With spring practices recently wrapping up for high school football teams around the area, the 2019 season is less than three months away.
Schedules for the upcoming season are already out and many intriguing matchups lie ahead this fall.
Here’s a way-too-early look at some key games for local teams in Weeks 1 and 2. Lookaheads at Weeks 3-9 will follow over the coming weeks.
Week 1 (Sept. 6)
Ferndale at Lake Stevens
When: Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Lake Stevens High School
The lowdown: The Class 4A state runner-up Vikings open the season with a rematch against Ferndale. Lake Stevens cruised to a 42-14 victory last season, scoring six touchdowns on the ground. The spotlight in this matchup will be on the battle in the trenches. The Vikings’ offensive line is led by senior Washington State University-commit Devin Kylany, a three-star prospect ranked 15th in the state by 247Sports, and senior Logan Bruce, a three-star prospect ranked 29th in the state. The Golden Eagles’ offensive line features senior Geirean Hatchett, a four-star recruit ranked fourth in the state overall and seventh nationally at offensive guard. He holds more than 25 major-college offers, including from Washington, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Lake Stevens took an unblemished record into last year’s Class 4A state championship game before falling 52-20 to Union. The Vikings outscored teams by an average of 31.9 points in their 13 victories last season, winning all but one game by 14 points or more. Coming off its first losing season since 2014, Ferndale could make a major statement if it can hang with a Lake Stevens team that’s loaded with returning talent.
Cascade at Everett
When: Sept. 6, 8 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
The lowdown: This year’s addition of the Battle of Broadway is set for a late kickoff as it’s the second game of a doubleheader at Everett Memorial Stadium. One year after Bruins coach Jordan Sieh opened his tenure as head coach at his alma mater with a 32-22 win against the rival Seagulls, Everett coach Brien Elliot looks to lead his alma mater to a win over Cascade in his first season at the helm of the Seagulls’ program. First-team All-Wesco 4A running back Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan returns to lead the Bruins’ Wing-T rushing attack. The Seagulls, who graduated 18 of 32 players listed on their final roster last season, are entering their second straight season with a new coach after only one win last season. Cascade has won six of the past seven matchups in this rivalry, scoring 30 points or more in each victory.
Eastlake at Monroe
When: Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Monroe High School
The lowdown: After several years near the top of the Wesco 4A picture, a young Monroe team took a slight step back last season. The Bearcats graduated many key pieces from their 10-win 2017 squad and finished below .500 for the first time since 2013. Monroe starts its season with a strong test, hosting 2018 4A state participant Eastlake. Monroe is led by do-it-all senior Efton Chism, who caught 12 touchdown passes and returned two kickoffs for scores last season. He also threw four TD passes and ran for another score as the Bearcats’ backup quarterback. Monroe also returns first-team All-Wesco 4A running back Blake Rybar and a trio of second-team selections on offense. The Wolves won 25-19 in last season’s opener against the Bearcats and also beat Wesco 4A’s Glacier Peak, 25-9, in a state regional matchup. Eastlake is tasked with replacing seven all-league selections from last year’s team.
Week 2 (Sept. 13-14)
Lake Stevens at Lincoln
When: Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Lincoln High School
The lowdown: The Vikings make it 2-for-2 in early matchups to watch with another game that pits high-level recruits against each other. This time it’s skill-position players. Lake Stevens senior Kasen Kinchen, a three-star cornerback ranked 13th in the state overall with offers from Callfornia, Oregon and other smaller Division-I programs, will be matched up against the likes of senior three-star cornerback Donovan Clark and senior three-star athlete Jaylen Clark. The Abes also feature Julien Simon, a five-star athlete for the class of 2021 ranked fourth in the state overall and 34th in the nation. He is listed as a running back, wide receiver and cornerback on the Lincoln roster and already holds offers from major Division-I schools, including Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Washington. Vikings safety Joe Gonzalez, a three-star recruit ranked 47th in the state, should also play a key factor in helping to try and contain the Abes’ trio of athletic skill-players. Lake Stevens beat Lincoln, which has made five straight 3A state tournament appearances, 38-21, at home last season.
Archbishop Murphy at Hockinson
When: Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Hockinson High School
The lowdown: Another early-season rematch pits perennial 2A powerhouse Archbishop Murphy against defending 2A state champion Hockinson. The Wildcats are coming off of a down year, missing the state playoffs for the first time since 2014, in their first season in the Northwest 2A Sky Conference. The team is entering its first season under head coach Mark Leone. Archbishop Murphy returns starting quarterback Victor Gabalis, a two-star recruit with five Division-I scholarship offers. The Hawks are led by University of Washington commit Sawyer Racanelli, a three-star athlete ranked eighth overall in the state. Racanelli predominantly lined up at wide receiver for Hockinson’s offense but also saw time at quarterback and running back. The Hawks also feature three-star wide receiver Peyton Brammer and are unbeaten over the past two seasons. Hockinson won last year’s game, which was televised on ROOT Sports, 42-13.
Shorewood at Meadowdale
Where: Edmonds Stadium
When: Sept. 13, 8 p.m.
The lowdown: The Thunderbirds and Mavericks open Wesco 3A South play in a rematch of last year’s 38-7 Shorewood victory that was an early statement in the Thunderbirds’ breakthrough 2018 season. The win snapped a 17-game Wesco 3A South losing streak in Shorewood’s first league game after playing an independent schedule in 2017. The Thunderbirds finished the season 5-5 (4-2 conference) and graduated six all-conference selections, including quarterback David Snell and running back Robert Banks. Meadowdale is coming off back-to-back losing seasons after reaching the state semifinals in 2016. The Mavericks return playmakers in their passing game, with starting quarterback Hunter Moen and receivers Mason Vaughn and Cutter Buchea all back from an offense that averaged 35.5 points per game in conference play. This will also be Meadowdale’s first league game after the departure of four-year coach Matt Leonard.
Snohomish at Glacier Peak
When: Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium
The lowdown: The hosting Grizzlies have dominated this rivalry to the tune of seven straight victories with just two of those games being decided by less than 10 points. The Panthers put up their best fight since 2013 in a 36-28 loss a season ago, and both teams have a number key players to replace from last season. Glacier Peak graduated Washington State University-bound defensive lineman Ma’ake Fifita, four-year starting quarterback Ayden Ziomas and 6-foot-5 wide receiver Evan Mannes along with four other All-Wesco 4A selections. The Panthers are tasked with replacing running back Tyler Massena, who totaled 30 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage last season, and four senior offensive linemen that helped paved the way for Snohomish’s two-headed rushing attack. The Panthers return the other half of that running back tandem, Tyler Larson. The senior ran for 1,053 yards and seven scores last season.