High School Sports

2A SPSL football preview: Predictions, primers, team capsules

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2A SPSL — MOUNTAIN DIVISION PRIMER

On the throne

The only team in the division to make the state playoffs in 2015, Franklin Pierce should be even better this fall.

Change is good

White River hired a proven winner in coach Jeff Zenisek, who shouldn’t take long getting Hornets back on track.

By the numbers

Franklin Pierce star Willie Patterson threw for 3,115 yards, and ran for 720 as 2A SPSL player of year in 2015.

Projected finish

Franklin Pierce (6-5 in 2015), Fife (7-3), Lindbergh (7-4), Washington (4-5), Foster (4-6), Foss (0-10), White River (1-9), Evergreen (0-9).

Mark the date

Sept. 30, Franklin Pierce at Fife, 7 p.m.

EVERGREEN WOLVERINES

Coach: Rico Tipton, first year

2015 record: 0-9, seventh in 3A/2A Seamount League.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Eric Franklin (multiple). Returning starters — 3. Top players — QB Vaeagi Savusi, 6-0, 190, sr.; RB Josiah Tiumalu, 5-8, 200, jr.; OL Mosese Vea, 5-7, 240, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Rico Tipton (multiple). Returning starters — 3. Top players — DL/LB Vaeagi Savusi, 6-0, 190, sr.; LB Josiah Tiumalu, 5-8, 200, jr.; DL Mosese Vea, 5-7, 240, jr..

Outlook: It’s been a rough eight-year stretch for the Wolverines since going 9-2 in 2007. They have not won more than two games in any of those years. And in 2015, they scored just 13 points total in nine games. Tipton, a former WSU and Seattle Seahawks linebacker, has proven he can win games, leading new Shadow Ridge High School in Arizona to three winning seasons in four years (2011-2014).

FIFE TROJANS

Coach: Kent Nevin, 13th year

2015 record: 7-3, tied for second in 2A SPSL; lost in regional round.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Shane Nixon (hybrid wing-T). Returning starters — 5. Top players — OL MJ Ale, 6-5. 320, jr.; RB Jackson Cooley, 6-0, 175, sr.; QB Falani Jennings, 5-10, 160, jr.; RB Wes Nixon, 6-0, 165, sr.; TE Tomasi Puletu, 6-3, 190, jr.; RB Xavier Preston, 5-10, 160, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Arnoldo Arostegui (3-4). Returning starters — 5. Top players — DL MJ Ale, 6-5. 320, jr.; DB Jackson Cooley, 6-0, 175, sr.; DB Wes Nixon, 6-0, 165, sr.; LB Tomasi Puletu, 6-3, 190, jr.; DB Xavier Preston, 5-10, 160, jr.; DL Jeremy Wuitchick, 5-10, 140, sr.

Outlook: Yes, Fife is a farming community, but it is trying to move away from its tractor-plodding speed in the wing-T offense. And with Preston and Nixon manning fullback, and Jennings also a running threat at quarterback, this should be Nevin’s quickest offense. Don’t worry, the “nasty” of this program is still present in its offensive line, led by the super-sized Ale.

FOSS FALCONS

Coach: Matt Johnson, second year

2015 record: 0-10, eighth in 3A Narrows League.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Dave McEachren (spread). Returning starters — 6. Top players — WR Demetrius Crosby, 6-1, 190, jr.; WR Cason Hildalgo-Watson, 6-0, 180, sr.; OL Carl Phillips, 6-3. 345 jr.; OL Jackson Potts, 6-2. 270. sr.; QB Orlando Stumvoll, 6-3, 190, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Matt Johnson (4-2-5). Returning starters — 7. Top players — DB Demetrius Crosby, 6-1, 190, jr.; DB Cason Hildalgo Watson, 6-0, 180, sr.; DL Carl Phillips, 6-3. 345 jr.; DL Jackson Potts, 6-2. 270. sr.; DL Ellis Wade, 6-3, 200, sr.

Outlook: If there was one area program ready for a fresh start in football, this is it. And the Falcons have some interesting pieces, led by Crosby on the perimeter, and Potts, Phillips and Wade in the trenches. Johnson thinks this is the season Stumvoll breaks out. The junior is an athletic passer who is showing better huddle command. Participation numbers are still low, but newfound optimism for 2016 is high.

FOSTER BULLDOGS

Coach: Elijah Ruhl, second year

2015 record: 4-6, tied for second in 3A/2A Seamount League; lost in regional round.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Elijah Ruhl (Gun wing). Returning starters — 7. Top players — WR Kevin Le, 5-9, 165, sr.; QB Junior Noa, 5-8, 185, sr.; OL Mila Saole, 6-2. 270. jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Fritz Martin (4-2-5). Returning starters — 7. Top players — DL Richard Gogo, 6-3, 225, jr.; DB Kevin Le, 5-9, 165, sr.; DL Mila Saole, 6-2, 270, jr.; DL Solomon Tapealava, 6-2, 265, sr.

