Cascade Conference team-by-team capsules

Teams in order of predicted finish as voted on by league coaches.

1. Archbishop Murphy Wildcats

Last season: 7-0 in conference; 11-2 overall

Outlook: The last two seasons, the Wildcats have been one game away from the 2A state championship game. This season their eyes are set on playing for the prize in the Tacoma Dome. The Wildcat seniors are focusing on leadership to guide their younger players to the game that has eluded them. With one of the strongest defensive lines in the league, and perhaps the entire state, expect the Wildcats to be at the top of the league fighting for a state championship yet again.

Head coach: Dave Ward, third season

Impact Players: TE/DE Tani Tupou, senior, 6-3, 275; OL/DL Julius Tevaga, senior, 6-1, 283; QB/FS Austin VanderWel, senior, 6-2, 197; RB/SS Randy Gordon, senior, 5-11, 189

Fresh Faces: OL/OLB Sam Shober, junior, 6-3, 198; WR/CB Cameron Guy, junior, 6-0, 177

Returning starters: Offense: 5; Defense: 7

Schedule: Sept. 3 at Ellensburg; Sept. 10 KENNEDY; Sept. 17 CEDARCREST; Sept. 24 at South Whidbey; Oct. 1 LAKEWOOD; Oct. 8 at Granite Falls; Oct. 15 COUPEVILLE; Oct. 22 KING’S; Oct. 28 at Sultan

2. Cedarcrest Red Wolves

Last Season: 6-1 league, 8-2 overall

Outlook: The Red Wolves lost 20 seniors to graduation last season, but the league coaches still voted them to finish second in the league. Coach Jason Frederick says the team has been very committed throughout the summer and will go into each contest one game at a time. He said that being voted to finish second in the league is a compliment to the seniors from last year and the returning players this year, but acknowledged that the team has its work cut out for them to finish in one of the top three spots in the league and earn a playoff berth.

Returning Starters: Offense 2, Defense 5

Impact Players: Sr. RB/DL Jared Klingenberg, 6’4” 235 lbs.; Sr. RB/LB Kyle Wilen, 6’1” 185 lbs.; Jr. OL/LB Tanner Marty, 6’0” 185 lbs.; Jr. QB/DB Justin Houser, 6’1” 180 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Jr. RB/LB Martin Vakamoce, 5’8” 185 lbs.; Sr. RB/LB Zach Wilhelm, 5’9” 175 lbs.; Jr. TE/DL Nick Gagner, 6’3” 195 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 vs. Renton; Sept. 10 vs. Hazen; Sept. 17 at Archbishop Murphy; Sept. 24 vs. King’s; Oct. 1 at Sultan; Oct. 8 at Coupeville; Oct. 15 vs. South Whidbey; Oct. 22 at Lakewood; Oct. 29 vs. Granite Falls

Coaches Quote: “We’re very excited about the young men we have. We graduated 20 seniors last year, but we have a great group with an opportunity to compete for spots. This is a great group of hard working, committed young men,” – Jason Frederick 7th season as Cedarcrest head coach

3. King’s Knights

Last Season: 5-2 league, 8-4 overall

Outlook: The Knights graduated five players on each side of the football in 2009, including all-state linebacker Paul Lutgen, who had over 100 tackles every year he was on varsity. Also lost is all-purpose all-state wide receiver Nick Swanson. King’s, however, does return senior quarterback Thomas Vincent, who last season led the Cascade Conference with 2,584 yards passing and 41 touchdowns. Just as impressive as Vincent’s passing numbers were his rushing numbers. He led the league with 1,621 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Vincent, along with wide receivers Curtis Clauson and Joseph Jaeger should keep the Knights near the top of the Cascade Conference standings. Defensively, expect to see the Knights change up their defensive scheme to deal with the variety of offences in the league.

Returning Starters: Offense 6, Defense 5

Impact Players: Sr. QB Thomas Vincent 6’0” 195 lbs.; Sr. WR/DB Curtis Clauson, 6’0” 170 lbs.; Sr. WR/DB Joseph Jaeger, 5’10” 165 lbs.; Sr. OL/DT Parker Browning, 6’3” 245 lbs.; Soph. RB Ben Welch, 5’9” 160 lbs.; Sr. LB Michael McCardle, 5’11 185 lbs.

