LB/H-Back Andrew McCoy (6’2, 215, ‘16) – McCoy moves from outside to inside linebacker where the Grizzly coaching staff thinks he can have a huge impact. McCoy has very good instincts and he also is one of the most physical players on the team.
LB/RB Iain Black (5’10, 195, ‘16) – Joins McCoy inside to form one of the best linebacker tandems in the state. Black is smart, he runs really well and, like McCoy, he sets the tone for the defense.
WR/DB Justin Guffey (6’1, 170, ’16) – Guffey is a three-year starter that the Grizzlies will rely on to provide leadership on both sides of the ball. He’s a consistent receiver and a big contributor in a very good secondary.
OL/DL Malakai Fifita (6’3, 255, ‘17) – Unlike his older brother, Mosese, Malakai is a star on both sides of the ball. Unlike his sibling, Fifita has plenty of size and is already starting to draw interest from four-year programs.
RB/DB Dexter Carter (5’10, 180, ’16) – Carter is dynamic with the ball in his hands, but he’s a very solid corner as well. Most feel he’s one of the more underrated skill-position players in the region and the feeling from the GP coaches is that he could be a breakout star for them this fall.
A program that has been the model of consistency over the better part of the past decade is Glacier Peak and this year holds a lot of promise for head coach Rory Rosenbach and the rest of the Grizzlies.
The mitigating factor is the status of their senior quarterback, Devyn Rainbow (6’2, 170).
Last year, Rainbow got off to a fast start, leading the Grizzlies to two big wins in the first two weeks of the season. However, in the third game he broke his collarbone and then, while taking part in a 7-on-7 tournament during the offseason, he ended up breaking his leg in a fluke accident.
“It was unfortunate that he got injured because we basically haven’t had him throwing in a while, but it did give some of our younger quarterbacks some reps they may not have gotten, so that was a positive in a bit of a bad situation,” Rosenbach said this summer.
No matter who winds up taking a majority of the snaps at quarterback, he will have some intriguing weapons at his disposal.
In the backfield, seniors Dexter Carter (5’10, 180), Iain Black (5’10, 195) and junior Colton Bunt (5’9, 175) are a nice trio who bring different skills to the table – Carter is a home run threat while Bunt and Black do most of their damage in between the tackles.
Senior wideout Justin Guffey (6’1, 190) is the top returning receiver and Carter will split outside as well.
Senior Andrew McCoy (6’2, 215) will be at the H-Back spot and, while he’s a better defensive player, he’s got the soft hands and athleticism to make things tough on opposing defenses as a receiver in the middle of the field.
Along the offensive line, the Grizzlies return a handful of seniors and an outstanding junior and they comprise one of the best units in the league.
Junior Malakai Fifita (6’3, 255) holds down the left tackle spot and he’s mirrored by senior Brandon Howard (6’2, 240) on the right side.
A trio of seniors — Brendan Berg (6’0, 230), Davis Van Ess (6’0, 220) and Jake Reines (6’0, 330) — will man the interior spots.
Fifita leads the way along the defensive line and he will be counted on to fill in the huge hole left by his older brother Mosese’s graduation while the rest of the spots are still up for grabs.
Rosenbach and his coaches feel really good about their middle linebackers with McCoy and Black, two potential all-league types and junior Ricky Kranz (5’9, 160), who will be on the outside, is undersized, but with his wrestling background, he knows how to play with leverage and he’s very tough.
Senior Devin Woellhof (5’10, 170) teams with Carter to form one of the best corner tandems in the league and Guffey, Bunt and junior Eathan Smith (5’10, 175) handle the safety duties.
The Bottom Line: The WESCO 3A is pretty loaded, but Glacier Peak has been at or near the top of the standings the past couple of seasons. If Rainbow can stay healthy, the Grizzlies’ offense could be one of the best in the state and with a tough defense that returns eight starters, they should be very tough on that side of the ball as well. GP is poised for yet another playoff run and if things fall into place, they could make a run to the state semi-finals.
@ Meadowdale (9/25)
vs. Bellevue (10/2)
vs. Edmonds-Woodway (10/23)