With the 2019 high school football season less than two months away, The Herald continues its way-too-early look at some of this season’s key matchups involving local teams.
This is Part II of a four-part series. The Herald took a look at Weeks 1 and 2 last week. Weeks 5-9 will follow in the coming weeks.
Here are some intriguing matchups in Weeks 3-4:
Week 3 (Sept. 20-21)
Monroe at Lake Stevens
Where: Lake Stevens High School
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 20.
The lowdown: The Bearcats and Vikings open the Wesco 4A slate with a matchup that in recent years has had major implications on the league-title race. A youth-laden Monroe team went 4-6 (4-3 in league play) and finished third in the conference last season after three straight runner-up finishes to Lake Stevens. Even in a down season, the Bearcats showed they can put points on the board. Monroe averaged 33 points per game and returns many key pieces from its talented offense. The question: Can the Bearcats slow down Lake Stevens’ vaunted offense? The Vikings averaged 46.2 points per game last season, eclipsing 55 points six times. Monroe’s defense struggled against quality opponents last fall, allowing 44.7 points per game in six contests against teams above .500. Coming off two matchups (Ferndale, Lincoln) that should be strong early-season tests, Lake Stevens looks to take the first step in extending its string of eight consecutive conference titles. The Vikings have won the past six matchups with Monroe, including a 49-31 victory in 2018, and have handed the Bearcats three of their five conference losses over the past three seasons. Another streak Lake Stevens has a chance to continue is its winning streak in conference games, which currently sits at 38.
Arlington at Stanwood
Where: Stanwood High School
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 20
The lowdown: Arlington will be looking to take home the Stilly Cup for the 10th straight year. Stanwood has fallen just short of ending that streak in each of the past three seasons. After a fourth-quarter TD pass brought Stanwood within eight points of Arlington in last year’s matchup, the Spartans’ defense couldn’t hold the Eagles on key third- and fourth-down attempts to give its offense a chance to send the game into overtime. The year prior, the Eagles blocked a potential game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired to seal a fourth-quarter comeback that saw Arlington score a pair of touchdowns in the final six minutes. In 2016, Stanwood fell 22-20 in a turnover-filled game and failed to convert on a 2-point conversion in the second half with a chance to tie. Stanwood is coming off a two-win season in which it went 0-6 in Wesco 3A North play. The Spartans are tasked with replacing starting running back Lukas Sepulveda and quarterback Paul Holm. The Eagles lost a number of playmakers off a team that made it to a Week 10 playoff game in a season filled with wild, down-to-the-wire finishes. First-team All-Wesco 3A North selections quarterback Anthony Whitis, tight end Griffin Gardoski, and wide recievers Joey Stretch and Dylan Simmons were all integral parts of an experienced Arlington offense, and all will be tough to replace.
Jackson at Glacier Peak
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 20.
The lowdown: Both of these teams open the Wesco 4A slate with something to prove. Jackson, coming off its fifth losing season in the past six years, is entering its first year under head coach Mason Siddick and is tasked with replacing two-year starting quarterback Ben Olesen and leading rusher Nick Walsh. The Timberwolves return leading receiver Garrett Holden, who hauled in 25 passes for 503 yards and four TDs in 2018. Coming off a runner-up finish to Lake Stevens last season, this will be the Grizzlies’ first chance to prove themselves in conference play after graduating a strong core of seniors. The teams looked to be heading toward their third straight down-to-the-wire finish last season — even after Olesen left in the first quarter with a head injury — until Glacier Peak pulled away late for a 39-23 victory. That game followed back-to-back matchups that were decided by one touchdown, including an epic 48-41 Grizzlies win in double overtime in 2017 and a stunning late comeback by Glacier Peak in 2016. The Grizzlies have won all five matchups against Jackson.
Week 4 (Sept.27)
Lynden at Archbishop Murphy
Where: Archbishop Murphy High School
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 27.
The lowdown: The Wildcats get their second matchup of the season with a 2A state finalist when they play host 2018 state runner-up Lynden. Archbishop Murphy took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter of last year’s matchup but fell 24-21 after Lyncs backup quarterback Brock Heppner led a fourth-quarter comeback. The 2A powerhouses have combined for six state titles and four second-place finishes since 2008. The teams have faced each other four times in the state playoffs during that span, with Lynden holding a 3-1 advantage. None of those four matchups were for a state title, but the winner of each one went on to capture the championship. The teams are meeting for the second time since joining the Sky Division of the two-tiered Northwest 2A Conference.
Shorewood at Shorecrest
Where: Shoreline Stadium
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 27
The lowdown: With both teams coming off turnaround seasons, the crosstown rivals meet for the annual Rotary Cup game in what could be an important Wesco 3A South showdown for the second straight year. Shorewood took down the Scots 24-0 last season, snapping a three-game Rotary Cup winning streak for Shorecrest. Each team has plenty of key players to replace from last season, but the return of Shorecrest’s two-year starter at quarterback, Eladio Fountain, may give the Scots a slight edge. Shorecrest’s offense has seen gradual increases in its scoring in conference games since Fountain took over as the starter as a sophomore in 2017. After averaging just 14.7 points per game in 2016, the Scots averaged 20.5 points in 2017 and 28.7 points last season. The 24-0 victory was one of two shutouts recorded by Shorewood’s defense last season. The Thunderbirds allowed a Wesco 3A South-low 19.6 points per game last season, 7.2 points better than Shorecrest’s No. 2-ranked scoring defense. Senior defensive back Spencer Osborn, a first-team all-area selection with six interceptions last season, could be key for Shorewood as the T-birds face an experienced quarterback.
Edmonds-Woodway at Meadowdale
Where: Edmonds Stadium
When: 8 p.m., Sept. 27.
The lowdown: Meadowdale has won six of the past nine matchups in this Edmonds School District rivalry, including a 41-20 victory last season when quarterback Hunter Moen accounted for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing). The Meadowdale offense returns Moen and a strong core of skill-position players, but the biggest question in the game is: What will Edmonds-Woodway look like without star running back Capassio Cherry? The 2019 E-W graduate was The Herald’s 2018 Offensive Player of the Year after piling up 2,021 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground and was a workhorse for the Warriors the past two seasons. Coming off a conference title in 2017, a young Edmonds-Woodway squad stumbled to an 0-4 start after graduating many players from a stifiling defense that allowed just 13.8 points per game. The Warriors saw a turnaround of sorts, though, after their slow start. Edmonds-Woodway finished the season on a 4-2 run, holding its opponents under 20 points in each win as Cherry churned out multiple 200-plus yard games. Carrying that momentum over to this season will be key for the Warriors, whose Weeks 1-3 opponents combined to go 24-9 last season.