SOUTH PUGET SOUND LEAGUE NORTH DIVISION
1. Kentlake (7-3)
2. Auburn (9-3)
3. Kentwood (10-1)
4. Kentridge (4-6)
5. Tahoma (3-7)
6. Jefferson (3-7)
7. Kent-Meridian (4-6)
8. Auburn Riverside (5-5)
9. Mount Rainier (0-10)
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Kentlake will find ways to utilize Austin Pernell’s athleticism. A starting receiver – he caught 27 passes for 597 yards and 7 TDs, averaging 22.1 yards per reception in 2010 – the 5-foot-11, 187-pound senior is also a threat to break long punt and kickoff returns and take an end-around the distance.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Some teams choose to keep their starting quarterback from playing defense. Not Kentlake. The Falcons’ signal caller, Caleb Saulo, is a monster at linebacker. A first-team all-SPSL North selection last fall, Saulo has the frame of a prototypical linebacker, standing 6-foot-2, 218 pounds. He’s got offers from Army and Portland St. and is getting interest from some Pac-12 Conference programs.
Kentridge welcomed a pair of transfers from Arizona in the offseason. Josh Hamilton, a 6-foot, 195-pound senior, will start at quarterback and Alex McGuire, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, will be the Chargers’ inside linebacker and play tailback and fullback. Hamilton and McGuire are step-brothers.
DID YOU KNOW?
In each of the past five seasons, the SPSL North champion has had an undefeated league record. Four teams – Tahoma, Federal Way, Auburn and Kentwood – have claimed titles in that span.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Kentlake vs. Kentwood, 7 p.m. Oct. 7
The league title was on the line when the teams met at a standing-room-only French Field last fall. Kentwood edged the Falcons, 30-28, and went on to finish the regular season undefeated.
Head coach: Gordon Elliott, 10th season
Top players: OL/DL Cory English, Sr., 6-3, 285; HB/DB Lincoln Burt, Sr., 6-0, 170; TE/LB Kevin Shelton, Jr., 6-3, 235; TE/LB Cameron Gardner, Sr., 6-3, 195.
Outlook: Graduation decimated the Trojans, who return just three offensive and one defensive starter. That’s no reason to count out Auburn, which has cemented itself as a consistently dominant program and has reached the state playoffs in each of the past six seasons. English is one of the top offensive line prospects in the region, drawing offers from UW, WSU, OSU and Idaho. Shelton is the younger brother of Danny Shelton, a defensive tackle at UW and three-time all-area selection.
AUBURN RIVERSIDE RAVENS
Head coach: Bob Morgan, fifth season
Top players: OL/DL Joe Miles, Jr., 6-4, 265; RB/LB Kayonte Scott, Sr., 6-1, 180; OL/LB Drew Standish, Sr., 5-10, 175; OL/LB Kevin Mast, Sr., 6-2, 205; LB Andrew Holloway, Sr., 6-0, 220; RB/LB Jaray Bates, Sr., 6-2, 195; QB Josh Latta, Sr., 6-1, 185; WR/DB Kameron Boardway, Sr., 5-11, 180; RB/LB Everett Chung, Sr., 6-0, 195.
Outlook: The Ravens came close to qualifying for a playoff crossover game in Week 10 last fall, finishing tied for fourth in the SPSL North. But an early-season loss to Kentridge sent Auburn Riverside into the pig-tail contest that it lost to Graham-Kapowsin. Joe Miles is the team’s only returning all-league selection – he earned second-team honors as a punter and was voted an honorable mention offensive lineman. The Ravens have a big test in Week 1, facing No. 10 Kentlake. Their next five opponents had losing records last fall.
Head coach: Dean Peck, fifth season
Top players: QB/SS KW Williams, 6-2, 200; DE/TE Tim Luafatasaga, 6-3, 250; C Troy Wiggins, 6-2, 260; OT A.J. Breland, 6-5, 340; OT/DT Jefferson Aumua, 6-4, 350; FB Ian Tougher, 6-2, 225; WR/LB Gunner Sonnenfeld, 6-2, 220.
Outlook: Jefferson will miss the production of Keegan Giles, who led the SPSL in rushing, but having Williams back makes the transition easier. Williams completed 55.6 percent of his pass attempts for 1,326 yards and 12 TDs, and also ran for 372 yards last fall. Luafatasaga is a beast on both sides of the ball and will create matchup issues for opponents. If Jefferson can shore up its defense – it ranked second-to-last in the SPSL North in points allowed in 2010 – the Raiders can make a push for a postseason berth.
Head coach: Chris Paulson, second season
Top players: WR/DB Austin Pernell, Sr., 5-11, 187; QB/LB Caleb Saulo, Sr., 6-2, 218; OL/DL Kile Minnes, Sr., 6-1, 272; RB/DB Stephon Vaifale, Sr., 5-10, 185; RB/LB Nu’u Vaifale, Jr., 6-0, 224; RB/DB Caleb Mathena, Jr., 5-11, 180.
