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SPSL 2A football: Parity reigns among top pursuers

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Aug. 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm with 1 Comment »
August 25, 2012 4:07 pm

Editor’s note: This is the final of eight installments of 2012 high school football previews. Today we look at the SPSL 2A:

ON THE THRONE: Defending champion Franklin Pierce returns the fewest starters, but defense was so good last season – the nod goes here.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: He catches passes, runs fast and yes – he blocks. He is Washington High receiver Victor Gamboa, the reigning league MVP.

CHANGE IS GOOD: Ex-Nisqually League member Orting made it to the state quarterfinals the last time it was a 2A school (2005).

BY THE NUMBERS: Steilacoom returns its entire offensive line, and its seniors have logged 70 varsity starts in the past two seasons.

PROJECTED FINISH: Franklin Pierce (8-3 in 2011), Washington (5-5), Steilacoom (7-4), White River (7-3), Sumner (4-6), Orting (4-6), Fife (3-7), Clover Park (3-7).

MARK THE DATE: Oct. 26, Washington at Franklin Pierce, Franklin Pierce Stadium, 7 p.m.

The difference in a tight SPSL 2A race might be the stout Franklin Pierce defense, led by linebacker Daimoni Delavergne, center.

** Team capsules (listed in alphabetical order)

CLOVER PARK WARRIORS
Coach: Jon “Taz” Randall, ninth year
2011 record: 3-7, 6th in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Kyle Hagman (spread). Returning starters – 7. Top players – WR Brady Daly, 6-0, 175, Sr.; OL Tyler Delgado, 6-3, 270, Jr.; OL Niko Ekeroma, 6-3, 290, Jr.; OL Vela Faitalia, 5-9, 265, Sr.; RB Brandon Pritchett, 6-2, 245, Sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Jon Randall (4-3). Returning starters – 8. Top players – LB Rich Faitalia, 6-0, 200, Jr.; LB Larry Fourquerean, 5-10, 205, Sr.; DL Torri Glaspie, 6-2, 215, Sr.; DL Dominique Thibault, 5-9, 280, Jr.
Outlook: For all those seasons the Warriors were rich in skill-position talent – now it’s time for the big men on campus to step forward. Randall thinks both offensive and defense line are better than the veteran groups he had in 2004 – the last year Clover Park made the state playoffs.

FIFE TROJANS
Coach: Kent Nevin, 10th year
2011 record: 3-7, 8th in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Carlton Cooper (jet Wing-T). Returning starters – 7. Top players – WR Nolan Breck, 5-10, 160, Sr.; RB Dominic Dutra, 5-9, 180, Sr.; RB Dillon Fisher, 5-6, 155, Jr.; TE Kaleb McGary, 6-8, 270, Jr.; QB Andrew Waltner, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Kent Nevin (3-4). Returning starters – 7. Top players – DL Abe Afoa, 6-1, 280, Jr.; LB Domingo Afoa, 5-8, 205, Jr.; DL Monike Failague, 6-2, 305, Jr.; DL Scott Rhodes, 5-10, 180, Sr.
Outlook: Fife suffered through a rough patch last season. But Nevin has a rare 2A commodity heading into 2012 – big athletes who are NCAA Division I-type recruits. Monike Failauga is a defensive-tackle stalwart, and McGary – a transfer from Battle Ground – could be a next-level offensive tackle.

FRANKLIN PIERCE CARDINALS
Coach: Howard Lutton, 25th year
2011 record: 8-3, 1st in league; lost in 2A first round.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Howard Lutton (multiple spread). Returning starters – 5. Top players – TE Brett Carter, 6-4, 200, Jr.; RB Quents Harris, 5-8, 145, Sr.; RB Hassan Kitt, 6-1, 200, Sr.; QB Reilley Peirce, 6-0, 195, Sr.; WR Saul Rodriguez, 5-9, 165, Jr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Andy Armstrong (3-5). Returning starters – 3. Top players – LB Brett Carter, 6-4, 200, Jr.; LB Daimoni Delavergne, 5-9, 175, Jr.; LB Devin Hamilton, 5-11, 205, DB Jamal Harris, 5-11, 170, Sr.; DB Justin Holden, 5-9, 160, Sr.
Outlook: The coaches’ preseason pick, and it is easy to see why. Last season, the Cardinals’ defense dominated. Throw in the fact they return Peirce, the league’s top dual threat, and even though Franklin Pierce is breaking in a new cast, it usually takes no time to get untracked.

