Grizzlies’ Palmer steps into spotlight as GP’s main back

SNOHOMISH — It has been said that good things come to those who wait.

For fans of that cliche, Glacier Peak running back Michael Palmer’s story is a good example.

The senior running back is one of the leaders on a Grizzlies team that plays Marysville Pilchuck on Friday night for the Wesco 3A championship. Palmer is 96 yards shy of becoming the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season — and this is his first year as a full-time starter. Palmer spent his first year of high school on the freshman team and played a limited role on varsity in his sophomore and junior seasons.

“It was a long process,” Palmer said. “I thought if I just kept working hard all the time and it also helped looking up to the people that were ahead of me, taking in what they do wrong and what they do right every year. I just took all that in and eventually displayed that when I got to my senior year, when I got the chance to show what I have. And it’s going well. …

“I knew everyone gets their own shot at one point,” Palmer said.

For a breakdown of Friday’s Wesco 3A championship game, click here

It is his work ethic and persistence that Grizzlies coach Rory Rosenbach said has led Palmer to where he is. But that doesn’t mean the road was always smooth.

“He was frustrated,” Rosenbach said.

Frustrated maybe, but Palmer never stopped working. He worked on conditioning and strength in the offseason and his understanding of the offensive schemes continued to improve.

Last season he got his first start at running back against Marysville Getchell, rushing for nearly 200 yards.

Palmer said he believes that is the night he caught the attention of the coaching staff.

“I got to play a lot of that game and I had a really good game and I think that really made them notice me,” Palmer said. “And also how hard I was working in the weight room because during the summer. I was always the last or second to last person to leave the weight room. And the weight coach definitely noticed that.”

But Rosenbach noticed Palmer long before that game against Marysville Getchell.

“He might think that, but I’ve known since he was a freshman that this kid is a really good athlete,” Rosenbach said. “He fumbled as a freshman a lot. That was kind of his issue. He was there with Sean (Elledge) and Quinton (Dunbar). Those were kind of the big-play guys and he kind of got lost in the shuffle. He did some good things, but he kind of got lost in the shuffle.

“To be honest, when I really noticed him was the end of his freshman year. He was running track and I was working a track meet and he was long jumping. You could tell that since the end of football season that he had worked hard because his body looked different. He looked like an athlete. He could run. He was a long jumper. He was a good athlete. That was kind of the moment that I was like, who’s this guy?’”

Now Palmer is “the guy”. Shouldering nearly the entire rushing load for the Grizzlies, he has rushed for 904 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

“He’s been huge for us,” Rosenbach said. “Obviously the ability to lean on a guy and have that running game that’s consistent has been huge for us early in the year and even more so as we get into the weather and the playoff run.”

Palmer is focused on what he can do to help his team win games, but he admits that reaching 1,000 yards is something he has thought about.

“That has been my goal since the start of the season, to hit 1,000 yards,” Palmer said. “That would make me ecstatic if I did because that’s always what determines a good running back — if they hit 1,000 yards. And that would be really awesome if I can.”

All the hard work that Palmer has put in appears to have paid off and it isn’t just the coaching staff that has taken notice. His teammates have too. Grizzlies offensive lineman David Cho praised Palmer’s work ethic and leadership.

“I think he is a big part of our success since he is one the team leaders on offense,” Cho said.

“I really thought they did notice because I practice with them every day and they could tell that it was translating well into the games and into the weight room,” Palmer said.

Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kenai Sinaphet takes the hand off from head coach, Dalton Schwetz, during practice Wednesday afternoon at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on August 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Fresh start’ for Marysville Pilchuck under new coach Schwetz

The Tomahawks begin practice without longtime coach Brandon Carson, who stepped down following last year’s playoff run.

Stanwood's Ryder Bumgarner rushes with yardage with Arlington's Trenton Lamie, left, closing in the third quarter Friday night at Stanwood High School on September 24, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football: 5 storylines to watch this season

A look at some intriguing questions as local high school football practices get underway.

The Central Welding Supply 125, which serves as the season finale at Evergreen Speedway, will attempt to run on Saturday, after being bumped postponed last weekend due to weather.
Community roundup: ARCA West comes to Evergreen Speedway

Plus, a host of local collegians earn preseason honors, Jake Luton gets released by the Jaguars and more.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox fall to Canadians in slugfest

Everett loses 12-8 as the two teams combine for 30 hits.

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Raleigh homers twice, Mariners top Angels to complete sweep

Seattle hits four total home runs in an 11-7 win over Los Angeles.

Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn directs her team during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Las Vegas Aces, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)
Can 2nd-year coach Quinn lead Storm to 5th WNBA title?

Seattle’s postseason gets underway at home against Washington on Thursday night.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Carroll laments lost chance for Lock, Seahawks due to COVID

The QB will miss an opportunity to start Thursday’s preseason game after getting the virus for the second time.

People explore Everett Memorial Stadium’s new turf and track during an open house event Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett Memorial Stadium reopens with new-look field, track

The facility, which originally opened in 1947, underwent renovations this summer.

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Kraken’s new AHL affiliate set to play game in Everett

The Coachella Valley Firebirds take the ice at Angel of the Winds Arena on Oct. 28.

Most Read