PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Archbishop Murphy missing five starters

Think the Seahawks have injury problems? Check out Archbishop Murphy’s backfield.

Five players who were starters for the second-ranked Wildcats this this season — most of them in the offensive backfield — are out with injuries.

The most painful blow for Murphy (4-0 Cascade Conference, 5-1 overall) is the loss of leading rusher Alex Martinez, who hurt his collarbone last week against Lakewood. Martinez — a strong, fast senior who has rushed for 763 yards and six touchdowns — had his shoulder in a sling this week and is out for tonight’s huge conference battle with Cedarcrest (4-0, 6-0), Archbishop Murphy coach Dave Ward said.

Martinez, hurt after getting tackled from behind, could be out a few weeks, Ward said Thursday. Murphy running backs Randy Gordon (foot), Caleb Smith (ankle) and Alex Kramer (ankle) are also out with injuries.

What does it mean for Murphy, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A by the Tacoma News Tribune?

“Fortunately the O-line and the D-line have been a strength for us this year and we’ve had minimal injuries there,” Ward said. “So it’s a matter of playing younger, more inexperienced guys (in the backfield).”

Murphy’s game tonight against unbeaten Cedarcrest at Terry Ennis Stadium will help determine the conference champion and seeding for the 2A playoffs. Murphy has outscored foes 222-89, Cedarcrest 210-106.

“We’re impressed with Cedarcrest. They’re undefeated for a reason,” Ward said. “They run the ball well (and) they’ve got the ability to throw. When they do throw, they get big plays out of it.”

Cedarcrest uses a Wing-T offense, like Murphy, but doesn’t pass as often as the Wildcats. The Red Wolves’ top weapon is bruiser Jacob Kriegbaum (995 yards, 10.2 yards per carry). The senior fullback/linebacker is “a straight-ahead runner,” Ward said, “but you’ve got to gang tackle him because he’s going to break tackles if you don’t.”

“Defensively, they’re real physical,” Ward said of Cedarcrest, which beat Granite Falls 40-13 last week. “They hit and gang tackle well, so we’re expecting a serious challenge and we’ll need to be at our best.”

Kriegbaum well-rested

Murphy defenders know they must wrap up the powerful Kriegbaum (5-foot-10, 195 pounds). But it’s no easy task. “He runs the ball hard and he’s like a bowling ball when he gets the football. He runs over people,” Cedarcrest coach Jason Frederick said.

Kriegbaum should be well-rested. He had just seven carries last week and didn’t play offense after the first quarter in Cedarcrest’s decisive win.

GP seniors help out

Instead of watching college football all day last Saturday, seniors on the Glacier Peak football team — about two dozen of them — volunteered at the Everett Gospel Mission. Donating four hours of time, the Grizzlies painted a large multipurpose room that serves as the men’s shelter. Players met men who use the shelter and were reminded of the importance of making good choices, “It was a good experience for them,” GP coach Rory Rosenbach said.

Grizzly out with swine flu

Glacier Peak’s Ben Kaestner, a two-year starter and senior co-captain, has swine flu and will miss the Grizzlies’ game tonight against Everett, coach Rosenbach said. The linebacker/safety/running back missed practice Tuesday because of illness and found out he had swine flu on Wednesday. Kaestner is home and might not play again until Glacier Peak’s game against Shorecrest on Oct. 29. “It hurts,” Rosenbach said, “because (Kaestner) does a great job. He provides an emotional spark for the guys, like the Energizer Bunny.”

Bruins’ stingy ‘D’ returns

Last year the Cascade Bruins, traditionally known for their great defense, allowed 22.6 points per game during a disappointing 5-5 season. But this fall Cascade (5-1) has enjoyed a return to form, limiting its opponents to 11.3 points per game. Senior linebacker Anthony Barton (6-0, 248 pounds) is “the heart and soul of that defense,” Cascade coach Jake Huizinga said. Huizinga also praised Bruins defensive coordinator Nick Clovsky for preparing players every week and keeping them fundamentally sound.

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