Fresh Faces: DE Roko Gucake 6’2” 230 lbs.; Soph. OL Mason Friedline 6’4” 250 lbs.; Jr. RB/LB Zachary Evans 5’11” 180 lbs.; Jr. TE/SS Christian Taylor 6’4” 190 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 at Lakeside (5:30 p.m.); Sept. 10 vs. Coupeville; Sept. 17 vs. Sultan; Sept. 24 at Cedarcrest; Oct. 1 vs. South Whidbey; Oct. 8 at Lakewood; Oct. 15 vs. Granite Falls; Oct. 22 at Archbishop Murphy

Coaches Quote: “We graduated a mature group of seniors last season, who helped us rebuild our program from a losing program in their younger years to a state contender their senior year. A returning group of skilled players supported by a physical, but younger group of linemen should produce a fun and productive season.” –Jim Shapiro 14th season as King’s coach

4. Lakewood Cougars

Last Season: 1-6 league, 3-7 overall

Outlook: Last season, the Cougars finished, disappointingly, with only one league win. But this year, they return a high number of players on both sides of the ball, which has gotten the attention of the rest of the league. The coaches voted Lakewood to finish fourth in the league this season (third among 2A teams). To be successful, they will need another great season out of senior quarterback Justin Lane. Lane is a four-year varsity starter, who has thrown for 5,874 yards and 60 touchdowns in his Cougar career. The senior star has an offer on the table from Illinois State University, but before he can get to college he and the rest of the Cougars have some unfinished business to take care of this season. Expect the Cougars to rebound from the past few disappointing seasons and be near the top of the league.

Returning Starters: Offense 8, Defense 7

Impact Players: Sr. QB Justin Lane, 6’2” 205 lbs.; Soph. WR Brandon Stott, 5’10” 170 lbs.; Sr. LT Alex Wilson, 6’4”265 lbs.; Jr. LB Christian Melton, 5’9” 205 lbs.; Jr. LB Dustin Stanton, 6’6” 185 lbs.; Jr. DL Thomas Raught, 6’3” 245 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Soph. WR/FS/QB Justin Peterson, 6’1” 165 lbs.; Soph. RB/LB Donovan Evans, 6’1” 170 lbs.; Jr. LB Austen Suddoth, 5’10” 185 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 vs. Prairie (6 p.m.); Sept. 10 at Lynden Christian; Sept. 17 vs. Coupeville; Sept. 24 vs. Granite Falls; Oct. 1 at Archbishop Murphy; Oct. 8 vs. King’s; Oct. 15 at Sultan; Oct. 22 vs. Cedarcrest; Oct. 28 at South Whidbey

Coaches Quote: “The team has a much higher commitment level during the off-season, from both players and coaches, than at any time during my time at Lakewood. The numbers in the weight room, and the improved strength showed itself well at team camp at Central Washington University in June. We return a high number of starters on both sides of the ball. The experience that many of the players gained at a young age will be valuable this season, as we have very high expectations for ourselves, including the playoffs.” – Dan Teeter 5th season as Lakewood head coach

5. South Whidbey Falcons

Last Season: 4-3 league, 5-5 overall

Outlook: The Falcons enter this season with a new signal caller. Andy North, who has been with the Falcons for several years, takes over as head coach. The Falcons graduated several players last season, but according to North had a very successful JV season last year to give the team hope that players will be able to step in and fill roles. South Whidbey was picked by the coaches to finish fourth among 2A teams in the conference and should find itself battling for the last playoffs spot in the league.

Returning Starters: Offense 4, Defense 5

Impact Players: Sr. TE/DE Tyler North, 6’3” 195 lbs.; Sr. WR/S Austin Bennett, 6’0” 190 lbs.; Sr. WR/DB Evan Thompson, 5’11” 165 lbs.; Sr. WR/DB T.J. Russell, 5’10” 160 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Jr. QB/LB Avery Beuchner, 5’11” 195 lbs.; Jr. RB/S Sam Lee, 5’11” 175 lbs.; Jr. OL/DL Sam Denka, 6’1” 250 lbs.; Jr. OL/DL Seth Eckert, 6’1” 250 lbs.

Schedule: Sept 3 vs. Bellingham; Sept. 10 vs. Concrete; Sept. 17 at Granite Falls; Sept. 24 vs. Archbishop Murphy; Oct. 1 at King’s; Oct. 8 vs. Sultan; Oct. 15 at Cedarcrest; Oct. 22 at Coupeville; Oct. 28 vs. Lakewood

Coaches Quote: “Our goal for each and every game is to be competitive and be in a position to win. Our first week of practice has been very encouraging with lots of effort and the kids have been soaking up everything that we are throwing at them.” – Andy Davis 1st season as South Whidbey head coach

6. Granite Falls Tigers

Last Season: 2-5 league, 3-7 overall

Outlook: According to head coach Tracey Bechtholdt, the Tigers were very productive in their summer lifting program and their spring and summer workouts. Despite the numbers being down from last season, the Tigers hope to play well in the conference and earn a playoff spot, but it will be tough for Granite Falls to overtake the higher powers at the top of the league, but the Tigers could be a sleeper team to watch out for this season if some of the teams picked to finish higher disappoint.

