NEWS

Wesco 4A football preview: Team capsules, storylines to watch, and more

COACHES POLL

The anticipated order of end, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Included is the common inserting for every staff, with the variety of first-place votes in parentheses.

1. Lake Stevens (4) — 1.0

2. Glacier Peak (1) — 1.75

3. Kamiak — 2.5

4. Mariner — 3.25

5. Jackson — 4.0

NOTE: Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their very own groups.

LAKE STEVENS

Cole Becker and the Vikings are a well-liked preseason decide to win the 4A state title. (John Gardner / Professional Motion Photographs)

Final season: 11-1 general, 4-0 Wesco 4A; superior to 4A state championship sport

Coach: Tom Tri (18th season)

Offense: Unfold

Protection: 4-2-5

Returning starters: 7 on offense, 5 on protection

Key gamers: Jayden Limar, sr., RB; Jayshon Limar, soph., RB/LB; Isaac Redford, sr., WR/DB; Cassidy Belong-Banks, soph., WR/DB; Cole Becker, sr., TE/DE; Grant Lynch, sr., C/DT; Ashten Hendrickson, sr., OL/DE; Micah Avery, sr., OL/DE; Joe McGinnis, sr., LB

Overview: As at all times, the Wesco 4A title runs by means of Lake Stevens. The perennial powerhouse Vikings, who’ve gained 50 consecutive Wesco 4A contests, are coming off their second Class 4A state championship sport look prior to now three full-length seasons. And with 12 returning starters and extra up-and-coming expertise within the fold, the eight-time defending Wesco 4A champions are a well-liked decide to interrupt by means of for his or her first-ever state crown. Lake Stevens’ high-powered offense is headlined by the elite brother working again duo of Notre Dame-bound senior Jayden Limar — who totaled 1,918 yards from scrimmage and 24 offensive touchdowns final season — and sophomore Pac-12 recruit Jayshon Limar. They’re complemented by an skilled offensive line and a passing assault that’s contemporary off its second consecutive Lakewood 7-on-7 match title. Two-star senior recruit Isaac Redford is a possible breakout star at broad receiver, whereas sophomore Kolton Matson and junior Kaden LaPlaunt are battling to switch standout quarterback Grayson Murren. Matson performed properly final postseason, throwing for 498 yards, six TDs and one interception whereas Murren was injured. The Vikings even have loads of expertise on protection. Senior standout Ashten Hendrickson highlights a deep and skilled defensive entrance, whereas Redford and sophomore Cassidy Belong-Banks anchor the again finish as shutdown cornerbacks.

GLACIER PEAK

Trey Leckner and the Grizzlies are looking to build on last year’s maiden voyage to the 4A state playoffs. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Trey Leckner and the Grizzlies want to construct on final 12 months’s maiden voyage to the 4A state playoffs. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Final season: 7-3 general, 2-1 Wesco 4A; superior to 4A state first spherical

Coach: Shane Keck (4th season)

Offense: Energy unfold

Protection: 3-4

Returning starters: 8 on offense, 3 on protection

Key gamers: River Lien, sr., QB; Trey Leckner, sr., ATH/LB; Ryan King, sr., RB/S; Cooper Jensen, sr., TE/DE; Logan Szarzec, sr., WR/S; Adam Troxel, sr., OL/DL; Baxter Cox, sr., OL/DL; Joe Johnson, sr., OL/DL

Overview: Expectations are sky-high for the Grizzlies, who broke by means of final 12 months for his or her first state playoff look since shifting as much as 4A in 2016. They’re hungry for extra this fall, particularly after the sting of blowing a 21-point second-half lead in final 12 months’s heartbreaking first-round state loss to Bothell. Glacier Peak’s excessive hopes heart on its offense, which returns eight starters and a wealth of skill-position expertise. The headliner is Washington State-bound senior working again/broad receiver Trey Leckner, who totaled 1,550 yards from scrimmage and 23 TDs final season. He’s complemented by 6-foot-5 Oregon State-bound tight finish Cooper Jensen, 6-foot-4 receiver Logan Szarzec, two-star working again Ryan King and two-star quarterback River Lien. The offensive line has two main holes to fill, with the commencement of standouts Jacob Erickson and Austin Emmons. However the Grizzlies return their different three starters within the trenches and are including a pair of proficient juniors to the unit. The important thing to Glacier Peak’s season probably revolves across the growth of its protection. The Grizzlies have eight defensive starters to switch, together with a number of all-league alternatives at every of the three ranges.

