QB Davis Alexander (5’11” 180, ’16) – Alexander is the most underrated QB I have seen come through this state. He is overlooked because of his height, but frankly his on field play is all that matters. Alexander has tremendous arm strength, good accuracy and is a dynamic all-around athlete.
FS Kale Wong (6’2″ 185, ’16) – Wong is to the defense, what Alexander is to the offense. He is the heart and soul, and makes the moves back to FS this year after playing LB in 2014. He has speed, instincts and a very high football IQ. He is rising quickly and has the look of a D1 safety.
WR/P Kyle Olson-Urbon (6’0″ 180, ’16) – Olson-Urbon transfers over to Gig Harbor after a very successful past at rival Peninsula. He is one of the more polished receivers in the state, and was also voted first team all-state as a Punter. Olson-Urbon projects highly by having good speed, hands and a great understanding for the position.
WR Noah Samsen (5’10” 185, ’16) – Samsen returns as the team’s leading receiver and was the Narrows League Offensive MVP last season. He has the ability to stretch the field and is also well versed in the intermediate route concepts. Samsen has great hands and strength, which plays well when fighting for a ball.
DB Keyell Davis (5’11” 185, ’16) – Davis has really grown his all-around game. He is coming off a first team All-Narrows League season in 2014, in which he led Gig Harbor in solo tackles. Davis is fluid in coverage and stout against the run, making him one of the better defensive backs in the state.
OL/DL Connor Jost (6’5″ 225, ’16) – Jost is probably the most athletic of the lineman on Gig Harbor, and will be a two-way starter this season. He does a great job getting to the second level on offense, and might be the best pure edge rusher on defense. All in all, Jost is one of the better two-way lineman around.
There is a lot of excitement around Gig Harbor, and rightfully so. A few weeks ago I named them my #1 in 4A, and I am sticking to my guns.
You would hard pressed to find a team that returns as much talent as Gig Harbor, something that reminds me a lot of last year’s 4A state champs, the Bothell Cougars.
Fourth year Head Coach Aaron Chantler is one of the great, young minds in this state, and runs one of the best programs around. He has surrounded himself with a quality coaching staff, including assistants Jack Lanier (DC) and Steve Elligsen (WR), both of whom have been with Chantler since day one.
The key to Gig Harbor’s offense is the tremendous play of QB Davis Alexander. If you read our site, you know how highly I think of Davis. He brings unmatched leadership and work ethic to the most important position on the field. Alexander piled up over 3,000 total yards last season, 850 on the ground, and finished with an 33/3 TD to INT ratio last season.
Seeing a bulk of the carries on offense will be senior Adrian Valona (5’8″ 195), who returns after racking up nearly 1,200 yards and 25 TD’s, on way to a first team All-Narrows League nomination. Valona runs very hard and near impossible to bring down at times. You may also see Martin Brazier (6’0″ 185, ’18) get some carries when need, and late in games.
Gig Harbor has a plethora of talent at the wide receiver spot, led by Kyle Olson-Urbon and Noah Samsen. Shawn Kimble (5’8″ 150, ’17) is a bit undersize, but brings a toughness and understand to the game that makes him a very valuable piece, while Andrew Johnson (6’0″ 185, ’16), who started at LB last year, is your classic possession receiver and is considered to be the most consistent target. Last, but certainly not least is Dylan Lindmark (5’6″ 145, ’16). He is also on the small side, but brings tremendous speed and some of the best overall athleticism.
Line play is a staple of good football teams, and Gig Harbor has one of the best around. The Tides return bookend tackles Connor Jost and Sean Reemts (6’3″290, ’16). Last season, something clicked for Reemts, who not only put on much needed weight, but brought a nasty side we had yet to see.
Alex Emery (6’1″ 275, ’17) returns after a 2nd team All-Narrows sophomore campaign, and is considered the anchor of the line as he makes the line calls from his center spot. At RG is Garrett Ness (6’2″ 260, ’16), who wasn’t a full-time starter last season, but saw plenty of playing time, and is someone the coaching staff feels could have a breakout season. Right now the LG is Nate Clarke (5’11” 235, ’16), and the coaching staff is ver confident in his abilities, but he could see a challenge before all is said and done.
Defensively Gig Harbor goes with a 3-3-5 look, and have one of the best defensive fronts in the state.
They are led upfront by Connor Jost and Nate Younk (6’3″ 255, ’16). Younk plays with a non-stop motor and really helps set the tone for the defense. Inside they feature tough-to-move Tommy Clauson (5’10” 275, ’16), who is your classic run stuffing DT.
Linebacker play is vital in this defense, and Gig Harbor has arguably the best group in the state. Alex Bouterse (6’0″ 200, ’16) returns after a first team All-Narrows League season, in which he led Gig Harbor in sacks. Bouterse has a high football IQ and is great against both the run and pass.
With Kale Wong moving back to FS, and Andrew Johnson switching to offense, Gig Harbor had a couple openings at LB. Bo Longmore (6’0″ 205, ’16) and Taven Erpenbach (6’0″ 195, ’16) slide in and instantly become two of the better players on the team. Longmore brings a physical presence and is great against the run, while Erpenbach is more of an athletic backer who excels in coverage. Martin Brazier and Michael Labadie (5’11” 180, ’17) add depth to an already talented group.
Speaking of depth, Gig Harbor can legitimately going about eight deep in the secondary, and still play at a very high level. Wong is one of the most underrated defensive players in the state and moving back to FS is downright huge for this team, and the secondary. Keyell Davis and Cory Condon (6’1″ 170, ’16) both return to help solidify the secondary. Condon took over as a started mid-way through last season when Santana Johnson went down, and is a very intelligent football player.
Bailey Weir (6’1″ 170, ’16) and Max Batanian (5’7″ 180, ’16) step into starting rolls in the secondary, and the coaching staff feels confident they will make plays when needed. Both athletes have worked very hard this offseason to earn their starting spots. Adding depth are Roman Havens (5’11” 160, ’17), Zack Davis (5’11” 165, ’17) and Marc Fletcher (5’7″ 165, ’17).
Handling the kicking duties will be Shawn Kimble, while a combo of Kyle Olson-Urbon and Andrew Johnson will get work at punter.
Bottom Line: Gig Harbor returns 10 athletes that were on the All-Narrows League list from last season, and the bulk of this group has been together for a long time. They have plenty of talent, topflight leadership and some of the best coaching in the state. All-in-all, they are my preseason pick to win state, but know they still have plenty of work to do to make that prediction a reality.
vs Peninsula (9/4)
@ Olympia (10/17)
vs Bellarmine Prep (10/30)