Outlook: In his first season in 2015, Ruhl got this program into the playoffs, losing to Franklin Pierce. And the way the former Tahoma High School and Idaho State lineman has got this group to play with a chip on its shoulder, the Bulldogs should be right there vying for another postseason trip. Noa, a former running back, will spearhead a power rushing attack in his first season at quarterback.

FRANKLIN PIERCE CARDINALS

Coach: Mickey Ahrens, second year

2015 record: 6-5, tied for second in 2A SPSL; lost in first round of state playoffs.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Cary Nagel (spread). Returning starters — 8. Top players — RB/WR Alex Bing, 5-7, 160, jr.; QB Willie Patterson, 5-10, 175, sr.; RB Stoney Shafer, 5-8, 160, jr.; OL Tristan Smith, 6-3, 285, sr.; WR Mason Starling, 6-3, 180, jr.; OL Scotland Vise, 6-1, 265, sr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Trevor Hanson (4-2-5). Returning starters — 6. Top players — DB Alex Bing, 5-7, 160, jr.; DL Dawson Dressel, 6-1, 250, sr.; DL Ira Howard, 5-11, 270, jr.; DB Jayman Thomas-Stokes, 5-9, 165, jr.; DL Scotland Vise, 6-1, 265, sr.

Outlook: What is not to like about this group? Patterson is the most dangerous playmaker in the league, and will be trusted to adjust plays at the line of scrimmages. Four returning senior offensive linemen block for him. Bing is an impact performer in all three phases. And Starling is a back-breaking threat in the passing game. This should be the Cardinals’ time to shine, and make a deep run into November.

LINDBERGH EAGLES

Coach: Matt Leamer, fourth year

2015 record: 7-4, tied for second in 3A/2A Seamount League; lost in regional round.

Offense: Coordinators (set) — Jake Allie, Pat Ognady (spread). Returning starters — 8. Top players — OL David Baginskiy, 6-0. 260. Sr.; WR Montrae Gooden, 6-0, 170, sr.; RB Johsiah Serquinia, 5-10, 240, sr.; WR Anthony Walker, 6-0, 175, sr.; QB Samuel Nehren, 5-9, 170, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Matt Leamer (4-3). Returning starters — 8. Top players — DB James Duncan, 6-1, 170, sr.; LB Diego Gallegos, 6-2, 200, sr.; LB Josh Nute, 5-9, 190, sr.; DL Johsiah Serquinia, 5-10, 240, sr.; LB Dylan Silva, 5-10, 210, jr.

Outlook: Easily the most accomplished program merging from the 2A/3A Seamount League. The Eagles have been to the state playoffs five times since 2008, and feature a passing attack that attacks the soft spot of defenses with crossing patterns underneath. Then comes the hammer — Sequinia — who used to be a first-team offensive lineman as a sophomore. Could easily contend for 2A SPSL crown in first year.

WASHINGTON PATRIOTS

Coach: Mike Von Rueden, eighth year

2015 record: 4-5, tied for fifth in 2A SPSL.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Eric Stanczyk (pro style). Returning starters — 7. Top players — WR Xavier Alefaio, 6-0, 180, sr.; OL Nate Evans, 6-2, 265, jr.; QB Martin Mendiola, 5-10, 180, jr.; OL Maguire Schliemann, 6-3, 280, sr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Thomas Hoghaug (3-4). Returning starters — 6. Top players — LB David Camacho, 5-11, 225, sr.; DL/LB Isley Stoneham, 6-4, 230, sr.; LB Xavier Tapasa, 5-10, 245, sr.; DL Max Warren, 6-3, 265, sr.; LB/DB De’Andre Williams, 5-10, 170, sr.

Outlook: Every few years, this program steps up and shakes up the top of the league. Could this be one of those surprise seasons? Mendiola put on 20 pounds, is much stronger and will be asked to run a lot more at quarterback. And he’ll have Evans at center opening up the middle. With a roster of 90 players. Von Rueden, who doesn’t have a game-breaker on the roster, is hopeful his overall depth will wear opponents down.

WHITE RIVER HORNETS

Coach: Jeff Zenisek, first year

2015 record: 1-9, seventh in 2A SPSL.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Jeff Zenisek (spread). Returning starters — 6. Top players — QB Trevor Johnson, 6-2. 170, sr.; OL Parker Knaus, 5-9, 250, jr.; OL Ryan Lusk, 6-0, 250, sr.; OL Chase Lydig, 6-0, 255, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Kenny Pirone (4-4). Returning starters — 6. Top players — DL Chase Lydig, 6-0, 255, jr.; DB Luke Northam, 5-10, 175, jr.; DB Jared Selander, 5-10, 165, sr.