KAMIAK

Jullian Notoa and the Knights are looking to take another step forward after last year’s breakthrough season. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jullian Notoa and the Knights want to take one other step ahead after final 12 months’s breakthrough season. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Final season: 7-2 general, 2-1 Wesco 4A; superior to 4A winner-to-state spherical

Coach: Bryant Thomas (fifth season)

Offense: Unfold fly sweep

Protection: 30 flex hybrid

Returning starters: 8 on offense, 4 on protection

Key gamers: Ben’tre Worthy, sr., QB/SS; T’Andre Waverly, soph., TE/DE; Likelihood Loudenback, sr., TE/SS; Jullian Notoa, soph., RB/LB; Max Rust, sr., OL/DL; Michael Barton, jr., OL/DL; Journy Notoa, jr., OL/DL; Jay Scott Jr., soph., OL/DL

Overview: The Knights have skilled a large turnaround underneath coach Bryant Thomas. After three consecutive one-win campaigns from 2017 by means of 2019, Kamiak adopted a 4-0 COVID-shortened spring season with a breakthrough 7-2 marketing campaign final fall. The Knights matched their most wins since 2006, made their first Week 10 playoff look since 2014 and even took perennial energy Lake Stevens all the way down to the wire in a slender loss. The largest problem going ahead can be changing do-everything Wesley Garrett, who totaled 1,641 yards from scrimmage and 20 TDs final season in Kamiak’s fly-sweep assault. However the Knights deliver again loads of offensive expertise, with eight starters returning on that facet of the ball. Amongst them is senior dual-threat quarterback Ben’tre Worthy, who’s anticipated to air it out extra usually. He’ll have a pair of playmaking tight-end targets in four-star sophomore recruit T’Andre Waverly and senior Likelihood Loudenback. And the offensive line needs to be a energy, with 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior Max Rust anchoring a gaggle that returns 4 of 5 starters. The largest query for Kamiak is on protection, the place it has seven starters to switch from a unit that allowed simply 18.9 factors per sport.

MARINER

First-year Mariner coach Tyler Tuiasosopo is looking to turn things around at his alma mater. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

First-year Mariner coach Tyler Tuiasosopo is trying to flip issues round at his alma mater. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Final season: 4-5 general, 1-3 Wesco 4A

Coach: Tyler Tuiasosopo (1st season)

Offense: A number of

Protection: 4-2-5

Returning starters: 5 on offense, 5 on protection

Key gamers: Cartez Williams, sr., RB/SS; Macky James, sr., WR/CB; Damien Bagley, sr., ATH/LB; Isaiah Cuellar, jr., QB/DB; Tayveon Sy, sr., TE/LB; Camden Shirk, sr., OL; Donell Johnson, sr., TE/DE; Vicente Cienega-Alonso, sr., hybrid; Ben Fotualii, sr., hybrid; Isaac Aney, sr., LB

Overview: The Marauders are embarking on a brand new period underneath first-year coach Tyler Tuiasosopo, who replaces the retired Mark Stewart. Tuiasosopo is again at his alma mater, the place he starred at quarterback and led the Marauders to back-to-back state playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007. After a pair of latest head-coaching gigs in Las Vegas, Tuiasosopo is tasked with turning round a Mariner program that’s had just one profitable season prior to now 9 years. The cabinet isn’t naked, with 5 returning starters on either side of the ball. Senior working again Cartez Williams, senior receiver Macky James and senior athlete Damien Bagley present playmaking expertise for an offense that’ll characteristic extra passing and tempo than years previous, in response to Tuiasosopo. On protection, the Marauders are shifting to a 4-2-5 entrance that’s geared toward placing their high athletes in advantageous positions. Tuiasosopo is happy concerning the potential of his offensive and defensive traces, which could possibly be strengths of the staff.

JACKSON

After a rough past few seasons, coach Mason Siddick and the Timberwolves are aiming to turn the tide this fall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

After a tough previous few seasons, coach Mason Siddick and the Timberwolves are aiming to show the tide this fall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Final season: 2-8 general, 0-4 Wesco 4A

Coach: Mason Siddick (4th season)

Offense: Unfold

Protection: 4-3

Returning starters: 3 on offense, 2 on protection

Key gamers: Mohammed Al Ezairej, sr., QB; Tyler Lykken, soph., RB/SS; Will Turpin, soph., WR/CB; Colton Anderson, sr., WR/CB; Malikai Asberry, soph., WR/LB; Brody Bossert, sr., C/NG; Haseeb Rassulli, soph., OL/MLB; William Gamache, soph., OL/DL

