SOUTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE 2A
1. Washington (4-6)
2. Sumner (7-3)
3. Eatonville (7-3)
4. Franklin Pierce (5-5)
5. White River (1-9)
6. Fife (5-5)
7. Steilacoom (5-5)
8. Clover Park (5-5)
*2010 season records
Editor’s note: The SPSL 2A has been the most difficult league yet to rank this fall. I won’t be surprised to see White River, Fife, Steilacoom or Clover Park finish in the top-half of the standings.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Washington’s Victor Gamboa does a bit of everything. The first-team all-league receiver averaged 61 receiving yards, 120 all-purpose rushing/return yards and 7.3 points per game. Gamboa, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior, is electric and possess game-breaking ability.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
One of the strongest and hardest-hitting players in the SPSL 2A, Washington linebacker Jacob Tuiaiave is a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen, quarterbacks and running backs.The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior earned first-team all-league honors in 2010.
Sumner used its powerful rushing attack – it averaged 314 yards per game – to carry it to a share of the league title in 2010. With the addition of Dan DeVries, a 6-foot-4, 208-pound senior receiver, the Spartans might enjoy a little more success in the air this fall.
DID YOU KNOW?
“Unpredictable” described the SPSL 2A last fall. Heading into the final week of the regular season in 2010, six teams had a chance at claiming a share of the league title. Three teams – Clover Park, Eatonville and Sumner – ended up sharing the championship.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Franklin Pierce at Washington, 7 p.m. Oct. 28
First, it’s a rivalry game. Second, both teams could be fighting for the league title, or at least a postseason berth.
CLOVER PARK WARRIORS
Head coach: Jon Randall, 17th season
Top players: QB/RB/WR/DE/S Dwayne Crawford, Sr., 6-2, 210; WR/CB Bret Dulay, Sr., 5-11, 160; OL/DE Ezra Gweon, Sr., 5-10, 235; RB/LB DeShaun Green, Sr., 5-9, 175.
Outlook: Coming off their first share of a league title in more than a decade, the Warriors are stacked with eight starters returning on offense and defense. But Clover Park will be without former four-year starting quarterback and league MVP Tana Pritchard. The Warriors got a taste of success last season and with so many experienced players back, they in a prime position to build on that. Clover Park opens with rival Lakes, the second-ranked in Class 3A.
Head coach: George Fairhart, 17th season
Top players: RB/LB Shane Saunders, 5-9, 180; OL/DL Freddie Bauman, 6-1, 200; OL/DL Jordan Pegum, 5-11, 210; OL/DL Lucas Hatton, 6-0, 200; QB/DB Zach Fairhart, 6-0, 200; RB/DB Ryler Gray, 5-6, 160.
Outlook: The Cruisers shot out of the gate in 2010, winning their first six games before stumbling and losing three of their final four games. That coincides with when Eatonville lost leading-rusher Saunders to a season-ending leg injury. Saunders is back, one of the Cruisers’ seven offense and seven defensive returning starters. Eatonville, which has the smallest enrollment of any school in the league, shared the league title in 2010 and another run at a championship is within the Cruisers’ capabilities.
Head coach: Kent Nevin, ninth season
Top players: RB/CB Rhyse Zenkner, 5-6, 140; QB Gage Rosbach, 5-10, 175; WR/CB Yusuke Ishiguro, 5-10, 160; FB/LB Tui Foa, 5-7, 185; OL Andrew Kang, 6-0, 195; G Nathan Salley, 5-8, 160; DT Jack Aveavalo, 5-10, 270; RB/DB Carl Finlayson, 5-9. 160; FB/LB Dominic Dutra, 5-8, 180.
Outlook: Fife saw all of its all-league players graduate, but the Trojans return second-year quarterback Rosbach and an experienced offensive line, which should help them ease into the season. Fife has six offensive and five defensive starters back. Monike Failauge, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound sophomore, adds depth to the defensive line. If Fife can find ways to win close games – four of its five losses in 2010 came by seven points or fewer – the Trojans should be in the hunt for a postseason berth.
