The News Tribune’s All-Area football team breaks down the top plays of 2018
The News Tribune’s All-Area football team has become an annual tradition, highlighting the best players in the South Sound — a region that includes more than 60 high schools, nine leagues, and all six classifications, ranging from 4A to 1B.
The team is carefully selected with input from coaches. This year, 35 schools in the South Sound are represented by players and coaches selected to the All-Area first and second teams.
The 31 first-team spots, broken down by leagues, are 4A NPSL Mountain (four), 4A SPSL (11), 3A Pierce County League (eight), 3A South Sound Conference (four), 2A SPSL Mountain (two) and 2A SPSL Sound (two).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Quarterback, 5-11, 185, sr.
Holcomb was the biggest reason the Vikings played in the 4A state semifinals for the first time since 2005, and made just their sixth trip to that round in program history. The 4A SPSL MVP finished 210 of 307 passing for 3,148 yards, added 120 carries for 765 yards, and scored 53 total touchdowns. Holcomb had a 68.4 completion percentage, and averaged 301 yards of total offense per game.
Coach of the year
In his 16th season at Fife, Nevin, who was the 2A SPSL Mountain coach of the year, led the Tojans to the 2A state semifinals for the first time in program history. Between their only two losses of the season — to 3A state quarterfinals qualifier Rainier Beach, and 2A state runner-up Lynden — the Trojans went on an 11-game winning streak, and won an undefeated 2A SPSL title.
Paulson, who is also the Vikings’ head coach, led Curtis back to the 4A state playoffs for the first time since 2010. And, the Vikings boasted one of the top offenses in their classification, averaging 40.6 points per game. Curtis led the 4A SPSL — which sent three teams to the state playoffs — in rushing offense (214.1 yards per game, 7.7 per play) and total offense (459.4 yards per game, 8.5 per play).
Kellcy piloted a Lakes defense that allowed just 12.7 points per game, and paced the Lancers to an undefeated 3A PCL title and the 3A state playoffs. Mountain View, which advanced to the 3A semifinals, is the only team in the classification that allowed fewer points per game (7.5). Lakes’ defense allowed just 185 yards per game to opponents, and 4 per play. The Lancers’ staff was dubbed the 3A PCL coaching staff of the year.
Quarterback, 6-2, 185, soph.
Huard eclipsed the debut performance that earned him MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year honors a season ago by throwing for a career-high 4,165 yards and 42 touchdowns on 248 of 395 passing. Huard, a UW commit, has led the state in passing in back-to-back seasons, and was named the 4A NPSL Mountain offensive back of the year this season, and a first-team quarterback. He’s considered the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the nation in the 2021 class.
Quarterback, 6-1, 195, sr.
Two-time TNT All-Area pick finished his senior campaign 173 of 291 for 2,571 yards and 28 touchdowns, and will ink his longtime commitment to UW this month. Morris finished his four-year career with the Eagles completing 636 of 1,021 passes for 9,815 yards and 99 touchdowns, which places him seventh all-time in Washington for passing yards, just ahead of former Lake Stevens star Jacob Eason — who also plays for the Huskies. Morris was the 4A SPSL co-offensive player of the year this season.
Running back, 5-10, 175, sr.
A workhorse running back if there ever was one. Much of Puyallup’s explosive offense ran through Holcomb, but Cramer put together an impressive season, churning out 122.8 yards per game on the ground. The 4A SPSL first-teamer finished with 265 carries for 1,596 yards and 22 total touchdowns, while averaging 6 yards per carry and leading the Vikings in all-purpose yards per game (133). Added 74 tackles, four for losses, at outside linebacker.
Running back, 5-7, 165, sr.
The main source of offense for a Central Kitsap team that advanced to the district playoffs. The 3A SSC first-team pick led the South Sound in rushing this season, finishing with 243 carries for 1,801 yards and 20 touchdowns. Refilong averaged 180.1 rushing yards per game, and an impressive 7.4 yards per carry as the Cougars’ workhorse, and racked up 2,198 all-purpose yards.
