Monroe’s Blake Springer scrambles to look for an open teammate during a game against Ferndale on Oct. 28, 2022, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s Blake Springer scrambles to look for an open teammate during a game against Ferndale on Oct. 28, 2022, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Wesco 3A South preview: Team capsules, coaches poll and more

Monroe appears to be the class of the league, but Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace have the weapons to make waves.

COACHES POLL

The predicted order of finish, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Included is the average placing for each team, with the number of first-place votes in parentheses.

1. Monroe (5) — 1.0

2. Edmonds Woodway (1) — 2.4

3. Mountlake Terrace — 3.0

4. Snohomish — 3.4

5. Shorewood — 3.6

6. Shorecrest — 5.2

7. Lynnwood — 5.8

NOTE: Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their own teams. One coach did not participate in the voting.

EDMONDS-WOODWAY

Edmonds-Woodway’s Jesse Hart tries to fight through a tackle during a game against Snohomish on Sept. 23, 2022, at Snohomish High School. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Jesse Hart tries to fight through a tackle during a game against Snohomish on Sept. 23, 2022, at Snohomish High School. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Last season: 5-5 overall, 5-2 in 3A Wesco South

Coach: John Gradwohl (28th season)

Offense: Singleback

Defense: Odd

Returning starters: 7 on offense, 6 on defense

Key players: Steven Warren Jr., sr., QB; Jesse Hart, sr., WR/DB; Diego Escandon, sr., WR/DB; Austin Renfro, dr., OL/DL; Jon Schlack, sr., OL/DL; David Danyo, sr., DB/TE

Overview: The Warriors open the upcoming season with a senior-heavy offensive unit that could peak at the right time for longtime coach John Gradwohl. Steven Warren Jr. had a 19-touchdown, 4-interception year for Woodway, while two of his top targets (Diego Escandon, Jesse Hart) are expected to carry on as all-league performers.

MONROE

Monroe’s Mason Davis is tackled while running the ball during a game against Ferndale on Oct. 28, 2022, in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s Mason Davis is tackled while running the ball during a game against Ferndale on Oct. 28, 2022, in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Last season: 9-2 overall, 6-o in Wesco 3A South

Coach: Scott Darrow (4th season)

Offense: Spread

Defense: 4-3

Returning starters: 5 on offense, 9 on defense

Key players: Blake Springer, sr., QB; Nick Mouser, sr., LB/RB; Mason Davis, sr., WR/DB; Carl Watson, jr., LB/RB; Biggie Notoa, sr., LB/TE; Aaron Clifton, jr., WR/S; Brennan Shepard, jr., DE/TE; Gavin Ranz, sr., RB/S

Overview: The Bearcats return with a deep group of talent from last season’s state playoff appearance. Monroe made it to the round of 16 before falling to Lincoln. It was their first state berth since 2017, when the Bearcats played as a Class 4A school. Senior quarterback Blake Springer returns as a third-year starter, along with nine returning starters on defense, including senior Biggie Notoa, who was a first-team All-Area pick last fall.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones runs a drill during practice on Aug. 17, 2023, at Mountlake Terrace High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones runs a drill during practice on Aug. 17, 2023, at Mountlake Terrace High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Last season: 5-4 overall, 3-4 in Wesco 3A South

Coach: Archie Malloy III (3rd season)

Offense: Pro Style

Defense: 4-3

Returning starters: 10 on offense, 10 on defense

Key players: Zaveon Jones, sr., RB/DL; Logan Hansen, sr., OL/DL; Logan Tews, sr., WR/DB; Adam Wallis, sr., OL/DL; Nate Brown, so., RB/LB; Eli Swett, jr., OL/DL; Tyler Shankle, sr., WR/DB; Arain Moteghadi, sr., QB/DB; Matthew Meadows, sr., QB/DB

Overview: Returning 10 out of 11 positions on both sides of the ball, Terrace looks to be in line for a potential breakout season in league play. Two-way all-league senior Zaveon Jones, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards in 2022, is set to re-establish his run game this season. Other all-league returning seniors Logan Tews, Tyler Shankle and Logan Hansen are also back as key leaders.

