The Prep Blog

Covering high school sports in Tacoma, Pierce County and the South Sound

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Archives: Aug. 2011


Football: SPSL 2A preview capsules


Crystal Ball
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.

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.

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.
Read more »


Football: SPSL 3A preview capsules

Mane Manaea goes for an interception against Evergreen last fall. Credit: Peter Haley, staff photographer

Crystal Ball
1. Lakes (11-2)
2. Peninsula (5-5)
3. Bonney Lake (7-3)
4. Enumclaw (3-6)
5. Auburn Mountainview (4-6)
6. Decatur (1-9)
*2010 season records


Lakes’ Cedric Dozier has given defensive coordinators nightmares, trying to figure out how to contain the fleet-footed quarterback over the past two seasons. A threat to run or pass, Dozier adds a new dimension to his game in 2011: catching passes. Lancers coach Dave Miller said his starting quarterback will be used as a receiver, too, providing another wrinkle in the offensive game plan.

Lakes’ missed having Ma’ne Manaea’s versatility and instincts on the field when a concussion sidelined him halfway through the 2010 season. The safety isn’t the most imposing – he stands 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds – but he’s a big-time hitter with the confidence to match.
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Football: Narrows League 3A preview capsules

Yelm running back Jacob Swilley, center, is one of the top players in the league. Credit: Tony Overman, staff photographer

Crystal Ball
1. Timberline (7-4)
2. Capital (12-1)
3. Lincoln (5-5)
4. Wilson (3-7)
5. Yelm (2-8)
6. Foss (0-10)
*2010 season records

Once again, Capital and Timberline are the teams to beat. Capital cruised through the league in 2010, winning every conference game by at least 31 points. The Cougars suffered some losses to graduation, though, and Timberline, aiming for its fourth straight trip to the state playoffs, is poised to reclaim its spot atop the league. Capital and Timberline seem safe to grab two of the league’s postseason berths, but the third is up for grabs – any of the other four teams could make a run at it.

Yelm running back Jacob Swilley may look small – he’s 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds – but he’s one of the strongest players on the field. Swilley, a first-team all-league pick in 2010 after rushing for 1,022 yards and 13 TDs, can bench-press 300 pounds and squat 425. Swilley makes an impact on defense, too. He tallied 65 tackles and 12 pass-deflections last season as a cornerback.

Brandon Wetzel didn’t crack Timberline’s starting lineup until halfway through the 2010 season. Once he did, Wetzel excelled, earning first-team all-league honors as a sophomore middle linebacker. In half a season, Wetzel totaled 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two sacks. With a full season ahead of him, Wetzel could put up monster numbers.
Read more »


Football: Narrows League 4A preview capsules


Bellarmine Prep's Michael Rector, left, keeps a close eye on the winning touchdown catch against Bothell's Wendell Galvan in the endzone for a 28-21 win over Bothell on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

Crystal Ball
1. Bellarmine Prep (11-2)
2. Olympia (8-2)
3. Central Kitsap (6-4)
4. Gig Harbor (6-4)
5. South Kitsap (3-7)
6. Mount Tahoma (3-7)
7. Stadium (4-6)
8. Shelton (3-7)
*2010 season records

Olympia has claimed six league titles in the past eight seasons, but Bellarmine Prep, fresh off an appearance in the state semifinals and loaded with 13 returning starters, is the team to beat. Don’t expect the Bears, who also have 13 starters back, to give up easily their spot at the top of the Narrows League 4A food chain. Central Kitsap, Gig Harbor and South Kitsap have all enjoyed success in recent seasons and should again contend for the league’s four postseason berths. Don’t sleep on Mount Tahoma, Stadium and Shelton, which have shown promise and could find themselves in the playoff race.

One of the state’s fastest boys – he clocked the second-fastest 100-meter sprint time (10.80 seconds) in Class 4A last spring – Bellarmine Prep receiver Michael Rector is a dangerous playmaker. The University of Washington recruit came up big for Bellarmine Prep in an epic state quarterfinal comeback. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound receiver caught three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute that capped a 28-21 win over fifth-ranked Bothell. Rector caught 67 passes for 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010.
Read more »


Migrating to a new Facebook page

Well, Facebook archived our previous TNT Prep Sports group, just like it shut down every other group.

