2014 Team Preview: O’Dea Fighting Irish

O'Dea Team Preview

 

Five Key Players

RB/DB Myles Gaskin (5’10” 180. ’15) – The University of Washington commit has been torching offenses the last two seasons, and should have no problem doing it again in 2014. Gaskin has elite level speed, but it is his ability to see the field and set up defenders/blocks that is most impressive.

WR/DB Mikel Owes (6’1″ 180, ’15) – O’Dea is known for running the ball, so Owes doesn’t get many chances on offense, but he is a high caliber receiving target. Owes has good speed, is physical and a hard worker. The senior probably projects the highest defensively as a corner.

OL/DL Majid Firoozi (6’4” 250, ’15) – Firoozi has had a tremendous offseason really putting his name on the map, picking up offers from Air Force and UC Davis. He show good athleticism in getting to the second level, classic O’Dea toughness and is one of the state’s top run blockers.

OL/DL Dylan Ledbetter (6’4″ 250, ’15) – Ledbetter is one of the state’s top defensive lineman, and already holds offers from Idaho and Eastern Washington. He has the nasty streak you want in a lineman, a high football IQ and has NFL genes (dad). Ledbetter will be a three-year starter for the Irish.

QB Nathan West (6’3″ 195, ’16) – West isn’t a prototypical O’Dea QB, and has real potential down the road. He will be asked to be a game manager this season, but could be the difference in a close game with his ability to throw the ball. Definitely a name to remember down the road.

 

Overview

Monte Kohler is heading into his 30th season as the head coach at O’Dea, and as usual, he has a tough-physical football team capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.

It starts up front for the Irish, where they have possibly the most experienced offensive lines in the state. They are lead by Majid Firoozi (Guard) and Dylan Ledbetter (Center), and have one of the better set of tackles in the state with Erik Fulleton and Seamus Courtney. When you add in Joey Richards (Guard), the Irish will be going forward with a full senior offensive line.

O’Dea is traditionally a run first offense. They also tend to be a run second and run third offense, and handling those duties are seniors Myles Gaskin and Davarea Proctor. The fullback at O’Dea is one of the more crucial positions. Last year Jack Flor (Air Force) did a tremendous job, and Proctor has some huge shoes to fill, but there is nothing but confidence from those in the Fighting Irish camp.

When not running the ball, the two main receiving targets will be seniors Mikel Owes and Josh Bradley. Owes is great all-around athletes with good speed, hands and above average route running. Bradley is the tight end, and will do his best work run blocking, but the Irish have used the TE in the passing game more the last few years.

Almost the entire O’Dea offense is heading into its senior season. The only underclass starters offensively are QB Nathan West (’16) and WR Quinton Lewis (’17).

There may not be a player with bigger shoes to fill than West. Pierre Le Dorze (Cornell) was a three-year starter at QB for the Irish, and directed the offense with timing and precision that will be tough to replicate.

The Irish are always tough on defense, and much like the offense, it starts up front.

Ledbetter is one of the top defensive lineman statewide, and has offers to prove it. Teaming with him on the edge will be Curtis Delgado (’15), who is a stout run defender, and has the athleticism to get up field after the QB.

Inside they lose a load, as Jarius McDade (Northern Arizona) has graduated, but they do have senior Che’lon McLennan, who is widely regarded as one of the strongest athletes not only on the team, but statewide. McLennan was primarily an offensive guard last season, and should have no problem making the switch to defense.

Linebacker play at O’Dea is always very good, last year Nathan Proctor and Jack Flor were one of the best duos in the state, but both have moved on to college football.

This year’s squad is headed by seniors Jake Oliver and Will Stowers. I look at Oliver much like I did Flor of a season ago, in that he is a bit of an unknown, but with a breakout year, could go onto big things.

The third linebacker spot is still up for grabs, where the battle between juniors Montique Edwards and Julius McDade looks like it will come down to the final week.

O’Dea’s defensive backfield has some familiar names in Myles Gaskin (SS), Davarea Proctor (FS) and Mikel Owes (CB), all start both ways. The lone newcomer is CB Garrett Granlund (5’7″ 150, ’15).

The Bottom Line: If O’Dea can stay healthy, they should make another deep run into the playoffs. This team may not have the depth we usually see out of the Irish, but they definitely have some high end talent. The Irish will be ranked in the top 5 to start the season, and rightfully so.

 

Key Games

vs Marysville Pilchuck 9/19

vs Blanchet 10/3

vs Eastside Catholic 10/17