Overview: It’s been a tricky stretch for the Timberwolves, who’ve had just one profitable season prior to now 9 years. Jackson is simply 3-22 over the previous three seasons and was outscored by 29.3 factors per sport final fall. The Timberwolves are younger, with a handful of sophomores moving into key roles after the staff returned simply 5 starters from final season. However regardless of the youth, fourth-year coach Mason Siddick stated this group is “in all probability essentially the most aggressive that we’ve been” throughout his time at Jackson. Siddick stated he’s most enthusiastic about his offensive and defensive traces, which have made strides and can be instrumental to serving to the Timberwolves be extra aggressive this fall.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lake Stevens senior and Notre Dame commit Jayden Limar is one of the top high school running backs in the nation. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens senior and Notre Dame commit Jayden Limar is among the high highschool working backs within the nation. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Cooper Jensen, sr., TE/DE, Glacier Peak

The three-star Oregon State commit is the No. 25 senior tight finish recruit within the nation, in response to 247Sports. Jensen, who stretches the sector as a 6-foot-5 goal, caught 23 passes for 271 yards and two TDs final season. He is also a pressure at defensive finish.

Trey Leckner, sr., ATH/LB, Glacier Peak

The three-star Washington State commit is a flexible playmaker with expertise at each working again and broad receiver. After spending his first two highschool seasons as a receiver at Snohomish, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Leckner transferred to Glacier Peak and starred at working again final 12 months. He rushed for 1,134 yards and 18 TDs, whereas including 416 yards receiving and 5 TD catches.

River Lien, sr., QB, Glacier Peak

As a first-year starter final season, Lien accomplished 62.4% of his passes for 1,663 yards, 19 TDs and 6 interceptions. He’s the fifth-ranked senior quarterback recruit within the state, in response to 247Sports.

Jayden Limar, sr., RB, Lake Stevens

The Notre Dame commit and four-star working again headlines the makings of one other juggernaut Lake Stevens assault. Ranked by 247Sports because the nation’s No. 12 senior working again recruit, Limar put his elite expertise on full show with 1,918 yards from scrimmage and 24 offensive TDs final season. He rushed for 1,549 yards and 20 TDs, whereas including 369 yards receiving and 4 TD catches.

Jayshon Limar, soph., RB/LB, Lake Stevens

Heading into his sophomore 12 months, the youthful (and greater) Limar brother already has a trio of Pac-12 presents from Washington State, Arizona and Arizona State. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound again ran for 561 yards and 12 TDs whereas backing up his older brother final season.

Grant Lynch, sr., C/DT, Lake Stevens

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior is coming into his third season because the Vikings’ beginning heart. He surrendered just one sack final 12 months and helped pave the best way for a high-powered speeding assault.

Isaac Redford, sr., WR/CB, Lake Stevens

Redford, coined as a “breakout weapon” on offense by coach Tom Tri, is poised for an enormous season on either side of the ball. After catching 11 passes for 150 yards and one TD final 12 months, the two-star wideout steps into the lead receiver function following the commencement of standouts Drew Carter and Trayce Hanks. Redford is also an influence participant on protection, with three interceptions at cornerback final season.

T’Andre Waverly, soph., TE/DE, Kamiak

Waverly is the nation’s No. 60 general sophomore recruit and the nation’s No. 2 sophomore tight finish recruit, in response to 247Sports. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound playmaker already has presents from faculties akin to Michigan, Penn State and Mississippi State. After the commencement of do-everything Wesley Garrett, Waverly figures to take over because the Knights’ high receiving goal. He caught 10 passes for 275 yards and two TDs final 12 months.

Cartez Williams, sr., RB/SS, Mariner

After flashing potential throughout an injury-shortened marketing campaign final 12 months, the athletic 5-foot-11, 215-pound working again could possibly be primed for a breakout season within the Marauders’ new-look offense.

Ben’tre Worthy, sr., QB, Kamiak

As a first-year starter final season, Worthy accomplished 67.6% of his passes for 1,566 yards, 18 TDs and 4 interceptions. The twin-threat quarterback additionally rushed for 5 scores.

STORYLINES TO WATCH

Is that this the 12 months Lake Stevens wins all of it?

After coming close in recent years, the Vikings are looking to break through for their first-ever state title. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

After coming shut in recent times, the Vikings want to break by means of for his or her first-ever state title. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The Vikings have been probably the greatest and most constant packages within the state for the higher a part of the previous decade. They’ve an 80-9 file over the previous eight seasons. They’ve gained eight consecutive Wesco 4A titles and are driving a 50-game convention win streak. They’ve made seven consecutive 4A state playoff appearances. Over the previous six full-length seasons, they’ve made 5 state quarterfinal journeys and three state semifinal journeys. They’ve reached two of the previous three 4A state championship video games. The one factor lacking? Their first-ever state title.