Returning Starters: Offense 5, Defense 7

Impact Players: Sr. C/G Dakota Thomas, 6’2” 240 lbs.; Sr. QB/RB/LB Dylan Wold, 6’0” 200 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Soph. FB Kyle Everett, 5’10” 200 lbs.; Sr. RB/DB Boyce King, 6’0” 180 lbs.; Jr. OL Max Marker, 5’9” 330 lbs.; Jr. RB/LB Dalton Pierce, 6’2” 190 lbs.; Soph. OL Trevor Cox, 5’10” 210 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 vs. Darrington; Sept. 10 at Blanchet; Sept. 17 vs. South Whidbey; Sept. 24 at Lakewood; Oct. 1 vs. Coupeville; Oct. 8 vs. Archbishop Murphy; Oct. 15 at King’s; Oct. 22 vs. Sultan; Oct. 29 at Cedarcrest

Coaches Quote: “Our numbers are down from last year, but the guys we have are quality young men, good football players and a physical group,” – Tracey Bechtholdt 2nd season as Granite Falls head coach

7. Sultan Turks

Last Season: 1-6 league, 3-7 overall

Outlook: New head coach Ben Murphy says his team is very motivated and is looking to change the attitude of the Sultan football program. Murphy said the team must learn how to compete in order to possibly finish in the top three in the league and earn a playoff spot. While the team might be energized by a new coach and new attitude, the Cascade Conference is one of the toughest 2A conferences in the state and it will be difficult for the Turks to breakthrough this season.

Returning Starters: Offense 4, Defense 4

Impact Players: Sr. RB/LB Jake Beebe, 5’10 215 lbs.; Sr. WR/S Theo VandenEkart, 6’0” 175 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Sr. Util/RB/S Zach Day, 6’1” 165 lbs.; Jr. QB/DB Isac Cooper, 5’10 175 lbs.; Soph. QB/DE Sterling Shaw, 5’9” 170 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 vs. Cascade (Leavenworth); Sept. 10 vs. Eastside Catholic; Sept. 17 at King’s; Sept. 24 at Coupeville; Oct. 1 vs. Cedarcrest; Oct. 8 at South Whidbey; Oct. 15 vs. Lakewood; Oct. 22 at Granite Falls; Oct. 28 vs. Archbishop Murphy

Coaches Quote: “We definitely have more speed than we have had in the past. Our leadership has been developing well. I think the kids are looking forward to turning the program around,” – Ben Murphy 1st season as Sultan head coach.

8. Coupeville Wolves

Last Season: 2-5 league, 4-6 overall

Outlook: Jay Silver takes the reins this season as head coach, and it could be a rebuilding year for the Wolves. A team that won just two league games last year lost eight offensive starters and seven defensive starters. Senior Ian Smith takes over quarterbacking duties for Jason Bagby, who graduated last year. Smith, however, was the leading receiver for the Wolves a year ago. Being a 1A team, Coupeville automatically advances to the District 1 playoffs, but will have to do a lot of growing throughout the season to make noise when they get there.

Returning Starters: Offense 3, Defense 4

Impact Players: Jr. RB/LB Dalton Engle, 6’1” 185 lbs.; Sr. QB/DB Ian Smith, 6’2” 165 lbs.; Jr. WR/DB Mitch Elroy, 5’8” 165 lbs.

Fresh Faces: Sr. WR/S Mike Churchill, 5’9” 185 lbs.; Jr. WR/S Zach Forland, 5’9” 160 lbs.

Schedule: Sept. 3 vs. Port Townsend (6:30 p.m.); Sept. 10 at King’s; Sept. 17 at Lakewood; Sept. 24 vs. Sultan; Oct. 1 at Granite Falls; Oct. 8 vs. Cedarcrest; Oct. 15 at Archbishop Murphy; Oct. 22 vs. South Whidbey

Coaches Quote: “A few of the things I have learned so far is that I have excellent senior leadership. They have taken the reins of a new program on their own and have been leaders on and off the field already, getting younger players to camp, passing league and even in the weight room. My players are very coachable and give great effort. I would say my expectation for this season is to compete with each team we play.” – Jay Silver 1st season as Coupeville head coach

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