications.
Seattle Prep: 5-2 last season
About the Panthers: Seattle Prep reached the 3A state playoffs in 2019 and then went 5-2 this spring, with landmark wins over 3A state powerhouses O’Dea and Eastside Catholic. The Panthers graduated some key players, but return a trio of three-star senior recruits in Oregon State-bound tight end Jack Velling, athlete Braeden Smith and linebacker Austin Harnetiaux.
Archbishop Murphy: 2-3 last season
About the Wildcats: Perennial power Archbishop Murphy reached the 2A state quarterfinals in four of the past five full-length seasons, including in 2019. The Wildcats played a daunting schedule this spring, finishing 2-3 with losses to 2A power Lakewood and 4A state-playoff caliber teams Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak. And with nearly every starter back from the spring on both sides of the ball, Archbishop Murphy’s battled-tested squad is eyeing another deep playoff run this fall. The Wildcats graduated three first-team Herald All-Area defenders, including current Virginia linebacker Josh McCarron. But among the wealth of returners are dual-threat junior quarterback Kai Lewis, 305-pound two-way junior lineman Isaiah Smith and senior linebacker Colby Glennon.
Herald pick: Seattle Prep