ORTING CARDINALS
Coach: Marty Parkhurst, 19th year
2011 record: 4-6, 4th in Nisqually League; lost in 1A districts.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Marty Parkhurst (fly Wing-T). Returning starters – 10. Top players – QB Trevor Grzelak, 6-2, 180, Sr.; RB Connor Rose, 5-10, 180, Jr.; OL Randy Sackmann, 6-2, 220, Sr.; RB/WR Christian Yoro, 5-8, 155, Sr.; RB Jaysen Yoro, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Mitch Fowler (3-3-5). Returning starters – 9. Top players – LB Dillon Hayden, 6-1, 235, Jr.; LB Connor Rose, 5-10, 180, Jr.; DL Randy Sackmann, 6-2, 220, Sr.; DB Christian Yoro, 5-8, 155, Sr.
Outlook: The ultimate wild card in the league title chase. Parkhurst’s track record speaks for itself – nine state playoff berths – and entering 2A again, the Cardinals have plenty of depth. Their running game features three returners who amassed 300 or more yards last season.

STEILACOOM SENTINELS
Coach: Brian Koch, sixth year
2011 record: 7-4, 3rd in league; lost in 2A first round.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Brian Koch (Wing-T). Returning starters – 7. Top players – WR Austin Jones, 5-10, 165, Sr.; OL Jackson Leech, 6-1, 205, Sr.; OB Jordan Leech, 6-2, 215, Sr.; RB James Mack, 6-0, 170, Sr.; OL Travis Pine, 5-10, 260, Sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – William Garrow (3-4). Returning starters – 8. Top players – DB Austin Jones, 5-10, 165, Sr.; LB Jackson Leech, 6-1, 205, Sr.; LB Jordan Leech, 6-2, 215, Sr.; DL Travis Pine, 5-10, 260, Sr.; DL John Santos, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Outlook: Despite a high amount of returning players, none are in the offensive backfield – including quarterback Lucas Mireles, who moved to Germany with his family. Koch will hand the keys to the Wing-T offense to his own transfer – senior Patrick Thomas – who has not played football since middle school.

SUMNER SPARTANS
Coach: Keith Ross, 10th year
2011 record: 4-6, 7th in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Mike Ernaga (veer). Returning starters – 7. Top players – OL Marc Cisineros, 6-1, 240, Sr.; OL Nick Farman, 6-0, 210, So.; RB Lokahi Kamau, 5-6, 180, Sr.; OL Austin Striplin, 6-3, 245, Jr.; QB Chase Torgison, 6-1, 190, So.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Keith Ross (4-4). Returning starters – 8. Top players - DB Mychal Hooser, 5-6, 140, Sr.; DB Jeremy Jackson, 5-7, 160, Sr.; DL Conner Mott, 6-1, 205, Sr.; LB Austin Striplin, 6-3, 245, Jr.; DL Bryson Tuilepa, 6-3, 325, Sr.
Outlook: How soon folks forget this was an SPSL 2A co-championship team in 2010 (and No. 1 seed to the district playoffs). So why are the Spartans just a sleeper? They come off a rough season, but with a strong, speedy defense in place, Sumner could easily make more sweet music again.

WASHINGTON PATRIOTS
Coach: Mike Von Rueden, fourth year
2011 record: 4-6, 5th in league.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Mike Von Rueden (Wing-T hybrid). Returning starters – 7. Top players – RB Ramsey Davis, 5-9, 185, Sr.; WR Victor Gamboa, 6-0, 180, Sr.; QB Jordan Mezias, 5-8, 175, Sr.; OL Diamond Pedro, 6-2, 300, Sr.; OL Aaron Young, 6-2, 200, Sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Jim Wiedow (3-5). Returning starters – 8. Top players - LB Ramsey Davis, 5-9, 185, Sr.; DL Ene Ene, 5-10, 255, Sr.; DB Victor Gamboa, 6-0, 180, Sr.; DL Darius Gill, 6-3, 310, Sr.
Outlook: The last time the Patriots gave serious thought about a league title was 2000 when they are co-champions of the Pierce County League. With the best skill-position star power in the league in Gamboa and Davis, expectations on the other side of Parkland was just as high.

WHITE RIVER HORNETS
Coach: Joe Sprouse, third year
2011 record: 7-3, 2nd in league; lost in 2A districts.
Offense: Coordinator – Joe Sprouse (fly). Returning starters – 7. Top players – WR Sean Hayes, 6-2, 185, Jr.; WR Devin Liebel, 5-9, 165, Sr.; QB Zach McMillen, 6-0, 205, Sr.; RB Garrett Quiles, 5-9, 185, Jr.
Defense: Coordinator – Ken Fagan (3-3). Returning starters – 8. Top players – DB Colton Altanmirano, 5-10, 185, Sr.; LB Keenan Fagan, 6-1, 180, Jr.; LB Michael O’Connor, 6-1, 175, Sr.; LB Austin Ross, 5-11, 190, Jr.; LB Chris Skinner, 5-10, 200, Sr.
Outlook: Despite graduating 17 seniors, the defending co-league champs’ veteran leadership will be strong again with 15 current seniors, six of which have started every game since their sophomore year. If injury issues stay away, and underclassmen step up, Sprouse’s team should be in contention for another league title.

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