Last season: 5-5, 3-4 in conference play
Coach: Jordan Sieh (1st season)
Key players: Junior Due, sr., RB/DB; Freddy Girault, sr., WR/DB; Jordan Harris, jr., RB/DB; Davanta Murphy, jr., RB/DB; Max Nelson, sr., RB/LB; Chris Rabideau, sr., OL/DL; Josh Velhagen, sr., RB/DL
Outlook: Sieh, who helped lead the Bruins to the state semifinals as a player in 2005, takes over as head coach at his alma mater after spending the past seven seasons as a Cascade assistant. Sieh looks to build off the success of last year’s five-win campaign, which matched the program’s win total from the previous two seasons combined. Cascade made a significant improvement offensively last year, increasing its points per game to 28.7 from 17.2 in 2016. With several talented running backs returning and the program entering its third year in the Wing-T offense, the Bruins look to continue making strides.
GLACIER PEAK GRIZZLIES
Last season: 6-4, 5-2 in conference play (lost in Week 10 playoffs)
Coach: Nick Bender (3rd season)
Key players: David Castro, sr., WR/DB; Spencer Cramer, sr., TE; Ma’ake Fifita, sr., OL/DL; Evan Mannes, sr., WR/LB; Patrick McKenzie, soph., WR/DB; Ayden Ziomas, sr., QB
Outlook: Dual-threat Ziomas enters his fourth season as starting quarterback after totaling more than 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. His favorite target is the 6-foot-4 Mannes, a two-way matchup nightmare at receiver and linebacker who has a scholarship offer from the Air Force Academy. Fifita, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound two-way lineman with an offer from Washington State University, anchors an offensive line that Bender said might be the most-improved unit on the team. After struggling against Wesco 4A powers Lake Stevens and Monroe the past two seasons — despite going 9-1 against the league’s other five teams — the Grizzlies look to ascend into the conference’s upper tier.
Last season: 3-7, 3-4 in conference play (lost in Week 10 playoffs)
Coach: Joel Vincent (21st season)
Key players: Julien Douet, jr., DB; Chris Grayson, sr., LB; Isaac Grayson, sr., WR; Garrett Holden, jr., WR; Logan Mikulecky, sr., OL; Elvis Musungu, sr., DL; Ben Olesen, sr., QB; Jared Pavek, sr., OL; Walid Rassulli, sr., LB; Angelo Sacdalan, sr., LB; Keegan Tandy, sr., OL; Nick Walsh, sr., RB; Antonio Wyckoff, sr., DL
Outlook: The Timberwolves ended their four-year postseason drought last fall despite managing just three wins. Jackson graduated star receiver and University of Colorado signee Daniel Arias, as well as standout linebacker Jonathan Navarro. Olesen returns under center for a Timberwolves team seeking just its second winning season since 2012.
Last season: 1-8, 0-7 in conference play
Coach: Bryant Thomas (1st season)
Key players: Hunter Bollschweiler, sr., QB/DB; Dakota Bueing, sr., WR/DB; Matthew Casson, sr., OL/DL; Malachi Goodman, sr., WR/DB; Drew Kindle, sr., DL; Nolan Martin, fr., RB; Michael Niedermeyer, jr., LB/TE; Cameron Osbjornsen, sr., OL/DL
Outlook: Thomas replaces longtime coach Dan Mack, who stepped down this past winter after 20 seasons at the helm. Thomas, who played football at Washington State University and was an assistant coach at Idaho State University, spent the past five seasons as Auburn Riverside’s coach. He looks to turn around a Kamiak team that went winless in conference play last year and scored more than 14 points only once all season.
LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS
Last season: 9-2, 7-0 in conference play (lost in first round of state playoffs)
Coach: Tom Tri (14th season)
Key players: Logan Bruce-Jones, jr., OL/DL; Wyatt Hall, jr., OL/DL; Ian Hanson, sr., WR/DB; Kasen Kinchen, jr., DB/WR; Devin Kylany, jr., OL/DL; Tom Lewis, sr., RB/DB; Tre Long, sr., QB; Liam Welk, sr., OL/DL
Outlook: After cruising to their fifth consecutive Wesco 4A title last season and reaching the state playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, the Vikings enter this fall on a 31-game conference win streak dating back to October 2013. Lake Stevens lost a handful of first-team all-conference players to graduation, but plenty of talent returns. Replacing standout quarterback Conor Bardue is Long, a dual threat who threw for a combined 694 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception in the team’s two playoff games last year after Bardue suffered a season-ending injury. With three of its top four running backs returning and a strong offensive line anchored by 6-foot-5, 285-pound Kylany, the Vikings have the pieces for a strong run game to complement Long and the passing attack. Headlining the defense is Kinchen, who has a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon.
Last season: 3-6, 2-5 in conference play
Coach: Mark Stewart (4th season)
Key players: Daniel Abraham, sr., DL/OL; James Althar, sr., OL; Fernando Contreras, jr., WR/DB; Jason Hapaianu, sr., OL/DL; Lamin Jallow, jr., RB/DL; Jahee Nelson, sr., SB/DB; Josiah Pesterkoff, jr., RB/LB; Roman Savchuk, jr., WR/DB
Outlook: The Marauders look to bounce back from last year’s three-win campaign, which came after graduating numerous key players from their 2016 state-playoff team. Mariner had the third-best scoring defense in the league last season, allowing 25 points per game in conference play. But to contend for a postseason spot this fall, the Marauders likely will need to improve an offense that reached 20 points just three times last year.
Last season: 10-2, 6-1 in conference play (lost in state quarterfinals)
Coach: Michael Bumpus (4th season)
Key players: Efton Chism III, jr., WR/DB; Trey Lane, soph., WR/DB; J.R. Little, jr., WR; Blake Rybar, jr., RB/LB; Connor Wood, jr., OL/DL
Outlook: Monroe is coming off back-to-back state-playoff appearances, including a historic opening-round win last season that resulted in the program’s first-ever trip to the state quarterfinals. But after graduating 10 of their 11 all-conference players, the Bearcats have numerous voids to fill. Monroe lost all five starters from its massive offensive line, as well as 2,000-yard rusher Isaiah Lewis, two standout linebackers and its starting quarterback. Returning is Chism, who led the team in receiving last year with 937 yards and 12 touchdowns.
MOUNT VERNON BULLDOGS
Last season: 3-6, 2-5 in conference play
Coach: Nic Vasilchek (2nd season)
Key players: Daniel Carrillo, sr., DL; Landon Edwards, sr., DB/WR; Reilly Olmsted, sr., QB; Alastar Stewart, sr., K/P; Seth Tercero, sr., RB; Tye Vargas, sr., LB
Outlook: Mount Vernon looks to continue making strides under second-year coach Nic Vasilchek, who guided the Bulldogs to a 4-6 campaign last season after the program went winless in 2015 and 2016. Tercero is coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season as a junior in 2017.