High School Sports

Bonney Lake pleasantly pleased with strong arm of first-year QB Dane Wagner

VIDEO: Bonney Lake has pieces in place

The Bonney Lake High School football team takes the practice field Thursday, Aug. 20. One of those is senior quarterback Dane Wagner, who will be a first-year varsity starter for the Panthers. http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/high-school/artic
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The Bonney Lake High School football team takes the practice field Thursday, Aug. 20. One of those is senior quarterback Dane Wagner, who will be a first-year varsity starter for the Panthers. http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/high-school/artic

Dane Wagner threw four passes for the Bonney Lake High School football team last season. Maybe. He said it might have been three.

Of those, two were intercepted — and apparently they weren’t those blame-the-receiver ones, either.

“They weren’t very good passes,” Wagner said.

Fast forward to Thursday. The senior hasn’t looked at all like the wide-eyed, unprepared backup quarterback who entered that game against Auburn Mountainview last season for since-graduated Isaiah Weed.

Wagner, a 6-foot-3 senior, stood tall in the pocket and flashed a strong arm, once lobbing a pass to his left after a three-step drop and hitting a streaking Adam Fahsel in stride.

“I think I’ve grown into a better leader,” Wagner said. “Coach (Jason Silbaugh) has really emphasized that a lot with me. He thinks I’ve grown a lot since my freshman year and I believe that as well.”

The throw was enough to garner a high-five from his coach.

“He’s been awesome,” Silbaugh said. “He’s got a super-strong arm. You don’t see the ball come off his hand, it flies off his hand. I think his potential is huge.

“And the nice thing is, nobody really knows about him.”

The Panthers also have some key juniors returning as starters — such as wide receiver/safety Cody Miller, running back/safety Jason Day and defensive end/tight end Caleb Davis.

“I think we can really surprise some teams,” Miller said. “We have kids who have really put in the offseason work that they needed to. Like Dane. He has really come back and is looking awesome this season.”

Said Davis: “We may look small, but we got speed and we got strength. We’ll be able to punch people in the mouth.”

Bonney Lake will need all the speed and strength it can get in this league.

Silbaugh said the 3A South Puget Sound League might be the best in the state.

“There are a lot of good leagues, but we’ve talked about it: Top to bottom, I don’t think there is a game in this league where you go, ‘That’s an easy win,’ ” Silbaugh said. “And the coaching in this league is, bar none, top to bottom, probably some of the best coaches in the state.”

If Bonney Lake is going to compete, it will need Wagner to look as good as Silbaugh’s witnessed since completing those pair of passes to the wrong team.

“He’s worked as hard as anybody on this field,” Silbaugh said. “I have 100 percent faith that he is going to take this team to where we need to be this year.”

TJ Cotterill:253-597-8677

t.cotterill@

thenewstribune.com

@TJCotterill

The News Tribune will visit 17 high school football practices in the 14 days leading up to the first Football Friday of the season, breaking down some of the teams, players and storylines entering the 2015-16 season.

The tour will include three schools from the 4A Narrows League, four teams from the 4A SPSL, two from the 3A Narrows League, two from the 3A SPSL, one from the 2A Evergreen Conference, two from the 2A SPSL, one from the 1A Evergreen, one from the 1A Nisqually and one from the 2B Pacific.

Teams will be revealed each day, starting with the first day of official practices Wednesday, Aug. 19.

TNT PRESEASON PRACTICE TOUR

Practice preview: South Sound’s four most illustrious 4A schools enter new eras

Aug. 19: Timberline Blazers

Lincoln Abes | Video: Masaki Matsumoto on a mission

River Ridge Hawks

Chief Leschi Warriors

Aug. 20: Bonney Lake Panthers | Video: Panthers have pieces in place

Aug. 21: Federal Way Eagles | Video: D’Jimon Jones, Andrzej Hughes-Murray stepping up

Aug. 22: Kentlake Falcons

Aug. 24: Spanaway Lake Sentinels | Video: Big guys key for Sentinels’ season

Aug. 25: Emerald Ridge Jaguars | Video: Can new players bring ER similar success?

Aug. 26: Black Hills Wolves

Aug. 27: Stadium Tigers | Video: Don’t expect same 0-10 Tigers

Aug. 28: Yelm Tornados

Aug. 29: Clover Park Warriors

Aug. 31: Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds

Sept. 1: Eatonville Cruisers

Sept. 2: Charles Wright Tarriers

Sept. 3: Sumner Spartans

Sept. 4: First Football Friday of the 2015-16 school year

LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

In-depth look at some of the top storylines, team-by-team breakdown, games to watch and predictions from the 4A Narrows, 4A SPSL, 3A Narrows, 3A SPSL, 2A SPSL, and 1A Nisqually, as well as capsules from other area small-school teams.

State football overview: Dual-threat QBs have Auburn Mountainview, Gig Habor thinking state

Preseason TNT All-State football team: Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarell on of nation’s top 2017 recruits

Preseason TNT rankings: Gig Harbor No. 2 in 4A, Auburn Mountainview third in 3A, Tumwater 2nd in 2A and Cascade Christian No. 3 in 1A

4A Narrows: Olympia will compete for playoff spot, like always

4A SPSL: UW commit Amandre Williams can do just about everything for Tahoma

3A Narrows: Is that Xavier Cooper? Or Wilson’s A.J. Ruffin?

3A SPSL: Lakes cousins Jaiave Magalei and Maika Magalei might as well be brothers

2A Evergreen: Team capsules

2A SPSL: Willie Patterson, Alex Bing can lift Franklin Pierce back to league title

1A Nisqually: Team capsules. Story Saturday.

Small schools: Team capsules

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