High school football teams across the state hit the field for their first games this week. Here’s a look at some of the top Week 1 matchups involving Snohomish County teams:
SNOHOMISH VS. GLACIER PEAK
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium (Snohomish H.S.)
Radio: KRKO 1380 AM
The skinny: Town bragging rights are on the line as Snohomish School District rivals Glacier Peak and Snohomish meet in the 11th edition of the Dick Armstrong Cup. GP has won all 10 of the previous matchups in this rivalry game, including a 35-19 victory last fall. Both squads enter this season as title contenders in their respective leagues.
Snohomish: 5-4 (4-1 Wesco 3A South) last season; advanced to 3A winner-to-state round
About the Panthers: Snohomish embarks on the 2022 season in search of its fourth consecutive Wesco 3A South title. The Panthers bring back six starters on each side of the ball after a 5-4 2021 in which they averaged 28.7 points per game while allowing 23.9. Senior quarterback Kale Hammer, a Gonzaga University baseball commit, enters his second season as the starter after completing 59.8% of his passes for 1,308 yards and 12 touchdowns to six interceptions as a junior. His favorite returning target is senior Mason Orgill, who hauled in 26 passes for 317 yards and three TDs in 2021. Senior Kyle Larson recorded 399 yards and three TDs last fall and is the team’s leading returning rusher. First-team all-league linebacker Kaden Alexander, a senior, leads the defense. He had nine tackles for loss and six sacks as a junior.
Glacier Peak: 7-3 (2-1 Wesco 4A) last season; advanced to 4A state first round
About the Grizzlies: Glacier Peak returns a talented group of playmakers on offense as it enters this season with hopes of competing for a Wesco 4A title and making a deep postseason run. Senior quarterback River Lien, a two-star recruit according to 247sports.com, returns to lead the offense in his second season as the starter. He completed 62.4% of his passes for 1,663 yards and 19 touchdowns to six interceptions in 2021. He’s surrounded by plenty of weapons, including Washington State-bound athlete Trey Leckner and Oregon State-bound tight end Cooper Jensen. Leckner, a three-star recruit, led the team in rushing and receiving as a junior, totaling 1,118 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground and 410 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Jensen, a three-star recruit, had 271 yards and two TDs in limited playing time due to injuries. Running back Ryan King and 6-foot-4 wide receiver Logan Szarzec, both seniors, add to the returning firepower from an offense that averaged 39.9 points per game. GP is tasked with replacing a number of key starters on defense, with eight new starters on the unit. The Grizzlies allowed 21.9 points per contest in 2021.
Herald pick: Glacier Peak
STANWOOD AT LAKEWOOD
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Lakewood H.S.
Webcast: Twin Cities Sports Network
The skinny: Wesco 3A North title contender Stanwood travels to face 2A Lakewood in an intriguing north Snohomish County clash to open the season. The last meeting between these squads came during the shortened spring season in 2020, a 48-0 Lakewood victory. But the Spartans have greatly improved over the past two years.
Stanwood: 6-5 (3-3 Wesco 3A North) last season; advanced to 3A state first round
About the Spartans: Stanwood enters the fall with high expectations after reaching the state playoffs for the first time since 1996 and posting its first winning season in 15 years. The Spartans won five of their final seven games last fall, averaging 35.6 points per game over that span. Fullback Ryder Bumgarner, a two-star recruit, leads Stanwood’s run-heavy Wing-T offense. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior rushed for a school-record 1,516 yards and 19 TDs in 2021. He’s joined in the backfield by seniors Carson Beckt and Otto Wiedmann, who rushed for a combined 704 yards and eight TDs. The Spartans return all five starters on the offensive line to clear the way. Stanwood brings back nine starters on defense, including all-league senior linebacker Noah Grina and safety Bumgarner, who had five interceptions last season. The Spartans allowed 24.4 points per game in 2021.
Lakewood: 5-4 (2-3 Northwest 2A) last season
About the Cougars: Lakewood is coming off a 5-4 season while playing in the tough Northwest 2A Conference. The Cougars averaged 32.7 points and allowed 32.0 points per game in 2021. Lakewood is tasked with replacing most of its offensive production after the graduation of dual-threat quarterback Justice Taylor. Taylor ran for 1,395 yards and 18 TDs last season. His rushing total was over 1,000 yards more than any other Lakewood player. He also completed 52.0% of his passes for 1,037 yards and 16 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Sophomores Evan Stacey and Nash Espe are next in line at quarterback for the Cougars. Senior running back Solomona Finagua is the team’s leading returning rusher. He had 228 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. Senior defensive back Ben Nuss is among the key returners on defense. He had 3.5 tackles for loss, two passes defended and an interception in 2021.
