Monroe’s Isaiah Cole makes a catch in drills during practice on Oct. 25, 2017, at Monroe High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Monroe’s Isaiah Cole makes a catch in drills during practice on Oct. 25, 2017, at Monroe High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Senior returns from torn ACL to lead powerful Monroe

Dynamic, all-around playmaker Isaiah Cole has made his presence felt since returning to the Bearcats.

MONROE — The moment it happened, Isaiah Cole knew it was bad.

The Monroe football star was competing in a 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas this past February when one false step put his senior season in jeopardy.

“I was running an out route, planted wrong and just felt two pops and a whole bunch of pain,” Cole said.

“I knew right away,” he added. “I was like, ‘I did it again.’ I was crushed.”

Cole is no stranger to football injuries, having suffered a broken arm during his seventh-grade season and a torn ACL in his right knee the following year.

This time, it was his left knee. The diagnosis was a torn ACL, strained MCL and partially torn meniscus.

“I was like, ‘I have to go through this again?’” Cole said. “It was frustrating.”

Facing another round of adversity, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound standout drew on his previous battles back from injury.

“I just knew that I did it twice before — I could do it again,” he said.

One week after undergoing surgery, Cole began physical therapy and the road to recovery. Every day, he’s been riding a stationary bicycle that his mother and grandmother bought to help him regain strength.

And after watching his fourth-ranked Bearcats (8-0 overall, 6-0 Wesco 4A) from the sidelines for the first four games of the season, Cole returned to action and picked up right where he left off last year — as one of the area’s most dynamic all-around players.

In the four games since his return, Cole has 18 receptions for 382 yards and four touchdowns, including a school-record 206 yards receiving and two touchdowns against Mount Vernon two weeks ago.

Cole also returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in his first game back against Glacier Peak.

“I’m just so glad to be back,” he said.

At receiver, Cole is a polished route-runner and sure-handed pass-catcher who has ankle-breaking elusiveness and the speed to burst by defensive backs.

Cole led Monroe in receiving each of the past two seasons, posting 668 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015, followed by 839 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior last year.

“He’s a little guy, but he plays big,” said Bearcats coach Michael Bumpus, a former standout Washington State University receiver who briefly played for the Seattle Seahawks. “There’s not too many guys who can play inside and outside and go over the top and across the middle.

“He just does pretty much everything you ask a receiver to be able to do.”

Bumpus said Cole excels at reading defenses, whether that’s finding the soft spot in a zone or knowing how to attack defenders in man-to-man coverage.

“He does a great job of finding holes in the defenses and sitting down in space,” Bumpus said. “A lot of guys at this level will pass by a hole and force a (quarterback) to make a tough throw. But he has a real knack for understanding the defense and finding space.

“I’ve seen him really learn how to attack leverages on defenders (and) set them up,” Bumpus added. “He’s just really sharp. Every year, he’s gotten sharper and sharper in his route-running and understanding what he’s seeing.”

Bumpus said Cole’s receiver skills translate to defensive back, where the two-way standout has four career interceptions.

“He can identify route combinations and anticipate where the (quarterback) is going with the ball,” Bumpus said. “He just flies around. When that ball’s in the air, if it’s up there too long, he’ll make a play on defense.”

Cole also is an electric returner who has seven career special-teams returns for touchdowns.

Last season, he had two punt-return scores and two kickoff-return scores. That included a jaw-dropping punt-return touchdown against Meadowdale when Cole briefly reversed field, then cut back, eluded several defenders and dragged another before spinning out of a tackle and breaking free.

“I think he’s — if not the best — one of the best returners in our state,” Bumpus said. “He does a great job of setting up his blocks.

“It takes a special kid, especially on punt returns. You have to have great vision. You’re going to have to make four or five guys miss before you break that second and third wave and make a run at it. And he’s done a great job of that.”

In an effort to ease him back from injury, Monroe hasn’t let Cole return any punts or kicks yet this season. But Bumpus said he plans to loosen the reins and allow Cole to play special teams again once the postseason begins.

As a standout on offense, defense and special teams, Cole is a difference-maker in all three phases of the game. He even demonstrated his throwing ability this season, tossing a 63-yard touchdown pass on a trick play against Mariner.

“When you have a kid who can make an impact on all three phases, it makes him special,” Bumpus said. “He’s the guy that you want on the field at all times. He does everything.

“It’s just a testament to his athleticism. The kid has to be an athlete and he has to understand the game to be able to play so many positions and have an impact on it. And as a coach, I’m just grateful to have a kid like that.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Hamilton Tiger-Cats coach Orlondo Steinauer waves to people in the crowd after the team's Canadian Football League game against the Toronto Argonauts in Hamilton, Ontario, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press via AP)
Lynnwood grad Steinauer elected to CFL Hall of Fame

The current Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach won two Grey Cups in 13 stellar seasons as a player.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Wednesday, April 14

Prep results for Wednesday, April 14: (Note to coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Seattle Storm's Jewell Loyd leans out for a shot as the Seattle Storm took on the Minnesota Lynx at the Angle of the Winds Arena on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
The champs are back: Storm returning to Everett for 16 games

The four-time WNBA-champion team will play all of their home games at Angel of the Winds Arena.

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 5-11

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 5-11. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Tuesday, April 13

Prep results for Tuesday, April 13: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report your… Continue reading

Jackson's Amanda Wingert connects with a pitch during a game against Everett on Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. The Timberwolves won 14-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Return of spring sports brings excitement, challenges

Teams in Wesco played their first games since 2019 this week after last season was canceled.

Lake Stevens running back Jayden Limar and the Vikings made their presence felt during the abbreviated spring high school football season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football season in review: Top teams, games, performances

The top 5 teams, top 5 games and top 15 performances from the abbreviated high school football season.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Chiefs rally to hand Silvertips second straight defeat

Plus, the Canadian Hockey Leauge cancels the Memorial Cup for the second straight season.

Robert Polk (Contributed photo)
Everett mourns the loss of athletic and activities director

Robert Polk, 54, was known for his grace, hard work and desire to help kids compete and succeed.

Most Read