Outlook: Wherever he has gone, Zenisek has won — including his past two coaching jobs at Tenino (2010-13) and Jefferson (2014-15). But even this first season with the Hornets might test his patience. For starters, he got the job late (June). And even though the strength of his team is in the offensive line, it is known more for being quick and moving people around, which is not ideal for his power running schemes.

2A SPSL — SOUND DIVISION PRIMER

On the Throne

A combination of talent and returning experience gives River Ridge, last year’s undefeated 2A SPSL champion, an early edge.

Change is Good

Eatonville graduated Jacob McCormick, then gained Tristan Graf, a hard-throwing transfer from Puyallup.

By the Numbers

Steilacoom returns its top passer (Anthony Leiato, 1,640 yards), rusher (Anthony Garcia, 817 yards) and receiver (Marques Hampton Jr., 1,102 yards).

Projected Finish

River Ridge (10-1 in 2015), Steilacoom (5-6), Eatonville (6-5), Orting (6-4), Renton (4-6), Clover Park (0-9), Highline (1-9).

Mark the Date

Sept. 9: Steilacoom at River Ridge, 7 p.m. at South Sound Stadium

CLOVER PARK WARRIORS

Coach: Jonathan “Taz” Randall, 14th year

2015 record: 0-9, eighth in 2A SPSL.

Offense: Coordinator (set) — Kyle Hagman (pistol veer). Returning starters — 5. Top players — WR D’Angelo Biggs, 5-8, 170, jr.; QB/RB Joseph Claypoole, sr.; RB Malik Harris, jr.; WR Carlo Sallinger, jr.; OL Nick Whitten, 6-1, 215, jr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) — Michael Lauritzen (3-3 stack). Returning starters — 5. Top players — DL Amire Jones, 6-2, 225, sr.; LB Zikomo Nahoopii, 5-10, 185, sr.; DB Michael Nelson, 6-1, 185, sr.; LB Titus Pritchard, 6-0, 215, sr.; DL Vitalyi Tekmenzhi, 5-10, 225, sr.

Outlook: Randall won’t sugarcoat the Warriors’ 0-23 record dating back to 2013. It’s been an arduous road since Clover Park last made the state playoffs 11 years ago. But even though the Warriors were winless again last season, there was improvement — though the team graduated 2A SPSL defensive lineman of the year Curtis Garner. Randall is bent on getting this group to buy in and commit to the program and where it can go.

EATONVILLE CRUISERS

Coach: George Fairhart, 24th year

2015 record: 6-5, third in 1A Evergreen Conference; lost in first round of state playoffs.

Offense: Coordinator — Jeff Mladenich (wing-T). Returning starters — 8. Top players — TE Brooks Moeller, 6-4, 190, sr.; OL Bryndle Newman, 6-2, 220, sr.; WR Tucker Poil, 6-0, 160, jr.; WR Zarak Scruggs, 6-2, 195, jr.; OL Jakob Wolfe, 6-8, 315, sr.

Defense: Coordinator — Mike Moller (4-4 stack). Returning starters — 7. Top players — LB Ryan Antonson, 6-0, 190, sr.; DL Hayden Baumann, 5-11, 290, sr.; DB Moeller; DB Ray Springer, 5-9, 170, sr.

Outlook: If the Cruisers plan to make it three straight trips to the state playoffs, they’ll have to do so as one of the smallest 2A schools. Fairhart is back coaching in the 2A SPSL for the first time since 2011 after stints in the 1A Nisqually and 1A EvCo. But he’s got a QB with 4A experience in Puyallup transfer Tristan Graf. The kicking game should also be a plus thanks to Brendon Morton’s leg.

HIGHLINE PIRATES

Coach: Mark Cross, first year

2015 record: 1-9, sixth in 3A/2A Seamount League.

Offense: Coordinator — Cross (multiple power). Returning starters — 3. Top players — OL Steve Spicknall, 6-2, 230, jr.; OL Blake Suivaai, 6-2, 285, sr.; OL EJ Terrazas, 6-1, 260, jr.; RB Malik White, 5-10, 220, sr.

Defense: Coordinator — Mark Becker (multiple 40) Returning starters — 2. Top players — ATH Ty Shanklin, 5-7, 170, jr.; CB Ceaonda Taylor, 6-0, 165, jr.

Outlook: Cross is this senior group’s third coach in four years. He understands they’ll have some trust issues. But the former Seattle Prep athletic director said he wants to be the example for the level of commitment he wants to see out of the players. Developing the passing concepts in his pistol offense will take time, so expect a lot of handoffs behind these massive, but young offensive linemen and a hard-running tailback in White.

ORTING CARDINALS

Coach: Marty Parkhurst, 23rd year

2015 record: 6-4, tied for sixth in 2A SPSL.

