ON THE THRONE
Todd Beamer has the most wins in the Federal Way school district the past three seasons. After a 7-0 run through its league schedule a year ago, the Titans are again the team to beat – but with several worthy challengers.
5 PLAYERS TO WATCH
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WR/FS/P Talan Alfrey, Auburn Mountainview, sr. – Last year’s NPSL Olympic Division all-purpose player of the year pretty much says it all. Alfrey, an All-Area selection by The News Tribune who is committed to BYU, threw for 924 yards and rushed for another 482 in 2016.
QB Tiano Malietufa, Auburn Riverside, sr. – A dual threat, Malietufa rushed for 730 yards and eight touchdowns and threw for 764 yards and six touchdowns in 2016 as a junior.
WR Kaden Anderson, Enumclaw, sr. – Anderson, who is also a standout basketball player, provides a big and reliable target for junior QB Kellen Kranc. The 6-6, 220-pound Anderson had 41 catches for 475 yards and six touchdowns last year.
RB Joe Fagan, Auburn, sr. – A first-team all-league running back last season, Fagan rushed for 962 yards and 12 touchdowns on 119 carries and figures to once again play a big role in the Trojans offense.
RB Colin McKay, Todd Beamer, sr. – McKay rushed for 603 yards on 89 carries and scored nine touchdowns in 2016, helping the Titans a league title.
Todd Beamer, Auburn Riverside, Auburn Mountainview, Federal Way, Auburn, Enumclaw, Thomas Jefferson, Decatur.
MARK THE DATE
Sept. 29: Todd Beamer vs. Auburn Riverside, 7 p.m. at Auburn Memorial Stadium
Coach: Gordon Elliot, 16th year
2016: 5-4, sixth in 4A NPSL Olympic
Offense: Coordinator – Aaron Chandler (spread jet). Returning starters – 8. Top Players – RB Joe Fagan, 5-9, 165, sr.; OL Jacob Kludsikofsky, 6-4, 305, sr.; RB Ben Freeman, 6-0, 190, sr.
Defense: Coordinator – Kjel Killsgaard (30 Flex Double Robber). Returning starters – 6. Top Players – MLB Cole Washburn, 6-0, 190, sr.; DL Anthony King, 5-10, 280, sr.; S Hope Tuamoheloa, 5-9, 200, sr.; S Calvin Liulamaga, 6-0, 190, jr.
Outlook: The Trojans started last season 5-0, before losing their final four games to fall out of playoff contention. The Trojans will rely heavily on senior running back Joe Fagan, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards.
AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW LIONS
Coach: Jared Gervais, seventh year
2016: 5-5, second in 4A NPSL Olympic, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator – Gervais (spread). Returning starters – 5. Top Players – WR Talan Alfrey, 6-1, 195, sr.; OL Wyatt Lewis, 6-2, 250, sr.; QB Sui Daniels, 6-0, 185, sr.; OL Jaron Marks, 6-2, 225, jr.; WR Bill Benjamin, 6-2, 175, jr.; WR/QB Drew Davenport, 5-9, 165, so.; WR Cooper White, 5-7, 145, so.
Defense: Coordinator – Kent Rodseth (3-3 stack). Returning starters – 5. Top Players – FS Alfrey; DB Daniels; DL/OLB Damion Lowe, 5-1, 235, sr.; DL Marks; DB Benjamin; LB Chandler Bartoy, 5-9, 180, jr.; LB Zaire Lozolo, 5-9, 185, so.
Outlook: Alfrey is one of the most versatile players in the league, throwing for over 900 yards and rushing for over 400 a year ago. All three Auburn schools are tough, but Alfrey could be a difference-maker for the Lions, as they look to improve on their second-place finish from last season.
AUBURN RIVERSIDE RAVENS
Coach: Bryant Thomas, fourth year
2016: 5-5, third in 4A NPSL Olympic, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator – Marcus Yzaguirre (spread option). Returning starters – 8. Top Players – QB Tiano Malietufa, 5-11, 225, sr.; RB Sam Braboy, 6-1, 205, sr.; WR Isaiah Prescott, 5-9, 170, sr.; OL Eyvar Robles, 6-3, 280, sr.; OL Trendae Umi-Tuato’o, 5-11, 275, sr.; WR Javon Forward, 6-0, 185, so.; WR Jayden Robinson, 6-0, 180, sr.; OL D’Angelo Titialil, 5-11, 255 so.
Defense: Coordinator – Thomas (flex). Returning starters – 9. Top Players – SS Malietufa; LB Braboy; DB Prescott; DL Robles; DL Umi-Tuato’o; FS Forward; DB Robinson; DL Justus Legg, 6-5, 240 jr.; DB Isaiah Thissle, 5-11, 165, sr.