So we’ve created a new TNT Prep Sports page. The page is linked to our website and blog system, so every time a high school sports story is posted on or the Preps Blog, it pops up on the TNT Preps Facebook page. Everything will be aggregated into one site.

Click here for the new TNT Prep Sports Facebook page.


Football: TNT’s 2011 Preseason All-State Team

Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Grade School
QB Max Browne 6-5 200 Jr. Skyline

Set team records in passing yards (4,189) and touchdowns (50) in 2010

RB Kei’Varae Russell 5-11 170 Sr. Mariner
Ran for 1,850 yards in 10 games last year; has nearly 20 Division-I offers

RB Matt Hadley 5-11 190 Sr. Connell
Two-time 1A Player of the Year, BYU-commit scored 50 TDs in 2010

WR Michael Rector 6-1 180 Sr. Bellarmine Prep
UW-commit flashed big-play potential in 3-TD quarterfinal vs. Bothell

WR Trent Sewell 6-2 205 Sr. Bothell
Pac-12 recruit enjoyed breakout in 2010, tallying 1,133 yards, 12 TDs

TE Caleb Smith 6-6 240 Sr. Kentridge
Chargers former quarterback has blossomed into a pass-catching tight end

OL Zach Banner 6-9 330 Sr. Lakes
The most recruited player in the Northwest, he has more than 40 offers

OL Nathan Dean 6-5 275 Sr. Juanita
Massive UW-commit is another of state’s top O-line prospects

Read more »


Football: TNT’s 2011 Preseason State Rankings

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with high school football coaches, players and media from around the state, trying to put together a solid set of football preseason state rankings.

Do preseason rankings mean anything? Not really, but they’re fun and useful as a rough guide for what to expect this season. For example, take our 2010 preseason rankings. Of the 24 semifinalists in all six classifications, 12 were ranked among the top four. Digging further into the numbers, here’s how many of our 2010 preseason Top-10 teams were ranked in our final rankings of the 2010 season: Class 4A four (ouch); Class 3A nine; Class 2A seven; Class 1A eight.

That’s not perfect, but not totally off-base, either. So, enjoy and hopefully these will spark some interest and lively debate.

The News Tribune’s 2011 Preseason Football State Rankings

Class 4A
1. Skyline (12-2)
2. Chiawana (10-1)
3. Eastlake (8-3)
4. Bellarmine Prep (11-2)
5. Skyview (8-3)
6. Ferris (14-0)
7. Olympia (8-2) Read more »


Football: Recruiting updates, video interviews with Garnett, Banner

In Sunday’s newspaper (and online), we’re running features on a trio of outstanding offensive tackles – Lakes’ Zach Banner, Puyallup’s Joshua Garnett and Tacoma Baptist’s Walker Williams.

The South Sound – and probably the state – has never had three offensive tackles in the same class that drew the amount of recruiting interest as Banner, Garnett and Williams.

Here’s link to the feature stories.

Williams, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound senior, was the first of the trio to give an oral commitment, pledging on Friday to attend the University of Wisconsin. Click here for a video interview with Williams, plus more on his commitment to the Badgers.

Banner (6-foot-8, 330 pounds) and Garnett (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) are undecided. Each can pretty much attend whatever school they desire.

Here are video interviews and recruiting information on Garnett and Banner that didn’t get into the feature stories:

Joshua Garnett
(You can follow Garnett on Twitter at @iamjoshg)

Recruiting update: Garnett’s most recent trip was an unofficial visit to USC last week. He said he really enjoyed it (he talks about it in the video interview).

Garnett said he hadn’t narrowed his choices down past a list of 10 schools.

“I had a list, but so much stuff has happened,” he said. “Until this summer is over, I don’t think I can make a top list.”

Official visits scheduled: None yet, though he said he’s going to take an official visit to Miami in January after he plays in the Under Armour All-American Bowl, and he will try to visit Michigan on Sept. 10.

Read more »