Offense: Coordinator — Parkhurst (jet sweep). Returning starters — 5. Top players — RB Dylan Amadeo, 5-11, 210, sr.; OL Evan Barger, 5-11, 240, jr.; OL Nic Halvorson, 6-1, 280, sr.; RB Griffin Rose, 5-10, 165, sr.; RB Austin Spader, 5-10, 180, sr.; RB JT Thompson, 6-0, 170, sr.; RB Jon Wilkinson, 6-2, 175, sr.

Defense: Coordinator — Mitch Fowler (3-4). Returning starters — 8. Top players — LB Amadeo; LB Sean Brown, 6-0, 185, sr.; DL Halvorson; LB Sam Lindgren, 5-11, 185, sr.; DB Spader; DB Wilkinson.

Outlook: In Parkhurst’s 23 years at Orting, this will be the first he plans to interchange two QBs. The Cardinals will, at least at first, replace graduated Gavin Vradenburg with a mixture of sophomore Bryce Mecham and senior Justice Wilkins. Otherwise, this is a senior-heavy, experienced group, though thin on the depth chart. All the DBs are returning starters, as well as all but one of the LBs. Rose and Wilkinson take over at the wing backs.

RENTON INDIANS

Coach: Tim Tramp, third year

2015 record: 4-6, tied for second in 3A/2A Seamount League.

Offense: Coordinator — Tramp (west coast). Returning starters — 7. Top players — QB Royal Dotson-Goode, 5-10, 190, jr.; OL Joe Jokonya, 5-10, 260, jr.; OL Griffin Proctor, 6-2, 250, sr.; OL Mike Richardson, 6-0, 275, jr.

Defense: Coordinator — Garrett Welfare/Marc Linn (3-4). Returning starters — 4. Top players — LB Dotson-Goode; DL Jokonya; LB Keyhlin Majors, 5-10, 190, jr.; DL Proctor; DB Kayee Song, 5-9, 160, sr.

Outlook: Renton’s past two quarterbacks made the Seamount all-league team, and neither were QBs before the season began. It’s hoping for one more of those in Dotson-Goode, who was the Indians’ starting running back last year. Tramp asks a lot out of the position, so using his best athlete is the best place to start. The reigning 2A Seamount league champions will be strongest in the trenches, returning much of last year’s group.

RIVER RIDGE HAWKS

Coach: Steve Schultz, 15th year

2015 record: 10-1, first in 2A SPSL; lost in first round of state playoffs.

Offense: Coordinator — Jack Zilla (two back). Returning starters — 5. Top players — TE Brayden Anderson, 5-9, 215, sr.; WR Josh Braverman, 6-1, 175, sr.; RB Trey Dorfner, 6-0, 175, sr.; RB Padric Green, 5-10, 210, sr.; OL Caleb Price, 6-5, 330, sr.

Defense: Coordinator — Jerry Madrid (3-5). Returning starters — 7. Top players — DB Ryan Blash, 5-11, 200, sr.; LB Zach Carter, 6-0, 225, sr.; DB Alex Coleman, 5-10, 170, sr.; LB Stephen Flanagan, 5-10, 215, sr.; DL Blayne Haderman, 5-11, 210, sr.; LB Louis O’Daniel, 5-8, 210, sr.; LB Xavier Ortiz, 5-10, 225, sr.; DE Kelle Sanders, 6-5, 230, sr.

Outlook: Get ready for an explosive offense. Washington State University commit Kelle Sanders will take over at quarterback, and the Hawks have a proven weapon in Dorfner, who ran for close to 1,200 yards last season in limited appearances. Plenty of veterans back on defense, too. Sanders led the Hawks with 11 sacks last season. Carter is the school’s all-time single-season tackling leader with 91.

STEILACOOM SENTINELS

Coach: Rich Lane, second year

2015 record: 5-6, fourth in 2A SPSL; lost in regional round.

Offense: Coordinator — Lane (spread). Returning starters — 7. Top players — WR La’Jon Enis-Carter, 6-3, 185, sr.; RB Anthony Garcia, 5-6, 175, sr.; WR Marcus Hampton, 6-0, 190, sr.; QB/RB Anthony Leiato, 5-11, 195, sr.

Defense: Coordinator — John Moorehead (3-4). Returning starters — 6. Top players — LB Ahmad Jumper, 5-7, 156, sr.; DB/LB Leiato.

Outlook: Most of the crew is back from last season, including Leiato, the younger brother of former Steilacoom linebacker Fotu Leiato, who is now at the University of Oregon. Anthony Leiato will mostly play running back, but Lane will slide the hard-hitting safety (much like his older brother was) over to QB in goal line situations. Hampton is a burner at receiver (54 catches, 1,102 yards last year).

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677

@TJCotterill

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442

@ManyHatsMilles

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473

@smithlm12

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