They are first cousins living in the same house, but in Samoan culture, that is just as good as being blood brothers.
Lakes High School’s Jaiave and Maika Magalei are starting to get in all-football mode. It is all they think about. It is all they talk about, morning, noon and night.
“We’ll talk football right before we go to sleep,” Maika said. “We’ll talk about our team. We’ll even talk about college football.”
They both happen to be important pieces in the Lancers’ bid to shake off a three-year run of mediocrity.
Fully recovered from a late-season concussion that kept him out of the Class 3A SPSL playoffs, Jaiave returns as the starting quarterback for his senior season. He is leaner, faster and expected to run a little more in the team’s high-powered offense.
Maika is one of the star-studded pieces of the team’s strength on defense — linebacker. And new defensive coordinator Hillary Butler will expect his linebackers to not only rush the quarterback, but be able to play in pass coverage, too.
“We will end up with one of the best linebacking corps in the state,” said Butler, a Lakes High alum who won a national college title at the University of Washington, and a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos.
“We have four guys that can get after the football. We have four guys that can cover. We have four guys who are leaders in their own way.”
Last season, Jaiave was on his way to easily having his best season. His 17 touchdown passes in eight games were second to only Peninsula’s Robert Kvinsland (23) in the 3A SPSL during the regular season.
But late in the season against Enumclaw, Jaiave suffered a head-ringing hit. He not only left the game, he never returned the rest of the season.
Lakes got into a 3A SPSL mini-playoff game two weeks later to earn a berth to the West Central District playoffs. It was Rob Reiten — not Jaiave — who started at quarterback.
“I had a hard time concentrating all week,” Jaiave said. “I kept failing the (concussion) test. That was hard. It was sad to watch the team out there without me.”
Jaiave said he did not really feel like his normal self well into November, right before basketball season.
Lakes coach Dave Miller said a goal this offseason was to put the quarterback run play into the playbook. He anticipates using Jaiave on six to 10 rushing attempts per game.
Knowing how important that facet is to the offense, Jaiave did drop his 40-yard time to 4.8 seconds — which isn’t fast, but better than the 5.0 he was at.
“Jaiave is a difference maker. He is special,” Miller said. “We missed him a lot last season. He has as strong an arm as we’ve had, and he does not turn the ball over. He just doesn’t force the ball.”
Maika will not only play on the outside, but said he will line up at defensive end on occasion. It will be the first time in his career he will be asked to rush the quarterback.
“Scheme-wise, compared to last year, there are a lot more moving parts,” Maika said. “It will be harder for offenses to block our pass rushers. We’re just moving around a lot more.”
And at about that moment, Maika shot a stern look at his cousin, who laughed.
Could Jaiave run away from an oncoming Maika?
“No,” the quarterback said. “He is a monster.”
3A SPSL PRIMER
On the Throne
Three-time defending champion Peninsula has a 21-game league winning streak entering this year. Experienced offensive line and veteran coaching staff will keep Seahawks plenty relevant.
Change is Good
Locked and loaded with 16 starting seniors, and the league’s top quarterback (Gresch Jensen) and athlete (Gavin Robertson), Auburn Mountainview is ready for run at first 3A SPSL crown.
By the Numbers
Four coaches have at least 10 years of head-coaching experience in the 3A SPSL (Auburn’s Gordy Elliot, Lakes’ Dave Miller, Peninsula’s Ross Filkins, Sumner’s Keith Ross).
Auburn Mountainview (9-2 last year), Peninsula (10-2), Lakes (6-4), Sumner (5-5), Auburn (6-4), Enumclaw (5-5), Bonney Lake (3-7), Auburn Riverside (1-9).
Mark the Date
Oct. 16, Auburn Mountainview at Peninsula, 7 p.m.
Coach: Gordon Elliott, 14th year
2014 record: 6-4, third in league; lost in 3A districts.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Gordon Elliott (jet sweep). Returning starters — 4. Top players – WR/K Caden Borden, 6-3, 180, sr.; RB Kevin Clay, 5-10, 170, sr.; OL Jacob Kludsikosky, 6-3, 280, so.; WR Tyler Pray, 6-3, 180, sr.; OL Demetreus Taua, 6-0, 285, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Kjel Kiilsgaard (3-3 stack). Returning starters — 4. Top players – DB Justin Ioimo, 6-2, 200, sr.; LB Dillon O’Grady, 5-9, 200, sr.; DL Demetreus Taua, 6-0, 285, sr.; DB Malik Williams, 5-8, 160, sr.
