Kyle Larson and Snohomish pulled away to beat Edmonds-Woodway and solidify themselves as the top challenger to Monroe in the Wesco 3A South title race. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kyle Larson and Snohomish pulled away to beat Edmonds-Woodway and solidify themselves as the top challenger to Monroe in the Wesco 3A South title race. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Post-Week 4 prep football takeaways from across Snohomish County

Lake Stevens and GP suffer out-of-state losses, Monroe’s offense keeps rolling and Snohomish picks up a key league win.

The Snohomish County high school football season is nearing its midway point. Here are four takeaways following the Week 4 slate:

Lake Stevens’ up-and-down start continues with blowout loss to Oregon powerhouse

Just two weeks after beating defending 3A state champion Bellevue, the Vikings traveled to the Portland area and suffered a blowout loss to Oregon powerhouse West Linn. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Just two weeks after beating defending 3A state champion Bellevue, the Vikings traveled to the Portland area and suffered a blowout loss to Oregon powerhouse West Linn. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

It was a stunning result, to say the least: West Linn 45, Lake Stevens 6. Usually, the perennial powerhouse Vikings are the ones cruising past their opponents and rolling to lopsided victories. But this past Friday night in suburban Portland, Class 4A top-ranked Lake Stevens found itself on the other side of a dominant beatdown.

Oregon 6A state power West Linn thoroughly walloped the Vikings, racing to a 42-0 halftime lead and a 45-0 third-quarter advantage. Washington State-bound three-star quarterback Sam Leavitt and the Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first six possessions, while shredding the Vikings’ defense for an astounding 434 total yards in the first half. Lake Stevens (2-2) didn’t fare much better on the other side of the ball, going scoreless until the game’s final five minutes. And to make matters worse, Vikings star running back and Notre Dame-bound senior Jayden Limar exited the game after reportedly suffering an injury late in the first half. It all added up to Lake Stevens’ largest defeat since a 42-0 loss to Skyline in the first round of the 2012 4A state playoffs.

The blowout defeat was another twist in what’s been an up-and-down start to the Vikings’ brutally tough non-league gauntlet. Lake Stevens opened with a mistake-filled 26-16 loss to 3A seventh-ranked Garfield, while shooting itself in the foot with four second-half turnovers and a pair of scoreless trips inside the 5-yard line. But the Vikings rebounded with a major statement in Week 2, looking every bit the part of a state title favorite in their impressive 37-28 win over defending 3A state champion Bellevue. And they were their usual dominant selves in Week 3, rolling past Federal Way for a 63-21 rout. Yet after what transpired Friday night, Lake Stevens is certainly facing some question marks.

Glacier Peak’s defense shines, offense struggles in narrow loss to strong California foe

The Grizzlies suffered a tough two-point loss in Northern California, but remain in good position following a strong 3-1 start. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The Grizzlies suffered a tough two-point loss in Northern California, but remain in good position following a strong 3-1 start. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Similar to Wesco 4A rival Lake Stevens, Glacier Peak traveled out of state and lost to a formidable foe. This one, however, was a narrow defeat. The 4A second-ranked Grizzlies surrendered 16 unanswered fourth-quarter points and fell 16-14 to Rocklin, a strong Sacramento-area team in Northern California that advanced to its sectional title game last season.

The good news for Glacier Peak? Its defense delivered a stellar performance. The Grizzlies (3-1) held Rocklin scoreless until a pair of fourth-quarter TDs, one of which came on a trick-play double pass. Glacier Peak also came up with four defensive takeaways, including a long fumble return TD. But it was a rough night on the other side of the ball, with the Grizzlies’ high-powered offense mustering just seven points and 150 total yards. And in the game’s closing minutes, Glacier Peak made a series of costly mistakes on offense and special teams. A penalty and a sack pushed the Grizzlies back to their own 5-yard line, and Rocklin took advantage by blocking the ensuing punt out of the end zone for a game-winning safety.

It was no doubt a tough loss for Glacier Peak, especially after blowing a 14-0 fourth-quarter lead. But there were plenty of positives on defense and learning opportunities on offense. And down the road, when it comes to state playoff seeding in the wide-open 4A, a two-point loss to a strong out-of-state opponent nearly 800 miles away shouldn’t hurt the Grizzlies. Just four weeks into the season, nine of the top 10 teams in the Associated Press 4A state rankings have already lost at least one game.

Monroe’s high-powered offense is firing on all cylinders

Led by three-star quarterback Blake Springer, the Bearcats are averaging 54.5 points per game. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Led by three-star quarterback Blake Springer, the Bearcats are averaging 54.5 points per game. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Through four weeks, Monroe’s high-octane spread offense looks every bit as good as advertised.

Led by three-star junior quarterback Blake Springer and speedy sophomore running back Beau Pruett, the 3A 10th-ranked Bearcats have lit up the scoreboard with 54.5 points per game in blowout victories over Roosevelt, Shorecrest, Kamiak and Lynnwood. Monroe (4-0, 2-0 Wesco 3A South) is averaging 44 first-half points per contest, including a whopping 49 first-quarter points and 70 first-half points in its 70-26 demolition of winless Lynnwood last Friday night.

The talented Springer is off to a strong start, completing 71% of his passes for 969 yards, 14 TDs and two interceptions. Pruett has been an explosive playmaker both as a runner and receiver, totaling 766 yards and 11 TDs while averaging 9.3 yards per carry and 28.2 yards per catch. And six different Bearcats have hauled in TD receptions, led by Pruett with seven and senior Trent Bublitz with four.

The one caveat is Monroe’s light opening schedule, with its first four opponents being a combined 2-14. But the Bearcats thoroughly dismantled all four teams, including a 44-14 rout of a Kamiak squad that reached last year’s 4A Week 10 playoffs. It’s still early, but Monroe certainly hasn’t done anything to diminish its status as the Wesco 3A South favorite. And with this high-powered offense, the Bearcats look capable of making some serious noise come postseason.

Snohomish solidifies itself as Monroe’s top Wesco 3A South challenger

Mason Orgill ran for five touchdowns in the Panthers’ key win over Edmonds-Woodway. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mason Orgill ran for five touchdowns in the Panthers’ key win over Edmonds-Woodway. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

In a battle of teams looking to contend with Monroe for the Wesco 3A South crown, Snohomish pulled away to beat Edmonds-Woodway 43-27 last Friday night and stake its claim as the Bearcats’ top challenger. “We had to get this win to work our way toward Monroe,” Panthers senior standout Mason Orgill said.

It was a true team effort for Snohomish (3-1, 3-0 Wesco 3A South), which came through in all three phases of the game. Orgill led the Panthers’ rushing attack with 146 yards and five TDs on 10 carries, including a 38-yard scoring run and a 47-yard gain that led to a field goal. Snohomish’s defense came up with three takeaways in the final 13 minutes, including a pair of pivotal interception returns by senior Cole Taylor that helped stretch a narrow two-point lead to 36-21. And senior Caleb Podoll made an impact on special teams with a 40-yard field goal and his rugby-style punts, including one that was mishandled by Edmonds-Woodway and recovered at the 1-yard line to set up the Panthers’ final score.

With the victory, Snohomish cleared its toughest remaining league hurdle until facing Monroe in a potential de facto Wesco 3A South title game on Oct. 21. The Panthers will be heavy favorites over Lynnwood and Shorewood in their next two league games, putting them in prime position to take a 5-0 Wesco 3A South record into that massive regular-season finale showdown against the Bearcats.

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