Five Key Players
CB/RB Austin Joyner (5’10, 190, ’15) – The Washington State commit is a talented runner who has great vision and is an explosive playmaker. Will play a lot more corner this fall, something he hasn’t done in a live game yet, but there’s no doubt he has the skillset, athleticism and talent to be an All-State player this fall.
RB/DB Killian Page (5’9, 180, ’15) – Tough and talented, Page will make an impact on both sides of the ball. He will definitely see some time in the backfield while being counted on to lock down receivers when the Tomahawks are on defense.
LB/WR Drew Hatch (6’2, 195, ’15) – Hatch was an All-Wesco performer at linebacker last fall and he will be counted on to be the leader of what should be a pretty good MP defense. Hatch will get some looks on offense, but his main priority is leading the defensive unit.
DB/RB Nick Alonso (5’9, 175, ’15) – Alonso is one of the most versatile players on the team, able to fill in and make plays on either side of the ball. The coaches love his hard-nosed style and what he brings to the table.
DE/TE Bryce Vitcovich (6’4, 240, ’15) – A two-way standout who could play on either side of the ball in college, but he’s at his best along the defensive line, getting after the quarterback. With his size and speed, Vitcovich’s play will be a key in helping the Tomahawks win the battle along the line of scrimmage.
With a team that returns quite a few starters, one would think that head coach Brandon Carson and his staff have designs on a deep playoff run and an outside shot at a state title. However, the need to find a replacement for departed QB Jake Luton, who signed with Idaho, is huge and how his replacement plays will go a long way in figuring out whether the Tomahawks will be a highly seeded team in the post-season or if they will struggle to make the playoffs.
The projected starter is junior Erik Lind, a 6’3”, 185-pounder with a good arm. He beat out a couple of younger players during the spring and will be under center when MP takes the field against Kamiak on September 5th.
Luckily for Lind, he has one of the top runners in the state if not the region in Austin Joyner and the Tomahawks will rely on him as well as two other senior runners – Hunter Trueax and Killian Page.
MP doesn’t throw the ball a lot – and why would you with the running attack they feature? – but when Lind drops back, he’ll have two very solid receivers to target in seniors Drew Hatch and Rielly Pablo.
Along the offensive line, the Tomahawks will be working on their cohesiveness during camp as they return just one full-time starter in senior Corbin Ferry and another senior, Kennan Darby, who has some experience as well.
Battling throughout camp will be seniors Alex Lafave and Ian Flynn as well as juniors Sam Watson, Jerrod Lee, Ceasar Zatarain and Brenton Cooley.
Adding his skills to the blocking up front will be senior Bryce Vitcovich from his tight end spot. The big, physically gifted senior has a nasty streak and he’s a big reason it’s been like a knife through butter when Marysville-Pilchuck wants to run the ball.
On defense, Vitcovich is the star up front. He gets after the quarterback – evidenced by his six sacks and 21 quarterback pressures – but the 6’4, 240-pounder can also stop the run and he takes pride in holding the edge.
Joining him will be fellow seniors Trey Southard, J.J. Valencia and Kain Davis as well as Cooley.
Because Carson and his staff like to run a 4-2-5 scheme, the linebackers had better be able to cover a lot of ground and that’s exactly what Hatch, an All-League ‘backer, did as a junior and he’ll be joined by junior Tyler McDonald who is roughly the same size.
Nick Alonso will take quite a few reps at linebacker, but he, along with Joyner, Page, Dylen Boomer and Darion Young will definitely be seeing time at corner while Jaime Hernandez, Tristen Southard and Jesse Thompson will likely man the safety spots.
The Bottom Line: If Lind can take care of the ball and keep defenses honest by being efficient in the passing game, the Tomahawks could be a real dark horse to wind up in the 3A title game. They have the skill in the backfield to run for over 3,000 yards as a team and that is a big reason they are a favorite to win the Wesco 3A. Healthy and consistency will be keys to their ability to go deep in the state playoffs and, with a little luck, they could be playing for a 3A title the first weekend of December.
@ Lake Stevens 9/12
@ O’Dea 9/19
@ Oak Harbor 10/24