Week five is over, the Bothell Cougars are still on top of the rankings, while the GSHL looks headed for a Camas/Union showdown, while only five teams remain unbeaten. For an updated look at the standings from around the state, head on over to WaPrepZone.com.
This week I attended five games, featuring four 4A schools, including Bethel, Ferris, Lewis & Clark and Mountain View.
I want to start by giving props to a publication I picked up in Spokane just outside Joe Albi Stadium. There is no affiliation with the Greater Spokane League, which is a good thing, and it is by far the most comprehensive look at any league in the state. It is one man with a passion for High School Football and the GSL.
The cost was only $5. Most teams on this side of the state sell their team programs for about that much, and this was for an entire league. I was shocked more people didn’t have them in the stands. For more information, check out their Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter.
On paper this may not have looked like one of the week’s marque matchups, but it turned out to be one of the week’s best games.
The Bethel Braves are one of the more “Under-the-radar” teams in the state. They are unbeaten, and have become a legitimate SPSL South title contender. The Mountain View Thunder made the move from 3A to 4A this season, and have had a rough go as of late, but are one of the better one win teams in the state.
Mountain View would get the opening kickoff, and promptly march down field for the opening score, when RB Preston Jones (’16) scored from 12 yards out. This was the first time I have seen Jones, and will say I came away very impressed.
Bethel wasted no time responding, when on the second play QB Bryce Missey (’16) would give the ball to Jamon Jones (’15), who would throw to Collin White (’17), who had gotten behind the MV defense, for 69 yards and the score. Jones is the team’s backup QB and did see plenty of time there last season.
On the next kickoff, Bethel defender Stanley Davis (’15) ripped the ball from the return man, and returned it himself to the MV 16 yard line. A few plays later, Missey was picked off in the end zone on a pass he regretted the second he threw it.
The two teams would exchange a few punts, before Preston Jones would rip off his second touchdown of the game, this one from 44 yards away. It was a quick hitter up the middle, Jones broke a few tackles, kept his legs moving before breaking away.
Mountain View led 14-7 with 7:31 left to play in the second quarter, and would carry the lead into the half, with Bethel set to receive the kickoff.
The second half would start great for Mountain View, as the Bethel return man caught the ball on the run and stepped out at his own three, but the good fortunes would not last long.
Bethel would go on a tremendous drive to open the half, including 6 straight plays resulting in a first down, the Braves moved all the way down to the MV 28. Once inside the redzone, Missey would play-action to the RB, roll right and find Donnie Fejerang (’15) underneath for a 10 yard TD to tie the game at 14.
The third quarter would end with the two teams tied at 14, as neither offense could really get going, mostly due to costly penalties on both sides.
Stanley Davis would give Bethel a 21-14 lead with 8:54 left in the game, as he got loose around the left end, scoring from 14 yards out. It was a 75 yard drive, with Bethel doing most of their damage on bubble screens and short curl routes.
Mountain View wasn’t done, though. They started from their own six, following a muff on the kick return, but the Preston Jones should was still open. The dynamic junior would jet up the middle from six yards out, on what was a relatively easy drive for the Thunder.
Bethel’s next dive was the most impressive of the night. Following a kickoff out of bounds, Missey and company would “nickel and dime” the Thunder, with a fake punt by Jamon Jones in between, to set up 2nd and 13 with just over two minutes and thirty seconds left to play.
Most of the night, Mountain View had played its DB’s off the ball, allowing the Braves to use short passes. This play they decided to move one corner up tight to the line, so Missey switched to a fade, and it would payoff. Collin White was able to get a good release, and Missey put the ball on the money to give the Braves a 27-21 lead, following a missed PAT, with 2:31 left to play.
Mountain View had two timeouts left, but would fumble close to midfield to essentially end the game.
Bryce Missey looked every bit the part of a big time quarterback in the second half. While the Braves may not have used the entire playbook, Missey was on the money. I am not sure of his final stats, but I can’t imagine he missed more than 2-3 passes. I caught up with Missey following the game, that video interview can be found Right Here.
I was really impressed with the play of Bethel TE Jared Seigel (’15). He converted from QB in the offseason, and looks to be one of the better TE’s in his class. He is a good sized target with great hands, and moves really well.
Bethel’s line is very underrated. While the Braves may not have a ton of depth, they do have size and grit. I especially liked the play of Dakaline White (’16, 6’2″ 230) and Ezra Cleveland (’16, 6’6″ 240).
Gotta give credit to the Bethel coaching staff. First year head coach Mark Iddins and his staff made adjustments at halftime that really changed the game. They went to more short passes and bubble screens, while mixing in the run game to keep the Thunder off balance. It really was one of the better coaching performances I have seen all season.
Speaking Mark Iddins, the TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma New Tribune did a great piece about the young head coach, and you can read that piece Right Here.
There is a lot to like about Mountain View’s Chris Mitchell (6’0″ 230). The junior center has great technique and the mean streak you like in an offensive lineman.
Preston Jones is the real deal. The 2016 recruiting class has some really nice pieces at RB, and Jones could very well be in the top 3-4. He has speed, great vision and just enough power to make you forget the hit.
Next week: Bethel Braves (5-0, 2-0 League) vs Emerald Ridge Jaguars (3-2, 3-0 League); Mountain View Thunder (1-4, 1-1 League) at Skyview Storm (3-2, 2-1 League).
Other 4A Notes/Links
If you are a sucker for soldiers returning home to surprise family stories, like I am, you will like the story from Yelm about the surprise QB Devante Pearson received just before kickoff. Meg Wochnick, one of the more underrated sports writers in the state, of The Olympian has the story Right Here.
Aaron Lommers and David Krueger of the Everett Herald do a weekly podcast I really enjoy. The week six podcast is available on their site Right Here. If you are a high school fan, you will like it.
Bothell TE Cole Ford attended the Lakeside/Bainbridge game, and stopped by to say hi, so I threw him on camera. An interview that can be seen Right Here.
Chiawana’s Dre Dorton received his first D1 offer this week. I caught up with the dynamic two-way athlete, you can read about it Right Here.
In case you live under a rock, Federal Way’s Chico McClatcher is unbelievable. This week, he broke the SPSL rushing record in a 70-24 win over rival Decatur. Matt Driscoll from the Tacoma News Tribune has the game report Right Here.
I meant to toss this article to you last week, but I forgot, which is why I am putting it on here now. Central Valley (Spokane) RB/SS Spencer Miller was primed for a big season, until injuries started to derail what he had worked so hard for. The article on NWPrepsNow can be seen Right Here.
If you don’t know about Bryce Williamson from University High School in Spokane, you may want to take notice. The senior RB is putting up some impressive offensive numbers this season. You can read about this week’s six touchdown performance Right Here.
Cascade Christian TE/LB Mason Tobeck made his college commitment, while Sehome’s Taylor Rapp picked up his first two offers. Both are small school athletes, and with no small school review, I decided to place them here.
This Week’s Top Ten
1. Bothell Cougars (5-0)
2. Union Titans (5-0)
3. Camas Papermakers (5-0)
4. Kentwood Conquerors (5-0)
5. Skyline Spartans (4-1)
6. Chiawana Riverhawks (4-1)
7. Lake Stevens Vikings (4-1)
8. Gig Harbor Tides (4-1)
9. Federal Way Eagles (3-2)
10. Gonzaga Prep Bullpups (4-1)