Stanwood couldn’t get its high-powered Wing-T rushing attack going during its 28-7 loss to Ferndale in last Friday night’s de facto Wesco 3A North title game. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Stanwood couldn’t get its high-powered Wing-T rushing attack going during its 28-7 loss to Ferndale in last Friday night’s de facto Wesco 3A North title game. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Post-Week 8 prep football takeaways from across Snohomish County

Stanwood ran into a matchup nightmare, Monroe’s offense showed its balance, and more.

Last Friday night, the Wesco 3A North and Wesco 3A South titles were decided. This week, the Wesco 4A and Wesco 3A champions will be crowned. And plenty of Week 10 playoff spots will be up for grabs.

Following the Week 8 action and heading into a big Week 9 slate, here are four takeaways from the Snohomish County high school football scene:

FERNDALE PROVED TO BE A MATCHUP NIGHTMARE FOR STANWOOD

After running wild on opponents through its 7-0 start, Stanwood’s high-scoring Wing-T rushing attack finally met its match when it faced Ferndale in last Friday night’s de facto Wesco 3A North title game. The Class 3A sixth-ranked Spartans entered the game averaging 397 yards on the ground and had reached at least 292 yards rushing in every game, but it was a far different story against Ferndale, which seemingly had the perfect combination of personnel and experience to give the Spartans problems. The Golden Eagles’ massive group in the trenches simply overwhelmed a smaller Stanwood line. Ferndale’s staring four defensive linemen weigh in at an average of 278 pounds, while the Spartans’ starting five on the offensive line average 216 pounds. On top of that, the Golden Eagles are plenty familiar with defending the Wing-T since they run the same offense.

The result was a season-low 104 yards on a paltry 3.0 yards per carry and a 28-7 loss for the Spartans. The big run plays that have been a signature of the offense never materialized, as none of the team’s carries went for more than 19 yards and 11 went for no gain or a loss. They also had trouble handling the ball in the wet weather early, fumbling on third down on their first three drives. Stanwood lost only one of those fumbles, but the miscues ultimately stalled drives and helped Ferndale race out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead.

As Stanwood coach Jeff Scoma pointed out after the game, one loss doesn’t define a season. He used last year’s Marysville Pilchuck team as an example. The Tomahawks, who put up huge point totals behind a high-powered running game, also lost a regular season game to a top Wesco 3A North team in similar fashion. MP went on to make it to the state semifinals. “Nobody will remember the loss if you get to the championship game,” Scoma said. “That’s the bottom line and that’ll be the focus.”

— Zac Hereth

MONROE SHOWED ITS BALANCE WITH BIG NIGHT ON THE GROUND

Beau Pruett led the way as the Bearcats rushed for a season-high 338 yards in their 49-7 rout of Snohomish. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Beau Pruett led the way as the Bearcats rushed for a season-high 338 yards in their 49-7 rout of Snohomish. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s high-powered spread offense has lit up scoreboards this fall, averaging more than 50 points per game during the Bearcats’ dominant 8-0 start. Much of the damage has come through the air, led by three-star junior quarterback Blake Springer. But the Bearcats’ rushing attack has been highly effective too. And in last Friday night’s de facto Wesco 3A South title game, with the rain falling and Snohomish gearing up to stop the pass, 3A seventh-ranked Monroe showed just how dangerous it can be on the ground.

The Bearcats piled up 338 yards rushing and 9.9 yards per carry, while rolling to a 49-7 rout that advanced them to next week’s Wesco 3A championship game against Ferndale. Standout sophomore running back Beau Pruett led the way with 127 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. It was yet another big game for the speedy and elusive back, who has totaled 1,323 yards and 21 TDs this season as both the team’s leading rusher and leading receiver. But it wasn’t just the Pruett show. Gavin Ranz, a junior, added 118 yards and two TDs on 10 carries. And lightning-quick sophomore Mason Davis chipped in 67 yards on three carries. The backfield trio combined for six runs of at least 20 yards, including three of more than 35 yards.

