Five Key Players
RB/DE Austin Cole (6’0″ 200, ’15) – Cole is a returning first team All-League RB, that should also see time at DE this coming season. Many consider Cole to be Juanita’s most important offensive player this coming season. If he can continue his pace from last season, it will allow the Rebels to open up the passing game.
TE/LB Pierce Belleman (6’0″ 190, ’15) – What Cole is to the offense, you could consider Belleman the same for the defense. When he is on his game, he is a dominant playmaker that really flies to the ball. He will be a three year starter for the Rebels, and can literally play just about any skill position on either side of the ball.
QB/DB Tavin Montgomery (6’0″ 170, ’16) – Montgomery is heading into his third year as the starting QB, after taking over full-time early in his freshman season. He is a duel-threat QB, and has a knack for big plays and winning games. He should get a chance to run more this season, and could also be a key member of the defensive backfield.
ATH/DB Salvon Ahmed (5’11” 180, ’17) – Ahmed is a dynamic athlete with loads of potential. As just a freshman last season, it took him a little bit to get adjusted to the varsity level, but once he did, he really took off. As good as he is/could be offensive, Ahmed’s best days will probably come as a lockdown cover corner. Over the offseason he picked up an offer from Montana State.
WR/DB Makiah Gilmer (6’0″ 175, ’16) – Potential is the name of the game for Gilmer. He could very well be one of the top Safety in the 2016 recruiting class, and should really get a chance to showcase his offensive ability this coming season. Gilmer was offered by Montana State over the offseason.
2013 left a bad taste in the mouth of everyone at the North Kirkland school, as they missed the playoffs by just one game, but the Rebels are once again one of the more talented teams in the 3A classification.
Head coach Shaun Tarantola is heading into his seventh season at the helm, and has restored a winning mentality in a program that looked to be on the decline.
The name of the game offensively is speed, and the Rebels have plenty to go around. The Rebels use what they call a ‘Sweeper’ who is in motion on just about every play, as they utilize the motion for handoff, pass and deception. Salvon Ahmed will see a majority of the action from the sweeper spot, as the coaches want to find any way to get the ball in his hands.
Juanita isn’t short of weapons offensive, especially on the outside, where they have four legitimate receiving targets in Makiah Gilmer, Daegan Andrews, Dylan Moctezuma and Dean Sise. Gilmer is considered to be the most dynamic of the foursome, while Andrews is the most physical.
Getting the ball to those receivers will be third year starter Tavin Montgomery, who is coming off an impressive sophomore season that finished with a second team All-Kingco award. The junior-to-be is ready for a breakout season.
Also seeing some time at QB will be Dexter Mell, who as a freshman started one game for the Rebels while Montgomery was hurt. He will see time in every game, as the coaching staff is confident with this sophomore’s abilities.
The real key to Juanita’s offense is senior running back Austin Cole. He has the ability to gain tough yards, as he is a bigger back, but also has the speed to break a run at any time. If Cole can get going, it will really open things up for Montgomery and the passing game.
Juanita will play a lot of ironman football, as many athletes will only leave the field for special teams. The strength of the defense is it’s speed, especially in the secondary. Ahmed and Moctezuma will be on the corners, with Montgomery and Gilmer at safety.
Pierce Belleman is the rock of the defense, and from his linebacker spot, may be Juanita’s most important player. When Belleman is playing at a high level, he is very exciting to watch.
If this year’s squad has any weakness, it could be along the line. They lose two underclassmen to transfer, Thomas Toki (St. Francis in Mountain View, Calif.) and Paul Finau (Foster in Tukwila, Wash.), and graduate just about everyone else.
On the offensive line the Rebels return two starters, Alex Archer and Zach Johanson, but are confident moving forward with guys like Max Millett and Jack Boeggeman.
Millett will be big defensively as well, as he is the KingCo Conference’s returning sack leader, after posting 12 during a second team All-League junior season. Also, look for Andrews and Cole to see some time opposite of Millett at DE.
In the end, the play of the both lines appear to be in good hands, as coach Lele Te’o is one of the more respected line coaches in the area. He adds defensive coordinator duties this coming season, and expectations are for the Rebels to be vastly improved.
After an impressive 34 year run as head coach at rival Inglemoor, Frank Naish is now in his second season on the Juanita coaching staff and brings a ton of experience and knowledge of the game. The Juanita coaches feel very fortunate to have him on board.
The Bottom Line: For the Rebels to be successful this season, they are going to need to avoid the injury bug, as they do not have a great deal of depth. In the middle of last season they were hit hard and it resulted in missing the playoffs. Should they stay healthy, and get a little luck, playing in the Tacoma Dome is a realistic possibility.
9/26 @ Mercer Island
10/10 @ Bellevue
10/24 vs Liberty