Outlook: With a staggering 10 offensive and eight defensive starters returning, the tenth-ranked Falcons are poised to claim their first league title since 2003. Not only is Kentlake deep with experience, it is loaded with talent, too. Pernell, a member of the TNT’s preseason all-state team at defensive back, is one of the finest athletes in the state and Saulo can capably direct the Falcons’ spread offense, but he’s much better on defense where he’s a fierce hitter.
Head coach: Marty Osborn, 21st season
Top players: TE/DL Caleb Smith, Sr., 6-6, 245; FB/OLB Jeff Seid, Sr., 6-0, 195; WR/DB Kaid Tipton, Sr., 6-1, 171; FS Jimmie Davis, Jr., 5-9, 165; OL Terry Areta, Sr., 6-3, 285; OL Andrew Weitzel, Sr., 5-11, 220; DB Jake Zylstra, Sr., 6-2, 185; WR/OLB Reggie Collins, Sr., 6-1, 180; RB/DB Justin Cordova, 5-9, 165; RB/OLB Alec McKenzie, Sr., 5-7, 155; OL/DL Tyler Bailey, Jr., 6-4, 301; TE/OLB Travis McGuire, Jr., 6-1, 200.
Outlook: If the Chargers can ratchet up their offensive productivity – they failed to score more than 14 points in games against teams with winning records last fall – they could become a force. Smith, an Oregon State commit, moved from quarterback to tight end mid-season last fall, finishing with 10 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Davis and Zylstra are among the six returning defensive starters and give Kentridge the foundation for a solid secondary.
Head coach: Rex Norris, eighth season
Top players: OL/DL Kevin Bond, Sr., 6-1, 220; OL Matt Herrick, Sr., 6-2, 240; OL/DL Quincy Davison, Sr., 6-3, 300; FB/ILB Visa Thach, Sr., 5-9, 230; TB/DB Matt Hubbard, Sr., 6-2, 240; WR Jerrett Retz, Sr., 6-2, 160; QB Dane Manio, Jr., 6-0, 170; OL Greg Tulio, Sr., 6-0, 300; DB Jesse Lavato, Sr., 5-7, 175.
Outlook: Kentwood captured its first league tile last fall since 2005, but must replace five first-team all-league players, including running back Mikel Everette, the SPSL North’s Co-Offensive Back of the Year. The cupboard is far from bare, however, as the Conks return eight offensive starters and five defensive starters. The most difficult park of Kentwood’s schedule comes in the second-half of the regular season – none of the Conquerors’ first four opponents had winning records in 2010.
Head coach: Brett Allen, second season
Top players: RB B.J. Phillips, Sr., 5-8, 162; WR R.J. Franada, Sr., 5-10, 170; T Timmy Cordova, Jr., 6-0, 210; OG Thomas Kemp, Jr., 5-7, 175; OL Ronald Fa’aagi, Sr., 6-3, 255; T Boogie Yuhashi, Sr., 6-2, 250.
Outlook: K-M was second in the division in scoring in 2010, but the Royals will miss do-it-all quarterback David Jones, who led the SPSL in scoring last season. K-M showed it’s on the right track when it bounced back from two early losses and won three straight games last fall. Allen, entering his second season with the Royals, says the team’s strengths are the offensive and defensive lines, experience and trust in the system, but it must work at creating depth and improving the defense.
MOUNT RAINIER RAMS
Head coach: Scott Lieck, first season
Top players: QB Logan Wagner, Jr.; C/DL Demitrious Duncan, Jr.; OL/DL Kenner Eliason, Sr.; WR/DB Tavess Vontress, Sr.; OL/DL Alofa Lato, Jr.; RB Amani Brown, Fr.
Outlook: The Rams have nowhere to go but up. After struggling through their first season as a Class 4A team, Leick takes over a youthful squad that returns seven offensive and four defensive starters. Leick has been part of successful programs before – he played at the University of Washington when it won a national title in 1991. Mount Rainier has absorbed the Tyee High School football program. Tyee did not field a team in 2010 because not enough students turned out.
Head coach: Tony Davis, 18th season
Top players: C Dallas Hayes, Jr.; OL/P Barrett Weston, Sr.; WR/DB Jason Smith, Sr.; RB Beau Riggs, Sr.; RB/DL Zach Brown, Sr.; OL Aaron Davis, Sr.; OLB Calvin Balliett, Jr.; OLB Wil Anderson, Sr.; DB Justin Ross, Sr.; K David Stoecker, Sr.
Outlook: Tahoma is strong on special teams. Smith averaged 28.8 yards per kick return and ran back two for touchdowns. If the Bears find themselves in a close game, they have a steady kicker to rely on. Stoecker drilled a 47-yard field goal in the final seconds against Kentridge last fall, lifting Tahoma to a 36-34 victory. Davis runs a tight ship – Tahoma was the least penalized team in the SPSL in 2010. Sophomore Shane Nelson is expected to take over at quarterback.