As promised, here are the Class 3A preseason football rankings. You can see the 4A rankings here. The 2A rankings will be released on Friday, with 1A and 2B and 1B following on Saturday and Sunday.
We’ve spoken to coaches and high school sports reporters across the state, so I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on what teams are expected to be among the best this season. Of course, “expected” doesn’t mean a team will be one of the best, so take these rankings for what they are: an educated guess based on last year’s performances, returning players and expected contributions from newcomers.
1. Bellevue 14-0
2. Lakes 12-1
3. Union 13-1
4. O’Dea 8-3
5. Liberty 9-3
6. Mount Spokane 6-5
7. Glacier Peak 5-5
8. Kennedy 9-2
9. Ferndale 11-1
10. Peninsula 7-3
Next: Camas, Capital, Enumclaw, Juanita, Meadowdale, Timberline
No surprise at No. 1. Bellevue might not have the individual talent of some teams, but the Wolverines are a well-oiled machine with six state titles in the last eight seasons. Bellevue will have to stumble mightily against Katy (Texas) and Grant (Calif.) or lose to an in-state team to fall out of the top spot.
Lakes comes in at No. 2 and Union is No. 3. Yes, the Titans beat the Lancers 28-7 in the state semifinals last season and a case could easily be made to put them at No. 2. We’ve got Lakes there instead because it returns nearly every major contributor, including 18 starters and nine players with scholarship offers from Division-I schools, from that squad, while Union lost four first-team all-GSHL players.
O’Dea should be the best team in the Metro League, led by FB/LB Zach Fogerson and OL Ben Riva. Liberty returns a good core and QB Trey Wheeler, a junior, has a full season of experience under his belt. The Patriots get overshadowed by being in the same conference, KingCo 3A, as Bellevue, but Liberty is a legitimate top-5 team.
Now, it gets a bit tricky. The next five teams – Mount Spokane, Glacier Peak, Kennedy, Ferndale and Peninsula – could be arranged in any order, though Mount Spokane appears to be the best of the bunch. The Wildcats, who reached the state playoffs last season, return most of their starters, including playmaker Colten Williams and QB Travis Ward.
Glacier Peak enters its second season of football with a loaded roster. The Grizzlies could become a top-4 team by the end of the season.
Kennedy graduated skill players Tre Watson and Nolan Washington, but coach Bob Bourgette will have the Lancers ready to make another run at the Seamount League title.
At Ferndale, for the first time since 2002, a Locker won’t be the starting quarterback. The Golden Eagles return only one starter, but coach Jamie Plenkovich and staff have a program in place and Ferndale should be good enough to make its 12th state playoff appearance in 13 seasons.
Peninsula returns plenty of starters, including RB/LB Darrian Creamer and QB JR Grosshans. The Seahawks haven’t won a playoff game since 1992, but that streak should end in November.