Lake Stevens has come shut in recent times. The 2015 Jacob Eason-led staff suffered a 37-34 loss to Skyline within the state semifinals. The 2018 staff fell to Union within the state championship sport. The 2019 staff, lacking two of its high gamers, misplaced a 24-22 heartbreaker to Mount Si within the state quarterfinals. And final 12 months’s staff made one other journey to the state title sport, the place it ran right into a nationally ranked Graham-Kapowsin squad that’ll go down as probably the greatest groups in state historical past.

This 12 months, the Vikings might need pretty much as good an opportunity as they’ve ever had. They return 12 starters from their state runner-up staff, together with one of many nation’s high working backs. They’ve a slew of expertise — each returning and up-and-coming — unfold throughout a wide range of place teams on either side of the ball. And with Graham-Kapowsin having graduated quite a few standouts from final 12 months’s juggernaut, Lake Stevens is now the favored decide to win all of it. The Vikings hold knocking on the door. Is that this the 12 months they break by means of?

Can Glacier Peak or Kamiak take down mighty Lake Stevens?

Ryan King (10) and the Grizzlies look capable of threatening eight-time defending Wesco 4A champion Lake Stevens. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Ryan King (10) and the Grizzlies look able to threatening eight-time defending Wesco 4A champion Lake Stevens. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens has dominated Wesco 4A for almost a decade, driving a 50-game convention win streak that dates again to 2013. Throughout that stretch, the Vikings have gained all however 5 league video games by double digits. And this 12 months, Lake Stevens could possibly be pretty much as good because it’s ever been. However with the rise of Glacier Peak and Kamiak, the hole between the Vikings and the league’s different high groups has closed significantly. That was evident final season, with each the Grizzlies and Knights taking Lake Stevens all the way down to the wire in a pair of one-possession video games. Might this be the 12 months the Vikings’ prolonged Wesco 4A win streak involves an finish?

Glacier Peak seems to have one of the best shot at dethroning the Wesco 4A kings. The Grizzlies return a slew of offensive firepower from a staff that was on the verge of the state quarterfinals final 12 months, together with a pair of Pac-12 recruits at working again/broad receiver and tight finish. And Glacier Peak has come near knocking off Lake Stevens in recent times, falling 24-21 in 2018 and 34-28 final season — though it needs to be famous that the Vikings had been lacking their high two quarterbacks within the latter sport.

Kamiak, in the meantime, gave Lake Stevens arguably its hardest check final season till the state title sport. The Knights had been tied with the Vikings properly into the fourth quarter, till Lake Stevens scored a late go-ahead TD to flee with a 35-28 win. Kamiak graduated do-everything playmaker Wesley Garrett. However with different key weapons returning on offense — together with one of many nation’s high tight finish recruits — the Knights might as soon as once more be a harmful staff.

After breakthroughs final season, Glacier Peak and Kamiak are each trying to take the subsequent step. And for each groups, Lake Stevens supplies the last word measuring stick.

Will the state playoffs have a robust Wesco 4A taste?

Given the league’s top-end talent, it’s possible that multiple Wesco 4A teams could make deep state playoff runs. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Given the league’s top-end expertise, it’s potential that a number of Wesco 4A groups might make deep state playoff runs. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

With simply 5 groups, Wesco 4A is the second-smallest 4A league within the state. However with arguably the state title favourite in Lake Stevens and one other state title contender in Glacier Peak, Wesco 4A has probably one of the best one-two punch of any league within the state’s highest classification. And if Kamiak can construct on final 12 months’s success, the Knights might additionally make a state playoff run.

With the league’s top-end expertise, there’s an opportunity Wesco 4A might advance two groups to the state semifinals — or if issues break proper, perhaps even the state title sport. In response to the Washington Interscholastic Actions Affiliation web site, solely twice earlier than has Wesco despatched a number of groups to the semifinals in the identical classification. Each situations concerned Cascade and Snohomish. In 1991, the Bruins and Panthers each reached the 4A state semifinals, and Cascade went on to win the state title. And in 1998, each groups misplaced within the 4A state semifinals. By no means earlier than has there been an all-Wesco state championship sport. Might Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak make historical past this fall?

One factor is for positive: Lake Stevens, Glacier Peak and Kamiak can be battle-tested by the point the postseason rolls round. Along with dealing with one another in league play, all three groups have compiled loaded non-league schedules. Lake Stevens faces potential 3A top-10 Garfield, nationally ranked defending 3A state champion Bellevue, reigning Oregon 6A state semifinalist West Linn and reigning 4A state semifinalist Eastlake. Glacier Peak faces perennial 4A energy Camas, potential 3A top-10 Ferndale and a robust Sacramento-area Rocklin staff in Northern California. And Kamiak faces potential 3A top-10 Monroe, reigning 4A state qualifier Skyview and perennial 4A energy Camas.