Herald pick: Stanwood
ARLINGTON VS. KAMIAK
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Goddard Stadium (Mariner H.S.)
The skinny: A new-look Arlington squad matches up with a rising Kamiak program for an interesting local non-league clash. These teams haven’t squared off since 2013 when the Knights topped Arlington 38-28 to advance to the 4A winner-to-state round.
Arlington: 8-2 (5-1 Wesco 3A North) last season; advanced to 3A state first round
About the Eagles: Arlington featured dominant units on both sides of the ball last season, averaging 38.0 points per game and allowing just 11.4, on its way to claiming a share of the Wesco 3A North title and reaching the state playoffs for the first time since 2012. But much of the production from that team has graduated as the Eagles replace nine starters on offense and eight on defense. The departures include 10 first-team all-league selections. Among those 10 players is quarterback Trent Nobach, who set the program’s single-season record with 31 touchdown passes last fall. All-league defensive lineman Wyatt Tilton, a two-star senior, leads the defense and is joined up front by junior Jeremy Fleming. The pair combined for four sacks last season. Senior linebacker Spencer Fischer is coming off a strong junior year with 51 tackles, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Kamiak: 7-2 (2-1 Wesco 4A) last season; advanced to 4A winner-to-state round
About the Knights: After three straight one-win seasons from 2017-19, Kamiak is 11-2 over the past two seasons and made the Week 10 playoffs last year for the first time since 2014. The Knights look to build on their recent success and have a talented group returning on offense to lead the way, with eight starters back. It starts with senior quarterback Ben’tre Worthy, who completed an efficient 67.7% of his passes for 1,566 yards, 18 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior. His top targets are a pair of tight ends in sophomore T’Andre Waverly and senior Chance Loudenback. The pair combined for 414 yards and two touchdowns receiving last season. Waverly is a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 60 overall recruit in the country for the class of 2025. Loudenback was also a second-team all-league linebacker. The Knights averaged 39.4 points and surrendered 18.9 per game in 2021.
Herald pick: Kamiak
LAKE STEVENS VS. GARFIELD
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Where: Memorial Stadium (Seattle)
The skinny: Last year’s 4A state runner-up Lake Stevens opens its season with a marquee non-league matchup between teams regarded as among the state’s best regardless of classification. The Vikings and Bulldogs have combined for seven state playoff appearances since 2017. Plenty of high-caliber talent will be on display with multiple players with Power Five offers on each team.
Lake Stevens: 11-1 (4-0 Wesco 4A); advanced to 4A state championship game
About the Vikings: Lake Stevens is coming off its second run to the 4A state title game since 2018 and enters 2022 as one of the top contenders for a 4A state title. The eight-time defending Wesco 4A champions have won 37 straight regular-season games dating back to 2017 and haven’t lost an opener since 2013. Brothers Jayden and Jayshon Limar make up a talented one-two punch in the backfield for the Vikings. Jayden, a Notre Dame-bound four-star senior recruit, amassed 1,918 total yards and 24 touchdowns on offense as a junior. Jayshon, a sophomore with offers from Arizona, Arizona State and Washington State, churned out 561 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. Senior Isaac Redford (150 yards and one TD) is the team’s top returning wide receiver and is poised for a breakout season. Four of five starting offensive lineman also return for Lake Stevens. They’ll be protecting either sophomore Kolton Matson or junior Kaden LaPlaunt, who are vying for team’s starting quarterback position. Senior defensive lineman Ashten Hendrickson leads the defense. He posted 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2021.
Garfield: 6-4 (2-3 Metro Mountain Division) last season; advanced to 3A state first round
About the Bulldogs: Garfield appears to be primed for another playoff run after qualifying for the state tournament for the third time since 2017. The Bulldogs are just 23-27 overall over that span, but that speaks to the strength of the Metro League’s Mountain Division. Garfield brings back a bevy of talent with four three-star recruits among its junior and senior classes. EJ Caminong is the state’s top junior quarterback prospect and is ranked No. 31 overall in the country at his position. The dual-threat signal-caller holds offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State. His top target is fellow three-star junior Reggie Witherspoon III, who has an offer from Arizona State. Two-star senior Sejhe Jackson adds another strong option in the passing game. Junior three-star prospect Pule Leatigaga, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman, leads Garfield in the trenches. On defense, the Bulldogs have a star linebacker in 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior Michael Montgomery. The three-star recruit’s offers include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington.
Herald pick: Lake Stevens