SNOHOMISH

Water sprays as multiple player leap in the air for the ball during a game between Snohomish and Monroe on Oct. 21, 2022, in Snohomish. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Water sprays as multiple player leap in the air for the ball during a game between Snohomish and Monroe on Oct. 21, 2022, in Snohomish. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Last season: 4-6 overall, 4-2 in Wesco 3A South

Coach: Joey Hammer (6th season)

Offense: Spread

Defense: 3-4

Key players: Parker Jackson, soph., all-purpose; Seth Abood, soph., OL/DL.

Overview: Snohomish will face some turnover and new faces in key positions. The Panthers defense graduated five all-league players from last fall, as well as quarterback Kale Hammer, who was a second-team all-league pick. How quickly the younger group meshes will help determine where Snohomish will fall this season.

LYNNWOOD

Last season: 2-8 overall, 1-6 in Wesco 3A South

Coach: David Harris Jr. (1st season)

Offense: Multiple

Defense: Multiple

Returning starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense

Key players: Zak Hill, sr., RB/LB; Adrian Gau, sr., OL/DL; Kellen O’Brien, sr., OL/DL; Nate Williams, jr., RB/LB; DJ Hewitt, sr., RB/LB; Donovan Golston, so., OL/DL; Isaac Popich, so., RB/LB

Overview: New head coach David Harris Jr., who has been an assistant with Lynnwood for the previous eight seasons, takes over the reins as Lynnwood will look to re-tool and rebound after a 2-8 season. Harris mentioned junior running back Nate Williams as a key returner, along with three returning members of the offensive line. The Royals season opener against Mount Si should provide the group with a big test early on as Lynnwood hopes to gain ground in the league race this season.

SHORECREST

Last season: 2-8 overall, 1-6 in Wesco 3A South

Coach: Brandon Christensen (14th season)

Offense: Pro 11 and 12 personnel

Defense: 3-4

Returning starters: 6 on offense, 6 on defense

Key players: Theo Childs, sr., OL/DL; Ben Chesnut, jr., TE/S; Gus Hamilton, sr., TE/S; Kevin Vo, sr., RB/LB; Peter Grimm, sr., OL/DL; Charlie Chin, jr., WR/DB; Max Beer, jr., LB; Danny Stephenson, jr., QB

Overview: Shorecrest enters the regular season with a young group of mainly returning juniors. Head coach Brandon Christensen said that a strong offensive line core will play a big factor as new starting junior quarterback Danny Stephenson steps into a big role in the coming year.

SHOREWOOD

Last season: 5-5 overall, 3-4 in Wesco 3A South

Coach: Rob Petschl (3rd season)

Offense: Multiple

Defense: 3-4

Returning starters: six on offense, six on defense

Key players: Reid Petschl, sr., FB/TE/LB; Anthony Reyes, jr., OL/DL; Tyler Lopez, sr., OL/DL; Charlie Frye, sr., WR/LB; Jacob Lindberg, sr., RB/LB; Gatsby Palmer, jr., QB/LB; Tyler Giles, jr., QB; Kristian Stickelmaier, jr., WR/DB; Nikos Zacharias, jr., WR/S

Overview: The Stormrays will look to take a leap into the upper echelon of the Wesco 3A South teams this season. Coming off a middling year in 2022, head coach Rob Petschl will have several experienced pieces back in the fold. 247sports two-star recruit Reid Petschl, a senior, was a first-team all-league and second-team All-Area pick last fall. 315-pound junior lineman Anthony Reyes and 280-pounder Tyler Lopez offer two important cogs on Shorewood’s line.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Blake Springer, sr., QB, Monroe

Springer was a first-team all-league selection in 2022, completing 65% of his passes. He tallied up 2,212 yards, 25 TDs and nine interceptions while rushing for three scores. The three-star quarterback led the Bearcats to a 9-2 overall record and their first state playoff berth since 2017.

Steven Warren Jr., sr., QB, Edmonds-Woodway

Warren Jr. completed 62.3% of his passes last fall, piling up 2,198 yards as he earned a first-team all-league nod. He logged nearly a 5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, totaling 19 passing TDs and one rushing score.

Zaveon Jones, sr., RB/LB, Mountlake Terrace

Jones held down the Hawks running game as a junior, rushing for 1,448 yards with 20 touchdowns, good for 6.6 yards per carry. The two-way stud also compiled 64 tackles as a linebacker, earning first-team all-league honors.