Outlook: The Ravens return the most starters on both sides of the ball of any school in the division. Dual-threat quarterback Tiano Malietufa passed and rushed for over 700 yards last season is a key for the Ravens.
DECATUR GOLDEN GATORS
Coach: Levi Suiaunoa, fourth year
2016: 1-9, eighth in 4A NPSL Olympic
Offense: Coordinator – James Diggins (multiple). Returning starters – 7. Top Players – WR/RB George Mensah, 6-0, 190, sr.; QB/RB Jeremiah Palaita, 6-1, 215, jr.; OL Quinzy Salu, 6-3, 250, sr.
Defense: Coordinator – Jason Russell (4-3). Returning starters – 4. Top Players – DL Salu; LB Palaita, DB Mensah.
Outlook: Decatur averaged a league-worst 13 points per game last season and gave up a league-worst 37.4 points per game. All that adds up to an 0-7 league record and just one win.
Coach: Mark Gunderson, sixth year
2016: 5-5, fourth in 4A NPSL Olympic, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator – Jeff Johnson (2 back multiple). Returning starters – 7. Top Players – OL Keegan Ulrich, 6-4, 250, sr.; WR Kaden Anderson, 6-6, 220, sr.; QB Kellen Kranc, 6-3, 180, jr.; RB Nick Harberts, 6-0, 190, jr.
Defense: Coordinator – Gunderson (5-2). Returning starters – 7. Top Players – DT Ulrich; OLB Harberts; DT, Eric Knutson, 6-0, 235, sr.; NT Austin Rewaldt, 5-10, 230, sr.; OLB Kale Engebretsen, 5-11, 185, jr.; DB Bryson Engebretsen, 5-11, 185, jr.; FS Bear Kuro, 6-0, 195, sr.
Outlook: Head coach Mark Gunderson said he learned a lot about his team last year and is optimistic for this season. The Hornets boast a talented group of skill players and a solid line.
FEDERAL WAY EAGLES
Coach: John Meagher, 20th year
2016: 5-5, fifth in 4A NPSL Olympic, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator – Beckett Cordes (pistol option). Returning starters – 4. Top Players – OL, Tim Faoa, 6-0, 280, sr.; WR/RB Trey Davis, 6-1, 205, jr.; QB Solomon Bang, 5-10, 175, jr.; RB Alphonzo Tuputala, 6-2, 225, jr.; RB Eric Jones, 5-8, 165, sr.
Defense: Coordinator – CJ Green (4-3). Returning starters – 6. Top Players – LB Tuputala; DL Iki Tiuli, 6-0, 215, sr.; LB Zephaniah Tui, 6-0, 215, jr.; LB Tico Nah, 6-2, 225, sr.; DL Faoa; S Davis; DB Jones.
Outlook: The Eagles are inexperienced on offense with just four returning starters. They had to replace several key players, including senior quarterback Gabe Togia, who was the top passer in the NPSL Olympic Division last season.
THOMAS JEFFERSON RAIDERS
Coach: Scott Morgan, second year
2016: 2-8, seventh in 4A NPSL Olympic
Offense: Coordinator – Jason Torgerson (pro/wildcat). Returning starters – 8. Top Players – OL Bijan San Jose-Lee , 6-1, 270, sr.; OL Daniel Fernandez, 6-0, 275, jr.; OL Aandre Hernandez, 6-0, 255, jr.; WR Jordan Peeks, 5-11, 170, sr.; RB Ruperake Fuavai, 6-2, 215, jr.; QB Charles Wright, 5-9, 185, so.; RB Sione Aho, 5-9, 205, sr.; WR Matthew Boehme, 6-4, 215, sr.
Defense: Coordinator – Morgan (4-3). Returning starters – 4. Top Players – LB Fuavai; DL San Jose-Lee; DB Jalon Norman, 5-9, 150, sr.; LB Aho.
Outlook: After a successful 2015 season – 7-3 record and a trip to 4A district playoffs – the Raiders slipped in 2016, winning just two games and finishing seventh in the eight-team Olympic Division. The Raiders have a strong group of lineman and linebackers, but will need their skill position players to have an impact.
TODD BEAMER TITANS
Coach: Darren McKay, sixth year
2016: 8-2 record, first in 4A NPSL Olympic, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator – Shawn McKay (wing-t). Returning starters – 5. Top Players – RB Kuma Scanlan, 6-0, 205, sr.; Slot/KR Colin McKay, 5-9, 182, sr.; RB Billy Vann, 5-9, 180, jr.; TE Patrick Tofilau, 6-0, 235; QB Brendan Niksich, 6-2, 172, jr.; OL Greg Iamanu, 6-2, 222, jr.