Outlook: While others get more fanfare, Elliott’s Trojans keep chugging along. Loaded with tough, efficient playmakers — and veterans at every level of the defense — the biggest question is the blocking. It is Auburn’s least-experienced offensive line under the longtime coach, which makes Taua’s massive presence as a three-year starter all the more vital.
AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW LIONS
Coach: Jared Gervais, fifth year
2014 record: 9-2, second in league; lost in 3A first round.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Brian Grout (spread). Returning starters — 9. Top players — OL Caleb Arciaga, 6-0, 285, sr.; QB Gresch Jensen, 6-2, 210, sr.; WR Ryan Lacey, 6-4, 179, sr.; OL Andre’ Pellow, 6-2, 275, sr.; WR Ki’Jan Weisinger, 6-0, 175, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Kent Rodseth (3-3 stack). Returning starters — 8. Top players — LB/DL Antonio Corea, 5-9, 220, sr.; DB Vaughn Daggs, 5-11, 165, sr.; DL Justin Mills, 5-11, 260, sr.; DB Gavin Robertson, 6-3, 205, sr.; LB Bitner Wilson, 5-8, 215, jr.
Outlook: So how do you like being the league favorite? Gervais said it has taken some time for his players to get used to the attention. The Lions, led by Jensen, a Montana quarterback commit, and Robertson, an Arizona safety commit, have the best talent and experience in the league. Pay attention to the underrated Wilson, a big key at running back and middle linebacker.
AUBURN RIVERSIDE RAVENS
Coach: Bryant Thomas, third year
2014 record: 1-9, eighth in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Marcus Yzaguirre (spread option). Returning starters — 5. Top players — WR Dennis Beard, 6-3, 180, sr.; QB Tiano Malietufa, 5-10, 215, so.; WR Bradley Means, 5-8, 145, sr.; OL Terrell Moffitt, 6-4, 325, jr.; WR Odarious Shaw, 6-0, 180, jr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Bryant Thomas (3-3 stack). Returning starters — 7. Top players — DB Dennis Beard, 6-3, 180, sr.; DB James Baldwin, 5-10, 210, sr.; LB Chris Ceja, 6-0, 205, jr.; LB Jake Eastby, 5-10, 200, sr.; DL Terrell Moffitt, 6-4, 325, jr.; DB Darrien Rivera, 6-3, 185, sr.
Outlook: In 2013, the Ravens won the SPSL North. Last season, they won one game in the 3A SPSL. Thomas will take a season somewhere in the middle in 2015. Malietufa, a left-hander, runs the read option like a fullback — and will have opportunities to throw to Shaw (who has moved from tailback), Beard and Rivera, a transfer from Las Vegas. Might be a year away from playoff run.
BONNEY LAKE PANTHERS
Coach: Jason Silbaugh, fourth year
2014 record: 3-7, seventh in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Von Moroz (two back). Returning starters — 5. Top players —WR Jordan Cozzi, 5-6, 155, sr.; OL Caleb Davis, 6-3, 250, jr.; RB Ethen Koepke, 6-1, 215, sr.; OL Christian Mack, 6-3, 270, jr.; RB Patrick Oxile, 5-9, 170, sr.; QB Dane Wagner, 6-3, 185, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Matt Ledbetter (4-3). Returning starters — 7. Top players — DB Jordan Cozzi, 5-6, 155, sr.; DL Caleb Davis, 6-3, 250, jr.; DB Jason Day, 5-9, 190, jr.; DB Adam Fahsel, 5-11, 175, so.; DB Cody Miller, 6-3, 180, jr.; LB Jesse Tauscher, 5-7, 195, sr.
Outlook: With lots of underclassmen starting (18) and a first-year starting quarterback (Wagner), it seems like a good time to run the football. And Bonney Lake not only had four good tailbacks, led by newcomer Marcus Hamilton, it has also gone to more of a zone-blocking scheme to allow them to find a seam and go. Wagner does have a big arm, and will take his shots downfield.
Coach: Mark Gunderson, fourth year
2014 record: 5-5, tied for fourth in league; lost in SPSL mini-tiebreaker.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Jason Patterson (power-I, spread). Returning starters — 8. Top players – OL Isaiah Cornish, 6-0, 285, sr.; WR Kyle Couts, 5-9, 160, sr.; QB Scotty Garvin, 6-5, 225, sr.; WR J.J. Johnson, 5-9, 155, sr.; RB Connor Pierce, 5-10, 185, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Mark Gunderson (5-2). Returning starters — 9. Top players – LB Tyler Harris, 5-11, 180, sr.; DB J.J. Johnson, 5-9, 155, sr.; DB Connor Pierce, 5-10, 185, sr.; LB Sam Schuler, 6-0, 200, sr.; LB Levi Ward, 6-4, 220, sr.