Logan Tews, sr., DB/WR, Mountlake Terrace

Tews was a first-team all-league choice as a defensive back in 2022. As a junior, he collected 54 tackles, adding a defensive TD and four interceptions. He caught 29 passes for 500 yards as a wideout.

Reid Petschl, sr., FB/TE/LB, Shorewood

Petschl, a two-star utility player, totaled 80.5 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and five pass breakups over his junior season. He was a first-team all-league pick and made the second-team All-Area squad.

Palepoi ‘Biggie’ Notoa, sr., LB/TE, Monroe

Notoa was a big anchor to Monroe’s defense last season, totaling 94 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and four fumble recoveries. He claimed a spot on the all-league first-team, helping the Bearcats reach the 3A state playoffs round-of-16.

Jesse Hart, sr., WR/DB, Edmonds-Woodway

Hart led the area in receiving yardage as a junior, totaling 712 yards on 34 catches, adding seven TDs. He also rushed for three scores. He was a first-team all-league selection.

Mason Davis, jr., All-Purpose, Monroe

Davis had three kickoff returns for a touchdowns last season, good enough for a school record and an average of 38.1 yards per return. He rushed for 295 yards and three TDs, adding 16 catches for 282 yards. He helped the Bearcats to the Wesco 3A South title and a 3A state playoff berth.

STORYLINES TO WATCH

Which team has the best chance at challenging league favorite Monroe?

The Bearcats came out as a clear-cut favorite in the coaches poll, and with good reason. Monroe chalked up 44 points per game last season and ended the year 6-0 against league opponents. With most of its high-caliber offensive options returning, it seems likely that the Bearcats can pave their way to a second straight league title.

They could face more pushback this fall, with Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds Woodway both returning solid core groups.

Shorewood and Snohomish figure to be in the discussion for a top-3 spot in the standings as well.

So who has the best chance? Some would say Terrace, who returns nearly every starting position on the field. Some would say Edmonds-Woodway as it returns a deadly one-two wide receiver punch in Diego Escandon and Jesse Hart.

How will Mountlake Terrace perform with a hefty returning group?

The Hawks have one of, if not the largest returning group in the area this season. Terrace has four seniors back off last fall’s all-league team and 10 total returners on each side of the ball.

The expectations for this group are lofty in the Wesco 3A South this year. Star running back and linebacker Zaveon Jones will look to build off a stellar junior campaign and pace the group on the ground after logging 1,448 yards and 20 TDs last fall.

Jones, along with fellow senior Logan Tews make for a scary two-way duo with big playmaking ability for third-year coach Archie Malloy III.

Terrace ranked second in the league in points allowed in 2022, giving up 20.8 points a game. If the Hawks can get a strong year out of the quarterback position, there’s plenty of hope for Terrace as a league title threat.

GAMES TO WATCH

Lakeside (Seattle) at Shorewood, Sept. 1, 7 p.m.

A rematch of last season’s opening week matchup for both teams. Lakeside ended last season having won five of its last six contents. The Stormrays prevailed 41-30 over the Lions a season ago.

Edmonds-Woodway at Kamiak, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.

A Week 2 road matchup against Kamiak could prove to be an interesting test and overall matchup against the Knights of the Wesco 4A.

Mountlake Terrace at Monroe, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.

The Hawks have the roster talent and potential to rival Monroe in the Wesco 3A South this season. By Sept. 29, the game could shape out as a heavyweight battle between two teams motivated to claim spots in the top of the conference.

Snohomish at Liberty (Renton), Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

Liberty lost to Monroe in a winner-to-state, loser-out district playoff game last season. This year, Snohomish will get a crack at the Patriots in Renton.

Edmonds-Woodway at Monroe, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.

Much like Terrace and Shorewood, Woodway will be looking at every chance it can get to knock off the previously league-undefeated Bearcats. The contest could prove to be a much-needed win at this point in the year to garner breathing room in the conference standings.

Lynnwood at Redmond, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.

With two matchups against KingCo league opponents, the Royals will look to shake off last season’s 37-0 loss to the Mustangs, who finished last season 7-3.

Edmonds-Woodway at Mountlake Terrace, Oct. 20, 5 p.m.

In what could end up being a game with tiebreaker potential in the last week of the regular season, both these teams have similar goals for the 2023 season.

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