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Quick hits | Prep Football Capsules
For the inside scoop on the football teams at Issaquah, Skyline, Eastlake and Eastside Catholic, go to the Issaquah Reporter and sports guru Kevin Endejan. For Mercer Island, Juanita and Lake Washington, visit the Mercer Island Reporter and Megan Managan and in Renton, it's Adam McFadden covering the Liberty Patriots and a host of schools outside of KingCo.
Head Coach: Butch Goncharoff, 12th season
2010: 13-1 (7-0), won third consecutive class 3A state championship
Returning Starters: 7 Offense, 6 Defense
Key losses: QB/S Kendrick Van Ackeren, OL Marcus Henry, CB Michael Foreman, RB Latrelle Dukes, LB Elan Richard
Impact players: QB/CB Tyler Hasty, RB Joey Moore, RB Ari Morales, RB Dakota Jones, OL Jake Eldrenkamp, OL Michael Kneip, LB Sean Constantine, OL Kyle Bentz, LB Matt Gilbert, TE/DB Michael Carlson, DB Devin Murphy
Keep your eye on: The offensive line. Jake Eldrenkamp, Michael Kneip and Kyle Bentz all return from last year's group and all three are massive. Matching their physicality is going to be near-impossible for nearly every league foe and it has been proven time and again that teams outside the conference simply cannot adjust to the Wing-T come playoff time. Look for more huge gains in the ground game and plenty of time for quarterback Tyler Hasty to create as a passer.
Mark your calendar: 9/9 @ Skyline. The opener against Oaks Christian is the sexier matchup from a national perspective, but Skyline presents the opportunity to watch the top two programs in the state clash yet again with a great deal of pride on the line. The Spartans erased a late deficit last year to get the win, but the loss of Division I wide receivers Kasen Williams and Jordan Simone could prove too much to overcome at such an early juncture in the season.
What to watch for: Can the defense live up to the 2010 standard? There is simply no way for opponents to duplicate the precision and speed of the Bellevue offense in practice, which leaves players and coaches making near-impossible in-game adjustments. But in close games with Liberty, Mount Si and Juanita, it was the Bellevue defense that came up with crucial stops and takeaways at the right times. If the unit progresses as it did in 2010, the makings of another shutdown defense are in place.
9/3 Oaks Christian (CA) @ Mission Viejo High School
9/9 @ Skyline
9/16 @ Interlake
9/23 Lake Washington
9/30 @ Mercer Island
10/14 @ Sammamish
10/21 @ Mount Si
Head Coach: Brian Tucci, 3rd season
2010: 2-8 (0-7)
Returning starters: 8 Offense, 7 Defense
Key losses: K/WR Chris Lider, RB/LB Taylor Ragan
Impact players: RB/LB Acie Black, QB/DB Austin Lee, WR Joey Sullivan, RB/DB Nick Myers
Keep your eye on: RB/LB Acie Black, Sr. Probably the most physically gifted player on the team, Black will be huge for both the offense and defense in 2011. He will be looked to as a primary run-stopper at linebacker and will also need to pick-up some of the tough yards on the offensive side if the Totems have a chance to make some noise.
Mark your calendar: 10/7 VS Interlake. 2007 was the last time Sammamish got over on its Crossroads Cup rival and the past two seasons have yielded 41-14 and 35-6 results in favor of the Saints. Players and coaches are candid about the rivalry game and both know that in order to step out of the cellar, they first need to step over Interlake.
What to watch for: It seems odd to say, but Sammamish will likely have a better go of it in the first two games of the season against 4A competition than at any other time in 2011. Both Ballard and Garfield are ripe for the picking-the Beavers were shut out five times in 2010 and the Bulldogs scored more than seven points only four times and both break in new coaches this year. If Tucci's group can get a couple wins to start things off, the confidence they gain could carry them to even more victories.