FRANKLIN PIERCE CARDINALS
Head coach: Howard Lutton, 23rd season
Top players: OT/NG Alex Afuavi, Sr., 6-3, 258; CB/WR Issac Mustin, Sr., 5-8, 165; WR/SS Issac Howard, Sr., 6-2, 185; RB Iopu Ignacio, Sr., 5-10, 188; RB/LB Curtis Cepeda, Sr., 5-9; QB Reilley Peirce, Jr., 6-0, 185; C Joseph Dirckx, Sr., 6-0, 255; LB Sililo Smaga, Sr., 6-0, 190.
Outlook: Franklin Pierce returns five starters on offense and five on defense. Lutton says the Cardinals’ speed and conditioning are strengths. Afuavi, a first-team all-league offensive lineman last fall, provides the Cardinals a big presence in the trenches. Newcomers WR/CB Dashawn Salgadago, OT/DT Jasper Haney and RB Juan Herrera are expected to make a difference. Franklin Pierce will miss play-maker A.T. Turner, the league’s defensive back of the year and a second-team running back.
Head coach: Keith Ross, 13th season
Top players: RB Tyler Salisbury, Sr., 5-9, 180; QB/LB Aaron Clark, Sr., 6-4, 212; WR Brendon Baker, Sr., 5-9, 175; OL Derek Corn, Sr., 5-11, 190; WR Brennen Mickleson, Sr., 5-10, 170; LB/TE Jon Mayer, Sr., 6-0, 195; OL/DE Marc Cisneros, Jr., 6-1, 235.
Outlook: No team must replace more talent than the Spartans. Sumner graduated the league’s defensive MVP, offensive back of the year and offensive and defensive linemen of the year. The Spartans do have some experience back, led by five returning starters on offense and four on defense. Salisbury rushed for 1,247 yards in 2010 and Clark is back to direct the veer offense. Sumner enjoyed a turn-around season, going from three wins in 2009 to sharing the league title and winning seven games in 2010. Don’t be surprised to see the Spartans go further in 2011.
Head coach: Brian Koch, fifth season
Top players: RB/LB James Dodsworth, Sr., 5-9, 210; RB/DB Jake Esseln, Sr., 5-10, 180.
Outlook: Steilacoom returns one of the top running back tandems in the league in Esseln (1,006 yards and 14 TDs) and Dodsworth (750 yards). The Sentinels are breaking in a new offensive line, but the coaches say the unit works hard and possesses intelligence and athleticism, which could make their Wing-T offense soar. Steilacoom, which returns six starters on offense and defense, might only have three or four senior starters, meaning it must rely on underclassmen to make this team a postseason contender.
Head coach: Mike Von Rueden, third season
Top players: LB/TE Jacob Tuivaiave, Sr., 6-4, 290; WR/DB Victor Gamboa, Jr., 5-11, 165; RB/LB Ramsey Davis, Jr., 5-9, 171; RB/DB Elishama Weems, Sr., 5-11, 165; OL/LB Seth Burleigh, Sr., 5-10, 190; QB Jordan Mezias, Jr., 5-9., 165.
Outlook: The Patriots qualified for district playoffs last fall, but they have not reached the state playoffs since 1990. With eight offensive and seven defensive starters, Washington could be on the verge of ending that dubious streak. The Patriots have loads of speed and experience to fall back on, especially at skilled positions. Mezias earned second-team all-league honors last fall, who tossed 11 touchdowns and averaged 110 passing yards per game.
WHITE RIVER HORNETS
Head coach: Joe Sprouse, second season
Top players: RB/LB Josh Miller, Sr., 5-11, 190; OL/DL Scott Rose, Sr., 6-4, 285; LB/OL Blake Maresh, Sr., 6-0, 240; LB/RB Nate Lenhart, Sr., 5-10, 185.
Outlook: Experience? White River’s got it with nine starters back on offense and defense. Now, the Hornets, who were winless in league play last fall, have to translate that experience into victories. Sprouse expects White River to be physical, especially along the line of scrimmage. Rose is the team’s only returning all-league player – he was a second-team pick at offensive line. Sophomors RB/LB Garrett Quiles, WR/CB Brandon Dove and LB/RB Kennan Fagan are expected to make an impact.