Multi-purpose, 5-8, 170, sr.
The 3A SSC MVP was a true dual-threat, and ran the offense for a Blazers team that advanced to the 3A state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. Campau finished 108 of 175 passing for 1,487 yards, and with 240 carries for 1,381 yards. He scored 35 total touchdowns, and led the 3A SSC in total offense. Campau piled up 100-plus yards passing and rushing in six different games this season. Has an offer from Simon Fraser.
All-purpose, 6-1, 185, soph.
There’s a reason Egbuka — who is considered an athlete by recruiters — is the No. 38 prospect in the nation in the 2021 class. The 2A SPSL Sound co-MVP was a consistent threat in all three phases this season. He had 72 catches for 1,492 yards and 23 touchdowns as a receiver, and added a team-high eight interceptions at corner. He scored three more times on special teams, and averaged an eye-popping 163.3 all-purpose yards per game. Egbuka has offers from nine Power 5 schools.
Wide receiver, 6-3, 175, sr.
Three-year starter for the Vikings matured as a leader, and was willing to do whatever it took to win, coach Gary Jeffers says. Morrison was a first-team 4A SPSL selection, finishing with 57 catches for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns, and averaged 15.9 yards per catch. His 178 receiving yards in Puyallup’s state quarterfinals win over Mount Si were the most in a single game by any Vikings receiver this season. Also returned kicks and punts.
Wide receiver, 5-8, 160, jr.
4A SPSL first-team pick led the league in receiving as UW-bound quarterback Dylan Morris’ top target, and hauled in 74 catches for 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns during the Eagles’ run to the 4A state quarterfinals. Roberson’s 47 receptions are a single-season record for the program, and he finished four games with 100-plus receiving yards, and two games with 200-plus. Added four interceptions at corner.
Wide receiver, 6-1, 175, soph.
Quarterback Sam Huard’s top targets was sure-handed and consistent, and led the 4A NPSL — all divisions — in receiving. A first-team 4A NPSL Mountain pick, Tinae paced Kennedy with 68 catches for 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 128.1 yards per game, and 18.8 per catch. Has offers from Colorado, Oregon, Utah and WSU.
Offensive lineman, 6-6, 300, sr.
First-team 3A PCL selection blocked for an offense that averaged 422.8 yards per game and 7.6 yards per play. Also lined up at fullback and scored a touchdown for the Tigers this season. Elder is considering college offers from 19 Division I schools.
Offensive lineman, 6-5, 220, sr.
Two-way starter for the Lancers was the 3A PCL offensive lineman of the year. At left tackle, Fischer blocked for an offense that averaged 380.4 yards per game and 7.5 yards per play. Finished with 30 tackles and a team-leading seven sacks on defense.
Offensive lineman, 6-4, 340, sr.
Four-year varsity starter was the 4A NPSL Mountain offensive lineman of the year. Matila blocked for an offense that averaged 383.7 yards per game, and 7.2 yards per play. Beamer averaged 40.1 points per game, and earned the top seed out of the 4A NPSL Mountain in its district-playoff run.
Offensive lineman, 6-0, 245, sr.
4A SPSL lineman of the year was a three-year starter, and played all five positions on the offensive line for a Vikings team that led the league in rushing offense (214.1 yards per game, 7.7 per play) and total offense (459.4 yards per game, 8.5 per play). Led the 4A SPSL in sacks, and finished with 9.5 during Curtis’ run to the 4A state playoffs. Added 12 tackles for losses, three forced fumbles, two recoveries, a blocked punt and blocked field goal attempt. Considering PLU and Redlands.
Offensive lineman, 6-4, 290, sr.
Commitment to offseason work made Simon one of the most pivotal players for the Abes. 3A PCL lineman of the year was a two-way starter and led by example, blocking for an offense that averaged 443 yards per game and 9.1 yards per play. Piled up 54 tackles, including 20 for losses and nine sacks in nine games played, and added two pass knockdowns, a fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown. Has offers from Montana State, Portland State and Sacramento State.
Defensive lineman, 6-3, 215, sr.