9/9 @ Garfield
9/16 @ Liberty
9/23 @ Juanita
9/30 @ Lake Washington
10/21 @ Mercer Island
10/28 Mount Si
Head Coach: Jason Rimkus, 2nd season
2010: 4-9 (1-6), lost to Archbishop Murphy in 2A state quarterfinals
Returning starters: 7 Offense, 8 Defense
Key losses: QB Matt Malos, WR/DB Scotty Gehlhausen, LB/TE Dom Jackson, OL/DL Colton Faber
Impact players: QB/DB Kamana Adriano, OL Netto Cancilla, LB Jacob Marks, RB Jordan Todd, OL/DL Chad Peterson, WR/DB Ryuji Kawashima, WR Ryan Turman, WR Daniel Soohoo, LB/RB Nick Halvorson, TE/LB Sean McElhone, OL/DL Chris Paukstis
Player to watch: RB Jordan Todd, Sr. Coach Jason Rimkus said Todd has slimmed down from last year and will play at 177 pounds in 2011. Very little if any of that is body fat. The leading returner for the Interlake offense will likely face seven and eight-man fronts to begin the season, or until quarterback Kamana Adriano forces defenses to back off. Rimkus said previously that he doesn't anticipate Todd lining up out wide and his confidence in the wide receiving corps and tight ends thus far should keep that plan on track. If the offensive line has grown as much as players and coaches around the program believe, Todd could become one of the top backs in the league both in terms of production and ability in 2011.
Mark your calendar: 10/14 Lake Washington. The Crossroads Cup will be played the previous week, but the Saints think they have the tools to give teams other than Sammamish trouble this season. A win over the Kangs would be a step in the right direction and would also put 2A teams around the state on notice that come playoff time, Interlake is going to be dangerous.
What to watch for: Can Interlake actually make a run to the 2A semi-finals this season? That seemed out of the question at times during the past calendar year and not-so-ridiculous at others. But Todd's tour de force in the playoffs and the stomping of North Mason, Clover Park and Port Angeles cannot be denied. If Adriano and Todd stay healthy and the defense gels before the playoffs begin, Interlake in the Tacoma Dome could go from fantasy to reality in the matter of a few weeks.
9/9 @ Roosevelt
9/16 @ Bellevue
9/23 Mercer Island
9/30 Mount Si
10/7 @ Sammamish
10/14 Lake Washington
10/21 @ Liberty
10/28 @ Juanita
Head coach Mike Miller, 8th season
2010: 6-5 (1-3), lost to Chiawana in 4A state playoffs
Returning Starters: 7 Offense, 6 Defense
Key losses: RB Louis Jachim, RB James Dupar, WR Kevin Martin, OL/DL Patrick Taiwo, OL Joe Givens, RB/DB Tommy Mirante, TE/LB Nick Clifford, OL/DL Matt Murray, LB James Burch
Impact players: OL/LB Spencer Bursek, RB/DB Johnanthan Luu, WR/DB Nate Anderson, TE Myles Fowler, RB Eric Rodan, QB Isaac Dotson
Keep your eye on: QB Isaac Dotson, Jr. The unquestioned leader and dynamic dual-threat quarterback will carry the Newport offense in 2011. Even when things break down around him, Dotson is athletic enough to create something positive and keep his team out of poor down and distance situations.
Mark your calendar: 9/30 VS Eastlake. Many around the league are pointing to the Wolves, rather than their plateau counterparts from Skyline, as the most dangerous team in the Crest division in 2011. This will be the first division game for both teams and with Skyline coming seven days later, will set the tone for the rest of the conference slate. A win over the Wolves means the worst Newport could do against the two is a split. But fall to Eastlake and suddenly the Skyline game carries more weight, not necessarily a good thing considering the Spartans have been in the 4A title game each of the past three years.
What to watch for: Can Newport find an explosive playmaker on the outside to replace Kevin Martin? Martin wasn't flashy, but there is no doubt he got the job done. Riley Guilbeault and Nate Anderson look the part on the outside, but Anderson is still nursing an ankle and Guilbeault is an unproven commodity. If one or both can become a reliable target for Dotson, the Knights could absolutely explode on offense. If not, Dotson and Rodan will have to carry more of a load than offensive coordinator Tim Driver would probably like.
9/2 @ Interlake
9/9 Mercer Island
9/23 @ Cascade
10/14 @ Redmond
10/21 @ Issaquah