GAMES TO WATCH

A state semifinal rematch between Lake Stevens and Eastlake is one of many compelling showdowns involving Wesco 4A teams this fall. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

A state semifinal rematch between Lake Stevens and Eastlake is certainly one of many compelling showdowns involving Wesco 4A groups this fall. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Snohomish vs. Glacier Peak, Sept. 2

Glacier Peak appears to proceed its mastery of crosstown rival Snohomish on this season-opening non-league conflict at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Grizzlies have gained all 10 matchups since these faculties started enjoying in 2012, together with a 35-19 victory final fall.

Bellevue at Lake Stevens, Sept. 9

Reigning 4A state runner-up Lake Stevens hosts the defending 3A state champions within the potential sport of the 12 months for Washington highschool soccer. If each groups go on to win their respective state titles, this showdown might find yourself figuring out unofficial all-classification state bragging rights. Bellevue is No. 25 within the preseason SBLive/Sports activities Illustrated nationwide rankings.

Glacier Peak at Camas, Sept. 9

Glacier Peak travels south for an enormous non-league check towards perennial powerhouse Camas at Doc Harris Stadium. The Papermakers, who claimed a pair of 4A state titles in 2016 and 2019, are eyeing one other deep playoff run after reaching the 4A state quarterfinals final 12 months.

Monroe at Kamiak, Sept. 16

Kamiak hosts the Wesco 3A South favorites in a non-league matchup of former Wesco 4A foes. Gifted Monroe quarterback Blake Springer ought to present early-season check for the Knights’ protection.

Ferndale vs. Glacier Peak, Sept. 17 (at Lumen Area)

Glacier Peak will get a style of the NFL expertise when it faces the Wesco 3A North favorites on this non-league conflict on the Seattle Seahawks’ stadium. Led by College of Washington-bound lineman Landen Hatchett, the Golden Eagles have the makings of a 3A top-10 staff.

Lake Stevens at West Linn, Ore., Sept. 23

Lake Stevens continues its non-league gauntlet with an interstate showdown towards reigning Oregon 6A state semifinalist West Linn. Jon Eagle, who guided Camas to a pair of Washington 4A state titles in 2016 and 2019, is West Linn’s new head coach.

Glacier Peak at Rocklin, Calif., Sept. 23

Glacier Peak makes the trek to Northern California to face Sacramento-area Rocklin, which was No. 27 in Scorebook Dwell’s preseason California all-classification state rankings. Rocklin went 12-1 final 12 months and superior to its sectional title sport.

Kamiak at Skyview, Sept. 23

Kamiak’s breakthrough season final 12 months ended with a 28-7 loss to Skyview within the Week 10 winner-to-state spherical. The Knights get an opportunity to avenge that defeat on this non-league conflict at Vancouver’s Kiggins Bowl, the identical web site as final 12 months’s playoff matchup.

Camas at Kamiak, Sept. 30

One week after squaring off towards Skyview in southwest Washington, Kamiak faces one other Better St. Helens League staff when it takes on 4A powerhouse Camas. The Knights would be the Papermakers’ second Wesco 4A opponent in 4 weeks.

Eastlake at Lake Stevens, Oct. 7

Lake Stevens hosts the defending KingCo 4A champions in a rematch of the Vikings’ 45-28 state semifinal win over the Wolves final fall. Eastlake is changing 16 starters from final 12 months’s staff.

Glacier Peak at Kamiak, Oct. 8

That is the primary of three huge Wesco 4A clashes that pit the league’s high three groups towards one another. Glacier Peak and Kamiak haven’t met since 2019, because of the shortened 2021 spring season and the COVID-related cancellation of final fall’s matchup.

Lake Stevens at Kamiak, Oct. 21

Lake Stevens and Kamiak sq. off in a rematch of the Vikings’ slender 35-28 victory final 12 months. The sport was tied till Lake Stevens scored a late TD to maintain its prolonged Wesco 4A win streak in tact.

Glacier Peak at Lake Stevens, Oct. 28

This regular-season finale might very properly decide the Wesco 4A title. It additionally has the potential to be one of many video games of the 12 months in the whole state. And with the expertise stage of each groups, don’t be stunned in the event that they meet once more within the state playoffs.

NOTE: Glacier Peak performs its dwelling video games at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kamiak performs its dwelling video games at Goddard Stadium.

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