From here on, the competition level will certainly ramp up for Monroe, which cruised through the Wesco 3A South. But the Bearcats’ rushing success last Friday was another great sign for their high-octane offense. They’ve proved to be explosive in both facets, averaging 10.6 yards per pass attempt this season and 9.4 yards per carry. “We try to be balanced,” Monroe coach Scott Darrow said. “I know we’ve got (a talented quarterback) throwing the ball, but our run game is pretty phenomenal. We’ve got some guys that can really tote the rock. And our offensive line is really underrated. So yeah, we can do a lot of things.”

— Cameron Van Til

IT’S BEEN A YEAR OF BLOWOUTS IN WESCO

If it seems like there have been a lot of lopsided games in Wesco this season, well, your hunch is correct. Between Wesco’s three leagues — Wesco 4A, the Wesco 3A North and the Wesco 3A South — there have been 49 league matchups this fall. The average margin in those games? A whopping 26.1 points. And of those 49 games, just five were decided by single digits. Nearly one-quarter of Wesco’s league contests had a margin of 40-plus points, 37% had a margin of 30-plus points and 71% had a margin of 20-plus points.

The most competitive of the three leagues was the Wesco 3A North, which had a 21-point average margin and accounted for four of the aforementioned five single-digit league games. The Wesco 3A South had an average margin of 26.7 points, with only one of its 21 league games decided by single digits. And Wesco 4A has had an average margin of 39.7 points, with all seven of its league games decided by 21-plus points. Wesco 4A’s numbers should decrease a bit after its final two league games this week, with Glacier Peak-Lake Stevens and Kamiak-Mariner both expected to be competitive matchups. But Wesco 4A’s numbers also don’t include Jackson’s forfeited game against Lake Stevens, which likely would’ve been another lopsided contest.

In recent years, some conferences across the state have experimented with tiered systems for football, where teams are separated into competitively balanced divisions within their league. There certainly are challenges that come with that — such as accurately assigning teams to the correct divisions and creating a fair playoff format. But given the sheer number of mismatches under Wesco’s current setup, it’s probably an idea that’s at least worth exploring.

— Cameron Van Til

STAGE IS SET FOR A BIG WEEK 9

Glacier Peak and Lake Stevens will square off for the Wesco 4A crown in Friday night’s highly anticipated showdown of state title contenders. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Glacier Peak and Lake Stevens will square off for the Wesco 4A crown in Friday night’s highly anticipated showdown of state title contenders. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

All season long, 4A top-ranked Glacier Peak and 4A fifth-ranked Lake Stevens have been on a collision course. And now, the stage is officially set. The Grizzlies and Vikings will square off for the Wesco 4A title Friday night in what’s likely one of the biggest regular-season matchups in recent Snohomish County prep football history. Eight-time defending Wesco 4A champion Lake Stevens is looking to continue its league dominance and extend its 53-game conference win streak. Glacier Peak is looking to take down the mighty Vikings and claim its first-ever Wesco 4A crown. And with both teams among the top contenders for the 4A state title, it should be an excellent barometer of where they stand heading into the postseason.

But Glacier Peak-Lake Stevens is far from the only big game on the local Week 9 slate. In the Wesco 3A title game, South champion Monroe faces North champion Ferndale in what should feature a fascinating contrast of offensive styles. In another non-elimination Wesco 3A crossover matchup, North No. 2 seed Stanwood faces South No. 2 seed Snohomish. In a rare Wednesday game, unbeaten independent Cascade faces Wesco 3A South No. 5 seed Shorewood for a trip to the weekend’s Wesco 3A crossover round. That’ll set the stage for a trio of Wesco 3A crossover Week 10 play-in games: North No. 3 seed Arlington versus the Cascade-Shorewood winner, North No. 4 seed Marysville Pilchuck versus South No. 4 seed Mountlake Terrace and North No. 5 seed Oak Harbor versus South No. 3 seed Edmonds-Woodway. And in Wesco 4A, district rivals Mariner and Kamiak square off for the league’s third and final Week 10 playoff berth.

Buckle up, as it should be an exciting week of high school football throughout the area.

— Cameron Van Til

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