Gaulke did just about everything for the 3A PCL champions as a versatile, two-way player. He collected 29 tackles, including five for losses and six sacks as a first-team 3A PCL pick on the defensive line. On offense, he finished with 94 carries for 528 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was a 3A PCL first-team selection at fullback. Was also the Lancers’ punter, averaging 35.1 yards per attempt with a long of 54. Has an offer from Redlands.
Defensive lineman, 6-3, 285, sr.
Two-time TNT All-Area pick continued to excel on both sides of the ball for the Eagles, and was dubbed the 4A SPSL co-defensive player of the year. Finished regular-season play with 49 tackles, including six for losses and 4.5 sacks. Has offers from Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana State and Portland State.
Defensive lineman, 6-3, 290, sr.
Two-time TNT All-Area pick was a four-year starter for the Abes, and never missed the 3A state playoffs, advancing as far as the quarterfinals his sophomore season. 3A PCL MVP finished with 65 tackles, including a team-leading 25 for losses, nine sacks, two pass knockdowns, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Also blocked for an offense that averaged 443 yards per game, and 9.1 per play. Has offers from Central Washington, Eastern Washington and Georgetown.
Linebacker, 6-1, 195, sr.
4A NPSL Mountain linebacker of the year led the league — all divisions — in tackles, tackles for losses and finished third in sacks. Paced the Hornets to the district playoffs, finishing with a team-high 135 tackles (averaging 15 per game), including 22 for losses and six sacks.
Linebacker, 6-1, 195, sr.
3A SSC defensive player of the year led the league in tackles, tackles for losses and sacks. Platt was one of the state’s top tacklers, finishing with 142, and set program records for single-season tackles for loss (21) and sacks (15). He also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, and is the defending 3A state wrestling champion at 182 pounds.
Linebacker, 6-0, 215, jr.
Was one of the state’s most dominant middle linebackers, and finished with a state-best 182 total tackles, according to MaxPreps. Uluilakepa averaged 14 tackles per game, and had eight for losses, four picks and scored three total touchdowns — including two on interception returns.
Linebacker, 6-3, 215, sr.
Utah State commit was one of the state’s top tacklers for the second consecutive season, finishing with 124, including 22 for losses and a classification-leading 15 sacks, according to MaxPreps. Was the 2A SPSL Sound defensive player of the year, but also made an impact on offense, rushing for a team-high 1,198 yards and 16 touchdowns on 142 carries (8.4 yards per attempt), and averaged 102.1 all-purpose yards per game.
Defensive back, 6-2, 185, jr.
Camas learned this lesson the hard way during a trip to Sunset Chev — don’t throw the ball where Clark can catch it, because he will. The 4A SPSL first-team defensive back had four interceptions against the Papermakers, and finished with a league- and classification-best eight picks, according to MaxPreps. Coach Keith Ross says Clark’s presence at corner shut down one side of the field. He also collected three touchdowns as a dynamic kick returner.
Defensive back, 6-2, 170, sr.
2A SPSL Mountain MVP was everywhere for the Trojans, and paced the program to undefeated division and league titles, and its first-ever appearance in the 2A state semifinals. Ginnis had 42 tackles, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries at free safety, and averaged 43.2 years per attempt as a punter, with a long of 82 that ranked sixth in the nation this season according to MaxPreps. Also led the Trojans in passing (46 of 102, 661 yards) and rushing (178 carries, 1,060 yards) and scored 30 total touchdowns.
Defensive back, 6-5, 205, jr.
3A PCL defensive back of the year, and first-team special teams pick as a kick returner was versatile and dynamic for the Braves, who made a run to the 3A state playoffs. Latu scored nine total touchdowns — rushing, receiving, kick return and punt return — and hauled in two interceptions at free safety. Has offers from Arizona State and Tennessee.
Defensive back, 6-3, 220, soph.