Defense: Coordinator – Darren McKay (4-2-5). Returning starters – 5. Top Players – LB Scanlan; DB McKay; DB Vann; DB Xavier Watson, 5-10, 220, sr.; LB Ryan Gagner 5-11, 220, sr.
Outlook: The Titans finished 7-0 last season, but don’t let the record fool you, the NPSL Olympic was extremely competitive and head coach Darren McKay expects it to be so once again this season. Scanlan, Vann and Colin McKay, the nephew of Darren, give Todd Beamer three explosive weapons on offense.
CASCADE DIVISION BATTLE AT THE TOP
Kentwood continues to have everything a dominant program needs: talent, consistency and depth. Watch out for Kennedy Catholic, which has an improved defense.
5 PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Justin Seiber, Kentwood, sr. — Ranked No. 5 last year in NPSL, completed 59 percent of passes for 1,273 yards and 10 TDs.
OL/LB Bowen McConville, Kennedy Catholic, sr — Named to first team of the NPSL last year on offense and second team on defense.
WR/CB Corbin Walker, Hazen, jr. — Made 37 receptions for 503 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. Named to second team NPSL for offense and defense last season.
RB Solomon Hines, Kentridge, sr — First team offense and special teams (punt return) last year, rushed for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns.
QB Brandon Mortenson, Kentlake, sr. — Tough and physical but also accurate, completed 63 percent of his passes. Poised for breakout year if he capitalizes on a fast group of receivers.
Kentwood, Kennedy Catholic, Hazen, Kentlake, Mount Rainier, Tahoma, Kentridge, Kent-Meridian
MARK THE DATE
Sept. 16: Kentwood vs. Kennedy Catholic, 6 p.m. at French Field.
Coach: Chris Bennett, second year.
2016: 2-7 record, seventh in NPSL Cascade
Offense: Coordinator (set) — Bennett (multiple). Returning starters — 6. Top players — WR Corbin Walker, 5-11, 175, jr; OL Daniel Lee, 6-2, 250, sr; OL Vance Dumas, 6-0, 240, jr; OL Nate Spears, 6-0, 230, jr; RB/WR Jacob Black, 6-0, 175, sr; TE/WR Austin Wales, 6-6, 235, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) — Travis Motley (3/4). Returning starters — 6. Top players — CB Corbin Walker, 5-11, 175, jr; DL Vance Dumas, 6-0, 240, jr; DL Nate Spears, 6-0, 230, jr; DL Austin Wales, 6-6, 235, sr.
Outlook: More depth and experience give the Highlanders hope. Walker was a second All-NPSL teamer last year as a wide receiver and defensive back. With Lee, Dumas and Spears, the Highlanders offensive line will be tough.
KENNEDY CATHOLIC LANCERS
Coach: Sheldon Cross, second year.
2016: 7-2 record, tied for second in NPSL Cascade
Offense: Coordinator — Cross (spread). Returning starters — 6. Top players — OL Bowen McConville, 6-0, 240 sr, WR Primo Ramirez, 5-11, 175 sr, C Nathan Snider, 6-0, 255, jr; G Jacob McFarlane, 6-0, 265, jr; TB Kendell Oakes, 6-0, 190, sr; WR Trenton Morrison, 5-10, 165, so.
Defense: Coordinator — Garrett Cook (odd multiple). Returning starters — 6. Top players — LB Bowen McConville, 6-0, 240 sr; FS Primo Ramirez, 5-1, 175, sr; DL Lei-Ben Fesili, 6-0, 250 so; DL Jahvius Levi, 5-11, 250 so; CB Matt Wallitner, 6-0, 165 sr; CB Daeshawn Wilson, 5-11, 165, sr.
Outlook: Cross said his offensive line has gotten a lot stronger from extra work in the weight room. Senior cornerbacks Wallitner and Wilson are capable defenders. Veterans McConville, Ramirez and Oakes are also back to lead the Lancers on offense.
Coach: Jeff Scott, second year
2016: 2-7, sixth in NPSL Cascade
Outlook: The Royals could be in for another tough season, especially after the departure of their star Jovan McConico, who transferred to Garfield. McConico led the Royals in just about every statistical category, was the NPSL Defensive Back of the year, and was named to the NPSL First Team for offense, defense and special teams.
Coach: Brett Thompson, third year.
2016: 7-2, tied for second place in NPSL Cascade
Offense: Coordinator — N/A (spread). Returning starters — 4. Top players — QB Brandon Mortenson, 6-2, 205, sr; OL Kristian McFarland, 6-0, 250, sr; RB Tony Heimann, 5-7, 185, sr; RB Jeremiah Woods, 6-1, 176, jr.
