Stanwood’s Silas Turpin runs the ball during drills at practice Friday in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Stanwood’s Silas Turpin runs the ball during drills at practice Friday in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

New group hopes to keep rising Stanwood a force

After the exodus of many key seniors, the Spartans sport a strong junior class with hopes of a third straight state berth.

STANWOOD — The Stanwood High School football team looks to build on its past two seasons of success.

The Spartans come into 2023 searching for several replacements for key players graduated from last season’s squad, which punched a ticket into the Class 3A quarterfinals for their second straight state tournament appearance.

Third-year head coach Jeff Scoma and newly hired defensive coordinator Ken Alexander, who previously coached at Mount Vernon and Marysville Pilchuck, plan to integrate some new varsity talent along with some promising returning upperclassmen.

“These guys have been winners from the youth program on up,” Scoma said. “Our junior class was undefeated in their freshman year and really just dominated everybody. They’ve just been stuck behind a big senior group over the last year.”

Stanwood will return a 6-foot-2 third-year quarterback in Luke Brennan, alongside junior running back and safety Canyon Bumgarner, the younger brother of star two-way threat Ryder Bumgarner, who rushed for just under 2,500 yards with 25 touchdowns as a senior in 2022.

The Spartans also welcome back senior defensive back Max Mayo, who nabbed four interceptions in 2022 and was a first-team All-Wesco 3A North choice.

Sophomores and 300-plus pound linemen Memphys Ellis and Jede Tuato’o add some unquestioned size to the front line, with linebacker and running back Cruise Swanson as another potential impact player from the junior class.

“They’re ready to go,” Scoma said of his junior class. “This’ll be their third year in the Wing-T, so in a lot of ways they have some advantages. Our depth, overall skill level, size and speed … I think this team is gonna surprise a lot of people, we won’t surprise ourselves, but we’ll surprise some people that just don’t know some of the names.”

Stanwood head coach Jeff Scoma runs his players through drills during practice Friday in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Stanwood head coach Jeff Scoma runs his players through drills during practice Friday in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

After back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 40 years, Stanwood’s rise as a premier contender in Wesco 3A North seems likely to continue this fall, with Ferndale and Arlington as two other potential major threats to a league title.

Scoma said the past two seasons have been big culture-shifting seasons which resulted in a recording-breaking number of rostered players.

“I think once you start to see that success breeds culture, you build the culture but it also gets reinforced by being successful,” Scoma said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a business or in football. It’s really a credit to the kids, they’ve bought in and put in the hard work.”

With a proven Wing-T offensive format that has been an incredibly effective scheme for the Spartans, who have won 15 of their last 19 games dating back to 2021, Scoma is confident that the continued development of his newer group will carry on as a competitive bunch with hopes of a third state playoff appearance in a row.

“We have a big challenge ahead of us,” Scoma said. “Like I said, these guys have been winners throughout their freshmen and sophomore years, so I kinda expect that to continue. We have a lot of work to make that happen, but our goal is to be a top-five seed in the state of Washington. It’s not just Wesco, it’s also what we can do beyond that.”

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