Started his dominant defensive campaign in a season-opening win over Camas with two interceptions — one he returned for a 30-yard touchdown, and another that denied the Papermakers on a conversion try that could have tied the game late. Simon never slowed down from there. The 3A PCL defensive player of the year finished with a team-leading five interceptions and 13 touchdowns — including four defensive scores. Considered the No. 45 recruit in the nation in the 2021 class, Simon has seven Power 5 offers.
Kicker, 6-1, 185, sr.
4A SPSL first-team selection at kicker and punter was a consistent presence for the Vikings, connecting on 72 of 81 PAT tries and all five field goal attempts, with a long of 29. Also averaged 54.2 yards per kickoff, with a long of 60, and 30 touchbacks. At punter, Pierce averaged 39.1 yards per attempt with a long of 56.
Punter, 6-0, 165, sr.
Averaged 37 yards per punt and converted five fakes on his way to 3A SSC first-team punting honors, but will be more remembered for his success as Peninsula’s quarterback. The 3A SSC offensive player of the year led the Seahawks to the 3A state quarterfinals for the third consecutive season, and led Peninsula in passing (110 of 172, 1,526 yards) and rushing (149 carries, 1,203 yards), and scored 24 total TDs. Has offers from Colorado School of Mines, New Hampshire and Simon Fraser.
Quarterbacks — Liam Bladow, Lakes, sr.; Caden Filer, Lincoln, jr.; J.J. Lemming, Steilacoom, sr.; Natano Woods, Kentridge, sr.
Running backs — Nazje Briscoe, Stadium, sr.; Josh Camacho, Washington, sr.; Alema Gago, Rogers, sr.; DaShaun Leon, Kentlake, sr.; Khalil Lewis, Lakes, sr.; Nick Harberts, Enumclaw, sr.
Receivers — Junior Alexander, Kennedy Catholic, soph.; Justin Baker, Kennedy Catholic, jr.; Justin Haase, Puyallup, sr.; Xavier Mason, Stadium, sr.; Corbin Walker, Hazen, sr.; Conner Zetterberg, Cascade Christian, jr.
Tight ends — Josiah Drain, Rogers, sr.; Prince Fa’amalele, Todd Beamer, soph.
Offensive line — Jacob Crumb, Kentridge, jr.; Jacob Dimond, Yelm, sr.; Vance Dumas, Hazen, sr.; Fili Fata, Clover Park, jr.; Wyatt Hanson, Kentwood, jr.; Reese Lawrence, Bellarmine Prep, sr.; Aho Makaafi, Federal Way, soph.; Herbert Polu, River Ridge, sr.; Eyvar Robles, Auburn Riverside, sr.; Chris Sparks, Graham-Kapowsin, sr.
Multi-purpose — Caden Jumper, Eatonville, soph.; Kyle Russell, Curtis, jr.
All-purpose — Will Latu, Bethel, soph.; Billy Vann, Todd Beamer, sr.
Defensive line — Tua Areta, Kent Meridian, sr.; Justus Legg, Auburn Riverside, sr.; Toretto Metzger-Magalei, Cascade Christian, jr.; Lupeti Sarte, Fife, sr.; Jacob Schuster, Tumwater, soph.; Denny Tiumalu, Todd Beamer, jr.
Linebackers — Jamin Fa’alogo, Timberline, sr.; Tim Jensen, Bellarmine Prep, sr.; Logan Kitselman, Tacoma Baptist, sr.; Braeden Potter, Peninsula, sr.; Tyler Ruch, Sumner, sr.; Sekai Samuelu, Fife, sr.; Alphonzo Tuputala, Federal Way, sr.
Defensive backs — Jeremy Banks, Kentridge, sr.; Jurian Herring, Gig Harbor, sr.; Ar’Tavious Magee, Todd Beamer, sr.; Hudson Potts, Kentlake, sr.; Ben Rodriguez, Puyallup, sr.; Taylor Simmons, Black Hills, sr.; Daeshawn Wayne, Lakes, sr.
Kickers — Fulton Gunderson, Enumclaw, jr.; Wyatt Redding, Sumner, fr.
Punters — Isaac Cordova, Kent Meridian, sr.; Michael Snyder, Kennedy Catholic, soph.