Defense: Coordinator — N/A (3-4). Returning starters — 3. Top players — LB Marque Fuala’au, 6-1, 215, sr; FS Hudson Potts, 5-7, 160, Jr; LB Carson Lucas, 6-1, 195, jr.
Outlook: Offense is a strength. With two solid quarterbacks in Mortenson and Potts and more speed and depth at the wide receiver position, the Falcons should rack up yards and points. Heimann, who earned honorable mention honors last season at running back, is an explosive, physical athlete.
Coach: Brett Ogata, first year.
Offense: Coordinator — Ogata (spread). Returning starters — 3. Top players — RB Solomon Hines, 5-11, 176, sr; OL Isaac Chung, 6-3, 295, sr.
Defense: Coordinator — Danny Thompson (even). Returning starters — 3. Top players — DL Isaac Chung, 6-3, 295, sr 2nd Team NPSL Cascade
Outlook: Ogata spent nine years at Mercer Island and specializes in coaching quarterbacks. He takes over the Kentridge program from Marty Osborn, who led the Chargers for 27 years. Senior running back Solomon Hines will need to continue to provide critical leadership for a program that is looking to rebound after a tough season last year.
Coach: Mike Bush, third year.
2015: 7-2, first in NPSL Cascade, lost in 4A district playoffs
Offense: Coordinator — Matt Roth (basic). Returning starters — 8. Top players — QB Justin Seiber, 6-3, 175 sr; WR Jake Moore Sr 6-1, 180, sr; RB Dyson Johnson 6-0, 200, sr; OL Timmy Breeden, 6-2, 230, sr; OL Conner McAurthur 6-4, 335, jr; WR Mason Glover 5-9, 185, sr; RB Tayvonne Miller sr.
Defense: Coordinator — Dion Alexander (basic). Returning starters — 6. Top players — DB Alex McGeachy, 6-2, 170, sr; LB Cade Harris, 6-3, 180, sr; DB JaMezz Johnson, 5-8, 160, jr; DB Mason Glover, 5-9, 185, sr; DL Trey Thomas, 6-2, 240, sr; DB Lionelletui Americana Mulitauaopele, 6-0, 176, sr; LB Luke Klein, 5-9, 230, jr.
Outlook: The Conquerors are loaded. They have the arguably the best quarterback in the league in Seiber and returning veterans at just about every other position. Moore and Glover are a dynamic duo for Seiber to throw to and Johnson and Miller will be looking to make their mark at running back. Coach Bush said his back seven on defense are athletic, fast and coachable. The Conquerors are positioned for a deeper run in the playoffs this year.
MT. RAINIER RAMS
Coach: Tremain Mack, sixth year.
2016: 7-2, tied for second in NPSL Cascade
Offense: Coordinator — Steve Fenton (pistol spread). Returning starters — 7. Top players — WR Joe Grantham, 5-10, 171, jr; WR Alex Tanev, 5-9, 159, sr; TE Cosmo Miller, 6-1, 200, sr; OL Idris Idris, 6-1, 265, sr; OL Anthony Aguilar, 5-8, 218, so; OL Tyler Snow, 6-2, 241, sr; RB Justin Martinez, 5-9, 198, sr.
Defense: Coordinator — Mack (4-3). Returning starters — 8. Top players — DB Joe Grantham, 5-10 171, jr; CB Alex Tanev, 5-9, 159, sr; DE Cosmo Miller, 6-1, 200, sr; LB Justin Martinez, 5-8 198, sr; LB William Kanongata’a, 5-8, 160, jr; LB Victor Torres, 5-8, 161, sr; CB Austin Moen, 5-6 145, jr; DE Jeremiah Judd, 5-11, 196, so.
Outlook: The Rams were part of a three-way tie for second. They have potential in the passing game with Grantham, Tanev and Miller and a solid running back in Justin Martinez. Martinez and Torres led the defense last year, combining for 311 tackles and eight sacks.
Coach: Tony Davis, 24th year.
2016: 3-6, fifth in NPSL Cascade
Offense: Coordinator — Melvin Wells (spread). Returning starters — 7. Top players — C James Matthews, 6-1, 303, jr; OL Allister MacKinnon, 6-0, 205, sr; WR Jerrel Chapman, 6-1, 180, sr; QB Conner Lambro, 6-1, 165, sr; OL Colten Douglas, OL Ryan Clarin, OL Brennan Heggenes
Defense: Coordinator — Walt Howard (odd front). Returning starters — 4. Top players — DB Jerrel Chapman, DL Trevor Donahue, DL James Matthews, DL/LB Allister MacKinnon, 6-0, 205, sr.
Outlook: With a solid group of core veterans who play both sides of the ball, the Bears should be competitive, but will that be enough to break them out of the middle of the pack?
– Matthew Boivin