High School Sports

Local small schools football: Top teams, players to watch in 2017

1A NISQUALLY LEAGUE

ON THE THRONE

Cascade Christian should sit atop the 1A Nisqually once again. They return eight starters on each side of the ball and perhaps the best quarterback in school history entering his sophomore campaign.

NEW FACE IN THE 253

Tacoma Baptist will have a new head coach in Steve Stone this season. The Crusaders went undefeated in their first season playing eight-man until a 66-26 loss to Neah Bay in the state title game.

1ST AND 15?

While six-man football is played in a handful of states in the country, it is not often seen here in Washington. 1B Evergreen Lutheran is scheduled to play a six-man game against Clallam Bay on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. In six-man, every player is eligible to catch a pass and first downs are 15 yards.

MARK THE CALENDAR

Cascade Christian received a stiff challenge from Charles Wright Academy last season in a 13-0 win. They will face off on October 14 at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium at 7 p.m.

CHARLES WRIGHT ACADEMY

Coach: Brian Burdick, second year

2016 record: 5-6, fourth in 1A Nisqually

Offense: Coordinator — David Parker (spread). Returning starters -- 8. Top players-- WR Alex Meadowcraft, 5-9, 150, sr.; WR Anthony Lundberg, 5-9, 165, sr.; OL Thomas Vogelgesang, 5-9, 190, sr.; WR Michael Tucci. 6-1. 185, sr.; OL Cade Cochran, 5-10, 175, jr.

Defense: Coordinator -- Brian Burdick (3-4). Returning starters -- 7. Top players-- DB Alex Meadowcraft, sr; DB Anthony Lundberg, sr.; LB Noah Fields, sr.; LB Michael Tucci, sr.; DB Asher Asadi-Shakoor, jr.; DB Jon Mayer, soph.; LB Hayden Saalfeld, sr.

Outlook: Charles Wright Academy will look to make a push to a winning record this season behind a talented group of seniors. The team will lean on WR/DB Alex Meadowcraft, who packs a punch at 5-foot-9 and is the inspirational leader of the team.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN COUGARS

Coach: Randy Davis, 14th year

2016 record: 10-1, first in 1A Nisqually, lost in first round of state playoffs

Offense: Coordinator — Brian Flattum (multiple unbalanced). Returning starters — 8. Top players — RB Madden Tobeck, 6-0, 195, sr.; RB Tyquan Coleman, 5-10, 165, sr.; OL Corbin Nohr, 6-2, 235, sr.; QB Parker Johnson, 6-2, 200, so.; RB/K Evan Patrick, 5-9, 170, sr.; OL Jeremy Ocbian, 6-0, 215, sr.; TE Tanner Carle, 6-0, 175, sr.

Defense: Coordinator -- Devin Snyder (3-3 stack). Returning starters -- 8. Top players — LB Tanner Carle, 6-0, 175, sr.; DB Tyquan Coleman, 5-10, 165, sr.; DL Corbin Nohr, 6-2, 235, sr.; DL Jeremy Ocbian, 6-0, 215, sr.; DL Abel Nutu, 5-9, 225, sr.; DB Madden Tobeck, 6-0, 195, sr.; LB Donovan Scott, 6-0, 185, jr.

Outlook: The 1A Nisqually will be the Cougars’ to lose this season. They return eight starters on each side of the ball from a team that went undefeated in the regular season. Watch for growth from Parker Johnson at quarterback as he enters his sophomore year

VASHON ISLAND PIRATES

Coach: Clay Eastly, second year

2016 record: 1-9, seventh in 1A Nisqually

Offense: (Spread). Top players — QB/RB Connor Hoisington, sr.; WR Sol Dehnert, jr.; C Cody Whitman, sr.; OL Evan Stanford, jr.; OL Edgar Hernandez, so.

Defense: Top players — DL Cody Whitman, sr.; DE Evan Stanford, jr.; DL Edgar Hernandez, so.

Outlook: Bombs away. Head coach Clay Eastly said the Pirates are going to throw the ball all over the field this year. In particular, they will utilize a horizontal offense relying on bubble screens and short passes.

OTHERS

TACOMA BAPTIST CRUSADERS

Coach: Steve Stone, first year

2016 record:10-1, first in 1B SeaTac, lost in state quarterfinals

Outlook: Tacoma Baptist’s transition to the eight-man game was a resounding success, as they ran unbeaten all the way to the state quarterfinal game before being knocked off by state champion Neah Bay. 1B SeaTac MVP PJ Talen returns after racking up 39 total touchdowns last season.

EVERGREEN LUTHERAN EAGLES

Coach: Allen Ash, second year

2016 record: 1-8, fifth in 1B SeaTac, lost to Neah Bay in 1B playoff opener

Offense: (Wing/Power I). Top players —QB Ethan Hoefler, fr.; RB Aaron Baker, sr.; FB Ryan Circelli, sr.

Defense: Top players — DL Grant Werkhoven, jr.; DL Aaren Kvale, jr.

Outlook: The Eagles enter 2017 with excitement and a very young squad, bolstered by two late freshman additions. One of those is Ethan Hoefler, who will start at quarterback for Evergreen Lutheran. Head coach Ash Allen sees a talented squad with quickness across the roster, a crucial trait in the eight-man game.

CHIEF LESCHI WARRIORS

Coach: Josh Bellinger, first year

2016 record: 1-9, seventh in Pacific 2B Mountain

Offense: (Spread). Top players -- QB Kahea Baker jr.; WR Chris Whitford, jr.

Defense: (4-3). Top players — DE Issiah Horton, jr.; DT Devin Francis, jr.

Outlook: Despite low numbers and injuries that could see them forfeit their first game, head coach Josh Bellinger is pleased with the work his squad has put in since he took over in June. With a core group of seven juniors, he is hoping to lay a foundation and build a tradition this season that could attract young students to the program in future seasons.

LIFE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY EAGLES

Coach: Bobby Miller, first year

2016 record: 3-5, fifth in Pacific 2B Mountain

Offense: (Pistol Wing T). Top players — RB Ezra Miller, 6-1, 215, sr.; QB Nathan Joslin, jr.

Defense: (3-3 stack). Top players —Seth Donaldson, 6-3, 245, jr.; LB Ezra Miller, 6-1, 215, sr.

Outlook: According to head coach Bobby Miller, the offense is going to operate through running back Ezra Miller, who he described as, “A beast.” Miller believes that with a player of Ezra’s caliber in the 2B, they have a good shot to make a playoff run despite having just one senior on the roster.

preps@thenewstribune.com

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