The Snohomish County high school football season is officially at its midway point. Here are two takeaways following the Week 5 slate, plus several additional nuggets:
STANWOOD ACHIEVES ANOTHER MILESTONE WITH STILLY CUP WIN
Stanwood keeps knocking milestones off the list. Last year, the Spartans broke through under new coach Jeff Scoma and caught fire down the stretch, upsetting Lincoln-Tacoma in the Class 3A Week 10 playoffs to earn their first winning season in 15 years and their first state berth in 25 years. This year, with nearly their entire starting lineup back from last season’s breakthrough team, Stanwood has picked up right where it left off. The Spartans have rolled to a 5-0 start, outscoring opponents by 28.6 points per game with their high-powered Wing-T rushing attack and stout defense. And they achieved another significant feat last Friday night, when they cruised past Arlington 37-6 to win their first Stilly Cup since 2009 and snap a 12-game losing streak to their archrival.
Stanwood (5-0, 4-0 Wesco 3A North) once again looked like a legitimate 3A state top-10 team, dominating the Eagles (3-2, 2-2) on both sides of the ball while piling up a 507-207 advantage in total yardage. Star senior back Ryder Bumgarner powered through tackles and dragged defenders along for extra yardage all night, running for 246 yards and two touchdowns in yet another big performance. But it wasn’t just the Bumgarner show. Fellow senior backs Otto Wiedmann and Carson Beckt combined for another 170 yards on the ground, teaming with Bumgarner to provide a three-headed monster in the backfield. And while the Spartans’ offense has garnered most of the attention this fall, it was another impressive showing for a Stanwood defense that’s allowed just 7.8 points per game. The Spartans came up with four defensive takeaways and kept Arlington’s pass-heavy spread attack in check, yielding six points or fewer for the third time in five contests. And the scary part for future opponents? Stanwood still has room to improve, as evidenced by the 100 penalty yards it racked up Friday night.
The Spartans have a big non-league test this week, when they travel to southwest Washington to take on perennial 4A state power Union (2-3). Stanwood then faces league foe Marysville Getchell (1-4, 1-2) on Oct. 14 before squaring off against Ferndale (3-2, 3-0) in a massive Oct. 21 regular-season finale that likely will determine the Wesco 3A North crown. For the Spartans’ rapidly ascending program, a league title is the next milestone they’re eyeing. “Our goals (were) to win the Stilly Cup, win Wesco and then make a run in the playoffs,” Bumgarner said. “So we’ve got one down, and (now) we’re on to the next.”
CASCADE CLEARS BIG HURDLE IN QUEST FOR POSTSEASON BERTH
As an independent team, Cascade entered this season with only one path to the playoffs: Running the table. Through five weeks, that possibility is becoming very real. The Bruins improved to 5-0 and cleared one of the toughest hurdles on their schedule last Friday night, rolling past Oak Harbor for a dominant 39-14 win. Cascade is now just three victories away from a perfect 8-0 mark, which would earn the Bruins a Week 9 play-in matchup against the Wesco 3A South’s No. 5 seed — likely either Shorewood (2-3), Shorecrest (1-4) or Lynnwood (0-5). The winner of that game would then advance to Wesco 3A’s Week 9 crossover round, which determines berths to the winner-to-state Week 10 playoffs.
Cascade, which is in the second season of a two-year independent cycle, has had a relatively light schedule. The Bruins’ victories have come against Marysville Getchell (1-4), Newport-Bellevue (1-4), Inglemoor (2-3), Jackson (0-5) and Oak Harbor (0-5). However, Cascade is averaging 42 points per game in its Wing-T rushing attack and has won four of its five contests by at least 19 points. And the Bruins have handily beaten a pair of Wesco 3A North foes, defeating Marysville Getchell 41-21 in Week 1 and cruising past Oak Harbor last week. For context, Marysville Pilchuck and Arlington are battling for the No. 3 seed in the Wesco 3A North. And Marysville Pilchuck only beat Oak Harbor 21-19, while Arlington only beat Marysville Getchell 21-14. If Cascade was in the Wesco 3A North or Wesco 3A South this year, it could reasonably contend for a third-place finish in either league. In other words, the Bruins aren’t your typical independent team.
Cascade still has work left to do. Over their next three games, the Bruins face a trio of fellow independents in crosstown rival Everett (1-4), Meadowdale (1-4) and Cedarcrest (5-0). Cascade should be a definite favorite over both Everett and Meadowdale, but unbeaten Cedarcrest could pose an interesting challenge in Week 8. Cedarcrest has routed a pair of Wesco 3A South teams, beating Shorewood 42-14 and blanking Shorecrest 42-0. Yet, given how the Bruins have looked so far, they probably would be a slight favorite over Cedarcrest too. It’s not often that an independent team reaches the postseason, but Cascade has a legitimate chance to pull off the rare feat.
— Meadowdale snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 43-7 rout of Foss last Friday night. It was the Mavericks’ first win since a 13-7 victory over Lynnwood on March 19, 2021. Meadowdale (1-4), which is playing an independent schedule this season, had scored just 34 points combined in its previous four games.
— In perhaps the week’s biggest surprise, Edmonds-Woodway got quite a scare from Shorewood during a 25-14 win last Thursday night. The Warriors (2-3, 2-1 Wesco 3A South) trailed 14-12 early in the fourth quarter, but rallied past the Stormrays (2-3, 1-3) with a pair of long TD passes by junior quarterback Steven Warren Jr. to avoid the upset.
— Darrington is off to a 5-0 start after rallying from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to beat Lummi Nation 46-36 on Saturday. The Loggers, who moved from 2B down to the 1B eight-man level in 2018, already have their most wins in a season since 2013. Darrington has a big league test coming up when it hosts 1B second-ranked Neah Bay (4-0) on Friday night.