Glacier Peak looks to surprise

It’s one of the most disturbing bits of news in years: The reformed New Kids on the Block released a comeback album on Tuesday.

Come on, aren’t those guys almost 40 by now? They should change their name to Old Dudes Need a Buck.

This week the only new kids on the block I’m curious about are football players at Glacier Peak High School, the new school in Snohomish. The Class 3A Grizzlies begin their first season at 7 p.m. tonight against 4A Arlington at Larson Stadium.

What can we expect from Glacier Peak? I watched part of their practice a week ago and came away with this thought: Glacier Peak isn’t your average bound-to-get-thumped first-year program.

One positive sign for the Grizzlies and head coach Rory Rosenbach is their massive turnout. The team had 95 players signed up as of Tuesday, 25 more than Rosenbach expected when practice started. The high turnout is incredible considering Glacier Peak doesn’t have seniors this year.

No seniors — that is the team’s most obvious weakness. Senior leadership often propels prep teams, especially in football. But Glacier Peak is undaunted. They expect to be competitive in the new Wesco 3A division.

“I think we can surprise some people. We’ve been working really hard and I really think we can do (well) this year,” said John Darling, a junior running back/middle linebacker.

Skeptics motivated the squad.

“We have a lot of people telling us we can’t do it, a lot of people telling us that there’s no way (because) we don’t have seniors,” Darling said. “But I think we can put that aside and we can do it.”

Coach Rosenbach, a 1994 Snohomish High graduate, uses a no-huddle, pass-happy offense that his players absorbed quickly. “They actually picked it up a lot faster than I anticipated,” he said.

Rosenbach, who guided his previous team to two state titles in Oregon, likes his current group’s commitment.

“They have a great attitude. They work hard,” Rosenbach said. “Obviously they’re young and they haven’t been through the battles at the varsity level, but they’re doing a good job and I think they’re going to put on a good show for people.”

Sam Smith has extra motivation to play well tonight. The junior, who plays left guard and defensive tackle for Glacier Peak, said most of his family lives in Arlington, including several aunts and uncles.

Arlington, led by first-year head coach Greg Dailer, was 4-6 in 2007 but returns just two starters. Smith isn’t underestimating the Eagles, though.

“I know Arlington’s a good team. I think we should be able to put up a really good fight against them,” he said.

Here are predictions for the Glacier Peak vs. Arlington game, as well as a quick look at some of tonight’s other intriguing contests.

Mike Cane’s pick: Glacier Peak 21, Arlington 13

John McDonald’s pick: Glacier Peak 13, Arlington 7

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Arlington 35, Glacier Peak 7

Edmonds-Woodway at Meadowdale

When : 8 p.m.

Where: Edmonds District Stadium

Quick slant: Some of the area’s best running backs, spearheaded by Tony Heard (Edmonds-Woodway) and Naji Moore-Taylor (Meadowdale), will try to break free in this excellent season-opening clash. A Meadowdale team loaded with experienced skill players should test E-W’s revamped squad.

Mike Cane’s pick: Meadowdale 27, Edmonds-Woodway 24

John McDonald’s pick: Edmonds-Woodway 28, Meadowdale 21

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Edmonds-Woodway 24, Meadowdale 14

Lynden at Archbishop Murphy

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Terry Ennis Stadium

Quick slant: Many reasons to watch this one. For starters, this is Murphy’s first outing since it was forced to forfeit its final eight games last season. It’s also the team’s debut with new head coach Dave Ward, who brings more of an aerial attack to a program traditionally known for its ground-obsessed offense. Plus, Murphy and Lynden are among the top 20 in the MaxPreps preseason state rankings, regardless of classification.

Mike Cane’s pick: Archbishop Murphy 28, Lynden 27

John McDonald’s pick: Archbishop Murphy 35, Lynden 21

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Archbishop Murphy 45, Lynden 24

Kamiak at Snohomish

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium

Quick slant: Remember the name Ray Purviance. Snohomish coach Mark Perry was very excited about the senior running back after the team returned from a summer team camp. Purviance and other ball carriers will be stalked by hard-hitting Kamiak linebacker Marcel Seely, back from a serious knee injury.

Mike Cane’s pick: Snohomish 20, Kamiak 14

John McDonald’s pick: Snohomish 28, Kamiak 27

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Snohomish 21, Kamiak 20 OT

Cascade at Oak Harbor

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Wildcat Memorial Stadium

Quick slant: Change is the main theme here. When the Wildcats beat Cascade 21-7 last year during a regular-season finale in Oak Harbor, the winners had a different head coach (was Dave Ward; now is Jay Turner) and Wesco North positioning was a factor. Now Cascade is in the South, but this non-division game should still be entertaining.

Mike Cane’s pick: Cascade 15, Oak Harbor 14

John McDonald’s pick: Oak Harbor 20, Cascade 13

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Oak Harbor 33, Cascade 22

Lake Stevens at Mariner

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Goddard Stadium

Quick slant: Lake Stevens QB Nick Baker has experience and plenty of talented receivers to throw to, including speedster Colton Tupen. Mariner counters with a strong secondary led by tall, physical defensive backs Adrien Black (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) and Tevin Dillon (6-3, 170).

Mike Cane’s pick: Lake Stevens 28, Mariner 21

John McDonald’s pick: Mariner 21, Lake Stevens 20

Tom Lafferty’s pick: Mariner 14, Lake Stevens 7

Writer Mike Cane: mcane@heraldnet.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.

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