Bonney Lake High School football coach Chad Barrett has long admired the play of Lakes High offensive tackle Zach Banner.
Next week, as offensive line coach for the West team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Barrett will get an up-close look at Banner.
“He’s a great kid, he really is,” Barrett said of the 6-foot-9, 335-pound Banner.
Barrett and Banner will be joined on the West squad by Lakes’ Cedric Dozier, a defensive back and receiver, and Mariner of Mukilteo running back KeiVarae Russell.
Players and coaches report to San Antonio on Sunday for a week of football-related events. The game, which will be televised live on Channel 5, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 7 at the Alamodome.
Banner will bring a large contingent of followers, including his parents, brother and sister, grandparents and uncles. He said he’s also going to reconnect with family he has in Texas.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Banner said. “I’m going to kick it with the family in Texas. This is a big, fun trip.”
Because Banner and Dozier will be in Texas next week, they’ll will miss Lakes’ first two SPSL 3A basketball games.
Banner said Lancers basketball coach JoJo Rodriguez gave him a few days off from practice so the team can get used to playing without their center.
Banner also clarified Tuesday that he won’t make an oral commitment to any school until he takes an official visit to USC on Jan. 13, which means no announcement will come during the All-American Bowl.
Banner said he is down to three schools: USC, Washington and Oklahoma. He’ll make his choice public at a gathering at Lakes High.
“For sure,” Banner said, “I’m going to do it at the school.”
Dozier has given an oral commitment to Cal, and Russell will announce where he plans to play at a ceremony Thursday at Mariner. According to multiple reports, Russell will choose between Washington and Notre Dame.
Barrett is the third coach from Washington to coach in the game. Lakes’ Dave Miller did it last year as did Tahoma’s Tony Davis in 2008.
MORE GAMES ACROSS NATION
Puyallup offensive tackle Joshua Garnett will play in the Under Armour All-America Game, scheduled for Jan. 5 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Three Washington players, including Tacoma Baptist offensive tackle Walker Williams, will take part the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 3 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Williams, a 6-7, 330-pound Wisconsin commit, will be joined by Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist and Juanita offensive lineman Nathan Dean.
Skyline coach Mat Taylor will be the offensive coordinator of the West team.
Auburn center Cory English arrived in Dallas on Monday and will play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Thursday night at Cowboys Stadium.
Not all postseason all-star games are played in warm-weather cities or climate-controlled indoor arenas.
The Tanoa Bowl, which features teams from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Utah, will take place this week at Auburn’s Memorial Stadium.
On Saturday, Oregon will face Alaska at noon and Washington takes on Utah at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and good for admission to both games. Children younger than 10 are admitted free.
Among the local players are Bellarmine Prep’s Calvin Chandler, Lakes’ Zaheer Webb and JJ Njoku, Cascade Christian’s Joshua Shreffler, and Lincoln’s Tim Ah-Hee.
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271