Outlook: When Gunderson waves around a piece of ripped undershirt, his players know what it means: Johnson, one of the league’s best all-way players, is on the loose. That seems to be the only thing defenders can grab off the speedy receiver. Garvin gets lost in shuffle of good quarterbacks in the league, and the linebacking corps, led by Schuler, is outstanding. Real sleeper in 2015.
Coach: Dave Miller, 16th year
2014 record: 6-4, tied for fourth in league; lost in SPSL mini-tiebreaker.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Dave Miller (multiple spread). Returning starters — 7. Top players – OL Jayson Fatur, 6-3, 270, sr.; WR Chris Hunter, 6-3, 215, sr.; OL Jo-Bentley Keilani, 6-3, 300, sr.; QB Jaiave Magalei, 6-2, 200, sr.; RB Melvin Miller, 5-10, 175, jr.; RB Yisrael Stephens, 5-10, 180, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Hillary Butler (4-3). Returning starters — 7. Top players — LB Cale Lindsay, 6-2, 220, jr.; LB Maika Magalei, 6-2, 220, sr.; LB Elijah McMillon, 5-10, 205, sr.; DB Melvin Miller, 5-10, 175, jr.; DL Max Nauer, 6-2, 260, sr.
Outlook: The rough road the past three seasons — a 15-16 record — seems to be smoothing over. Jaiave Magalei is healthy, and has plenty of weapons to feed with three quality tailbacks and six receivers. And now with Butler, an ex-UW and NFL linebacker, ready to unleash ultra-aggressive blitzing, Kelani Magalei and Nauer are key components occupying space in middle of defensive line.
Coach: Ross Filkins, 21st year
2014 record: 10-2, first in league; lost in 3A quarterfinals.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Mauritz Winquist (multiple spread). Returning starters — 2. Top players —WR Jack Filkins, 6-2, 170, jr.; OL Reece Johnson, 6-3, 270, sr.; QB Ryder Johnson, 6-5 205, jr.; OL Cody Kanouse, 6-7, 295, jr.; WR Deboreae McClain, 6-3, 205, jr.; RB Komisi Siolo, 6-0, 225, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Joel Epstein (3-3-5). Returning starters — 4. Top players — DB Blake Cantu, 6-0, 175, sr.; DB Jack Filkins, 6-2, 170, jr.; LB Dawson Hallock, 6-0, 210, sr.; DL Reece Johnson, 6-3, 270, sr.; DB Cameron Lewis, 5-10, 180, jr.; LB Chance Stolz, 6-2, 215, sr.
Outlook: After the three-year run the Seahawks have had (lost to Bellevue in 3A quarterfinals all three years), the champions have to fall off, don’t they? Peninsula lost every significant skill-position regular from a year ago. But with Kanouse and Reece Johnson as anchor offensive tackles, this is a very athletic line — and a good place to start to retool for another title run.
Coach: Keith Ross, 15th year
2014 record: 5-5, tied for fourth in league; lost in 3A first round.
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Spencer Crace (West Coast veer). Returning starters — 4. Top players — TE Michael Carey, 6-3, 220, jr.; OL Seth Carnahan, 6-7, 245, sr.; WR Tyson Rainwater, 6-1, 170, jr.; RB Josh Riley, 5-10, 185, sr.; RB Connor Wedington, 5-11, 190, jr.; WR Tre Weed, 6-0, 180, so.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Keith Ross (4-4 black flag). Returning starters — 6. Top players — DL Taurus Kukahiko, 5-10, 220, sr.; LB Jack McDonald, 6-1, 215, sr.; LB Josh Riley, 5-10, 185, sr.; DB Sky Sandretzky, 5-9, 165, jr.; LB Ben Wilson, 6-2, 210, so.
Outlook: It’s difficult to figure out what Ross is more excited about — his workhorse Wedington-Riley tandem at tailback or the potential of his linebacking crew. Wedington is a star in the making, and will play cornerback and return kicks. Riley is equally important on defense on the inside with McDonald, and Wilson could end up being the best linebacker this coaching staff has had.