High school football returned for local teams with a full slate of action Friday night that offered no shortage of intrigue.
Among the many notable highlights: Monroe earned a signature victory in dramatic fashion, Marysville Pilchuck leaned on its defense to beat Snohomish, Cascade routed Everett to win the Battle of Broadway and reigning Class 4A state runner-up Lake Stevens opened with a thoroughly dominant performance.
Here’s a look back at the notable Week 1 storylines and stars across Snohomish County, as well as a look ahead at what’s to come.
MONROE RALLIES TO BEAT EASTLAKE IN OT THRILLER
After battling youth and inexperience last year while facing a gauntlet of state-playoff teams, Monroe entered this season hungry for a bounceback campaign.
The Bearcats got off to a strong start with Friday night’s comeback home victory.
Monroe rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and blocked an extra point in overtime to earn a signature 42-41 non-league win over Eastlake, which reached the Class 4A state playoffs last season.
The Bearcats trailed 28-14 at halftime after Eastlake senior quarterback Grady Robison — a Montana State University commit — tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half.
But Monroe rallied with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns from senior running back Blake Rybar, who scored on a 34-yard reception and a 1-yard run to tie the game at 28.
Then after an Eastlake touchdown early in the fourth, Rybar ran for a game-tying 7-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Eastlake scored on its overtime possession to take a 41-35 lead, but the Bearcats blocked the Wolves’ extra-point attempt.
Senior quarterback Gio Fregoso then rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on Monroe’s overtime possession and Jaiden Atterbury kicked the ensuing game-winning extra point to lift the Bearcats to victory.
Monroe’s dramatic win avenged last year’s 35-19 season-opening loss to Eastlake, which was one of the Bearcats’ five losses to state-playoff teams last year.
Monroe will look to build on its big opening victory as it faces two more 4A state-playoff teams from last season over the next two weeks. The Bearcats host reigning state semifinalist Woodinville next week, then travel to face reigning state runner-up Lake Stevens in their Week 3 conference opener.
MP DEFENSE SHINES IN WIN OVER SNOHOMISH
In last year’s season opener against Snohomish, Marysville Pilchuck relied on a powerful rushing attack.
This time, the Tomahawks leaned on their defense.
Marysville Pilchuck shut down defending Wesco 3A champion Snohomish for a 17-14 non-league road win Friday night. It was a sharp contrast from last year’s high-scoring matchup, when the Tomahawks rushed for 525 yards in a 63-34 rout of the Panthers.
“I was really impressed with our defense,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “Aside from a couple scramble plays from their quarterback, I thought we were able to hold them in check pretty well. I’m really happy with where we’re at right there.”
There was one major similarity to last year’s victory over Snohomish.
Dillon Kuk returned Friday’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, marking the second consecutive year the Tomahawks have started their season with a kickoff-return score against the Panthers. In last year’s meeting, Bryan Sanders returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
“It’s kind of like a tradition,” Kuk said.
Snohomish cut the deficit to 17-14 with a long third-quarter touchdown pass and drove the ball to the Marysville Pilchuck 28-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but the Tomahawks stopped the Panthers on fourth-and-2 and then ran out the clock to seal the victory.
“Marysville came out and made a couple more plays than we did,” Snohomish coach Joey Hammer said. “We have to keep our heads high and get that continued growth and keep that fire stoked.”
CASCADE WINS 3RD STRAIGHT BATTLE OF BROADWAY
Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan rushed for 334 yards and six touchdowns, leading Cascade to a 49-14 non-league rout of Everett in the annual Battle of Broadway rivalry game.
It was the Bruins’ third consecutive win over their city rival and their sixth in the past eight years. Cascade got to hoist the inaugural Mayor’s Cup, which was presented by Everett mayor Cassie Franklin after the game as a new tradition in the long-standing rivalry.
“It feels awesome,” Bruins coach Jordan Sieh said. “It’s such a special game, and for the community. It feels like a playoff game right out the get-go, and we really wanted to win this game.”
Murphy-Mcmillan averaged a whopping 16.7 yards per carry and ran for five first-half touchdowns, leading Cascade to a 42-14 halftime lead. The senior running back highlighted a Bruins Wing-T rushing attack that totaled 452 yards.
“I think in a 10-yard box, he is just as good as anybody in the state,” Sieh said. “I truly think he is a Division-I-caliber player. He’s our guy.”
Cascade’s blowout victory spoiled the head-coaching debut of Brien Elliott, who took over as Everett’s third head coach in three seasons.
LAKE STEVENS OPENS WITH RESOUNDING WIN
Lake Stevens entered its season opener missing three starting offensive linemen because of injuries. For most teams, that’d be an issue when facing a Ferndale squad led by University of Washington-bound two-way standout lineman Geirean Hatchett.
Not for the Vikings.
Lake Stevens showcased its vast array of talent and thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball with a 55-0 dismantling of the visiting Golden Eagles in Friday night’s non-league clash.
“I was impressed with our ability to come out and kind of impose our will on the line of scrimmage,” Vikings coach Tom Tri said. “We had a few injuries with our O- and D-line, and so we struggled a little bit this week at practice kind of moving some guys around to fill for a couple guys that were out. … Our young bucks really answered the bell.”
