MONROE — The unbeaten and eighth-ranked Monroe football team has established itself as the early Wesco 4A favorite, outscoring opponents by an average of 35.8 points per game during its dominant start to the season.
One of the Bearcats’ biggest challengers to a league crown figures to be the rising Glacier Peak squad that’s coming to town this week.
Separated by just six miles across the Snohomish River valley, the two contenders are set to square off Friday night at Monroe High School.
“This is our biggest test yet,” Bearcats coach Michael Bumpus said. “Their secondary is solid, the receivers are solid, the linebacker corps is solid (and) they have arguably the best quarterback in our area. They’re a dangerous team.”
The Grizzlies are led by standout dual-threat quarterback Ayden Ziomas, who guided Glacier Peak (3-1 overall, 2-0 Wesco 4A) to a thrilling double-overtime comeback win over Jackson last week.
“He’s the most athletic quarterback in our area — if not the state,” Bumpus said.
Monroe (4-0, 2-0) has won each of its first four games by at least 29 points, led by a stingy defense and high-powered rushing attack that features breakout star running back Isaiah Lewis and a massive all-senior offensive line.
“I think the big thing is the size of their line,” Glacier Peak coach Nick Bender said. “They’ve got some really big dudes, and they’re athletic guys too.”
Monroe dominated all aspects of last year’s first-ever meeting between the two teams, thrashing the Grizzlies in a 64-6 rout.
Glacier Peak is eager to prove that result was an aberration.
“Last year’s game was a bit of a shocker to our kids,” Bender said. “I think with this game, the big thing is that (last year) isn’t what they want to be known as. Last year’s game is not (how) they want to be remembered.”
GLACIER PEAK at No. 8 MONROE
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Monroe H.S.
Glacier Peak: 3-1 overall, 2-0 Wesco 4A; beat Jackson 48-41 (2OT) last week
About the Grizzlies: Star quarterback Ayden Ziomas rallied Glacier Peak to a thrilling double-overtime win over Jackson last week. The dual-threat junior accounted for 563 total yards and seven touchdowns, throwing for 481 yards and five scores. Ziomas has completed 70.5 percent of his passes this season for 1,275 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has rushed for 340 yards and five scores. The Grizzlies are looking to avenge last year’s 64-6 loss to Monroe.
Monroe: 4-0 overall, 2-0 Wesco 4A; beat Cascade 52-22 last week
About the Bearcats: Eighth-ranked Monroe is averaging 48.3 points per game, led by breakout senior running back Isaiah Lewis and the Bearcats’ dominant offensive line. Lewis has rushed for 669 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, averging 167 yards per game and 9.6 yards per carry. Senior quarterback Jaedyn Prewitt completed 16 of 19 passes for 253 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in last week’s rout of Cascade. Monroe’s defense is allowing just 12.5 points per game, with more than half of those points coming in the fourth quarters of blowout wins.
Herald pick: Monroe
JACKSON at LAKE STEVENS
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Lake Stevens H.S.
Radio: KRKO 1380 AM
Jackson: 1-2 overall, 1-1 Wesco 4A; lost to Glacier Peak 48-41 (2OT) last week
About the Timberwolves: Jackson blew a late lead to Glacier Peak for the second straight year, allowing 612 total yards of offense in last week’s double-overtime loss to the Grizzlies. Senior receiver Daniel Arias, a University of Colorado commit, had five catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Arias has 432 yards receiving and four touchdowns through three games this season. Junior quarterback Ben Olesen has thrown for 751 yards and eight touchdowns over the last two weeks — including 386 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions against Glacier Peak. The Timberwolves are looking to avenge last year’s 49-19 loss to Lake Stevens.
Lake Stevens: 3-1 overall, 2-0 Wesco 4A; beat Mount Vernon 72-14 last week
About the Vikings: After managing just 14 points and 279 total yards in a win over Mariner two weeks ago, Lake Stevens exploded for 72 points and 489 total yards in last week’s rout of Mount Vernon. Senior quarterback Conor Bardue tossed four touchdown passes in the 58-point blowout victory, including three to senior receiver Austin Murren. Junior running backs Jackson Grafe and Tom Lewis each added 100-plus yards rushing and two touchdowns. Since allowing 54 points to Arlington in a Sept. 8 non-league loss, the Vikings have bounced back by holding Mariner and Mount Vernon to 17 points combined over the last two weeks.
Herald pick: Lake Stevens
MARINER at CASCADE
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Mariner: 2-2 overall, 1-1 Wesco 4A; beat Kamiak 21-14 last week
About the Marauders: After surrendering 34 points and 372 yards rushing to Oak Harbor in its season opener, Mariner has allowed just 34 points combined over its past three games. During that stretch, the Marauders’ defense has yielded just 286 yards per game. Running backs Isaiah Harrison and Josiah Pesterkoff filled in for injured starter Romelo Mangum in last week’s rivalry contest against Kamiak, combining for 177 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Cascade: 2-2 overall, 0-2 Wesco 4A; lost to Monroe 52-22 last week
About the Bruins: After allowing just seven total points through its first two games, Cascade has surrendered a combined 92 points and 985 total yards over the past two weeks in losses to Glacier Peak and Monroe. The Bruins’ defense will look to get back on track against a Mariner team that’s averaging just 17.8 points per game.
Herald pick: Cascade
No. 10 SQUALICUM at No. 9 OAK HARBOR
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Oak Harbor H.S.
Squalicum: 3-1 overall, 1-1 Wesco 3A North; lost to Stanwood 36-28 last week
About the Storm: Defending Wesco 3A North champion Squalicum is coming off its first league loss since 2014, when the Storm were part of the Northwest Conference. Squalicum is led by speedy senior running back Triston Smith, who has accounted for more than half the offense’s total yardage this season. Smith has rushed for 910 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 228 yards per game and 11.4 yards per carry. He ran for 441 yards in the Storm’s 85-70 shootout win over South Delta (B.C.) on Sept. 8.
Oak Harbor: 4-0 overall, 1-0 Wesco 3A North; beat Rogers (Puyallup) 35-7 last week
About the Wildcats: Ninth-ranked Oak Harbor has won each of its first four games by double digits and is allowing just 10 points per contest. The senior duo of Mackenzie Nuanez and Tamarik Hollins-Passmore lead the Wildcats’ Wing-T rushing attack, which is averaging 315 yards per game. Nuanez has rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns, while Hollins-Passmore has added 402 yards and three scores. Oak Harbor is looking to avenge last season’s 47-20 loss to Squalicum.
Herald pick: Oak Harbor