Entering with sky-high expectations after returning a slew of talent from last year’s 4A state runner-up team, Lake Stevens opened the season with a nearly flawless performance. The Vikings outgained Ferndale 550-43 in total yardage and scored touchdowns on all eight of their possessions, excluding a game-ending kneeldown.
Lake Stevens junior quarterback Tanner Jellison excelled in his first career varsity start, completing 18 of 21 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns — including a pair of long first-quarter scoring passes to Kasen Kinchen and Skyler Reyna.
“He looked like a savvy veteran out there,” Tri said.
The Vikings’ defense smothered Ferndale’s Wing-T attack, limiting the Golden Eagles to just 43 total yards — with 30 of those yards coming on one pass. Ferndale managed just 1.5 yards per play.
“I really thought our D-line controlled the line of scrimmage,” Tri said. “… And because (of that), our linebackers had free runs to the ball for most of the game.”
STANWOOD ROLLS PAST JACKSON
Stanwood built a 27-0 third-quarter lead and cruised to a 40-7 non-league victory over Jackson on Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. It certainly was an encouraging start to the season for the Spartans, who are coming off a 2-8 campaign.
Stanwood’s dominant win spoiled the head-coaching debut for Mason Siddick, who replaced longtime Jackson coach Joel Vincent.
LYNNWOOD SNAPS LOSING STREAK
Lynnwood beat Nathan Hale 26-14 on Friday night to end a 12-game losing streak and earn the program’s first win since October 2017.
After a breakthrough 2016 campaign that resulted in their first state-playoff berth in 21 years, the Royals went a combined 1-19 over the past two seasons.
WEEK 1 STARS
Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan, sr., Cascade
Murphy-McMillan gashed crosstown rival Everett, rushing for 334 yards and six TDs on 20 carries in the Bruins’ 49-14 victory.
Blake Rybar, sr., Monroe
Rybar totaled 236 yards and 5 TDs in the Bearcats’ 42-41 overtime win over Eastlake. He rushed for 166 yards and four TDs on 27 carries and added 70 yards and a TD on eight catches.
Gio Fregoso, sr., Monroe
Fregoso completed 34 of 48 passes for 390 yards and a TD in the Bearcats’ overtime victory over Eastlake.
Efton Chism III, sr., Monroe
The Eastern Washington University-bound receiver caught 13 passes for 206 yards in the Bearcats’ overtime win over Eastlake.
Tanner Jellison, jr., Lake Stevens
In his first career varsity start, Jellison completed 18 of 21 passes for 298 yards and three TDs in the Vikings’ 55-0 rout of Ferndale.
Lake Stevens defense
The Vikings bottled up Ferndale’s Wing-T rushing attack and yielded just 43 yards of total offense in their shutout of the Golden Eagles.
Jacob Kramer, soph., Arlington
Kramer ran for 203 yards and two TDs on 25 carries in the Eagles’ 35-7 win over Mariner.
Isaac Ortega, jr., Stanwood
Ortega rushed for a 93-yard TD and finished with 116 yards on five carries in the Spartans’ 40-7 rout of Jackson. He also caught four passes for 46 yards and a TD and recorded an interception on defense.
Jordan Justice, sr., Marysville Pilchuck
Justice rushed for 149 yards and a TD on 19 carries in the Tomahawks’ 17-14 win over Snohomish.
Spencer Osborn, sr., Shorewood
Osborn rushed for 114 yards and two TDs on nine carries in the Thunderbirds’ 42-14 rout of Granite Falls. He also threw a TD pass and added a 37-yard interception return for a TD.
Jared Taylor, sr., Lakewood
Taylor accounted for 407 total yards and five TDs in the Cougars’ 42-14 rout of King’s. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 222 yards and 2 TDs, and ran for 185 yards and 3 TDs on 12 carries.
Carson Chrisman, jr., Lakewood
Chrisman hauled in three passes for 128 yards and 2 TDs — including an 80-yarder in the first quarter — in the Cougars’ rout of King’s.
NEXT WEEK’S BIG GAMES
Glacier Peak vs. Snohomish, 7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Grizzlies and Panthers square off in their annual non-league crosstown rivalry game. Glacier Peak has won all seven meetings since the schools began playing in 2012, including a 36-28 victory last year.
Lake Stevens at Lincoln, 7 p.m. Friday. The Vikings travel to Tacoma for a non-league showdown against talent-laden Lincoln, which reached the 3A state playoffs last season and features five of the state’s top 90 senior recruits according to 247Sports. Lake Stevens rolled past Lincoln 38-21 in last year’s Week 2 clash.
Woodinville at Monroe, 7 p.m. Friday. After opening their season with an overtime win over Eastlake, the Bearcats host another KingCo 4A state-playoff team from last year. Woodinville routed Monroe 38-14 in last season’s Week 2 meeting and went on to reach the 4A state semifinals.
Squalicum at Arlington, 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles open league play against defending Wesco 3A North champion Squalicum, which has won two of the past three league titles since joining as a football-only member in 2016. Arlington looks to avenge last year’s 42-21 loss to the Storm.
Archbishop Murphy at Hockinson, 7 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats travel to southwest Washington for a non-league showdown against two-time defending 2A state champion Hockinson, which routed Archbishop Murphy 42-13 in last year’s Week 2 clash. These two teams have combined for the last three 2A state titles.