QB Nathan West (6’3″ 200, ’16) – West is a not your typical O’Dea QB. He is an above average passer and could beat your with his arm if needed. West has one of the strongest arms in the state and is coming off a great Northwest 9 performance.
LB Julius McDade (5’11” 220, ’16) – McDade is the rock in the middle of the Irish defense. He was first team All-Metro last season after leading the team in tackles. McDade is your prototypical O’Dea LB and is a real tone setter.
OL/LB Montique Edwards (6’0″ 230, ’16) – Edwards is a solid two-way player with a ‘hit first, ask questions later’ mentality. Much like McDade, Edwards brings that toughness the O’Dea coaching staff loves, while also playing smart football.
WR Quinton Lewis (6’0″ 165, ’17) – If the Irish are going to throw the ball more, which is what everyone keeps telling me, Lewis will be a big factor. He has good speed, great hands and runs really nice routes. Lewis looks to be one of the better receivers in the 2017 class.
OL/DL Cole Burcham (6’2″ 245, ’16) – Burcham didn’t play last year because of injury, but could’ve very easily been a starter if he was healthy. He has good size, strength and is one of the hardest workers on the team.
O’Dea is one of the great dynasty programs in the State of Washington, with sustained success over three decades.
Head coach Monte Kohler took over in 1985, and the rest is history. Few state championships here, tons of Metro League titles there. Kohler runs one of the truly great programs, turning out good football players and great young men.
The Fighting Irish are known for running the football, and have had some of the best backs in the history of the state. It seems like every year we hear that O’Dea is going to pass the ball more, and it never happens. Nathan West brings a passing element not normal to an O’Dea QB, and with Myles Gaskin gone, I think this year is finally the year they open it up a little more than normal.
Talent Hesse (5’6″ 165, ’16) takes over at RB, and showed last season he is a capable back. FB Kyle Hollabaugh (6’0″ 180, ’17) is a name that pops up a lot when I talk O’Dea football, and is being compared a lot to former Fighting Irish FB/LB Jack Flor (Air Force).
For O’Dea to be successful through the air, they will rely on Quinton Lewis to be a big time play maker, but Race Porter (6’3″ 165, ’16) will also be an integral part. Porter has good speed, hands and a great willingness to learn. O’Dea TE’s do a lot of blocking, but they have had some good receiving targets over the years, and Sam Sanchez (6’2″ 180, ’16) looks to fit the roll as both a blocker and receiving target.
Offensive line play has been a true staple at O’Dea, with many big time names moving on to college over the years. While they lose big time names in Majid Firoozi (UC Davis) and Dylan Ledbetter (Eastern Washington), they have a nice mix of experienced players to go with a couple outstanding underclassmen.
Montique Edwards returns as the only true returning starter, but Isaiah Carter (6’1″ 260, ’16) saw plenty of playing time last season. Cole Burcham takes over at LG and looks to be one of the better lineman in Metro. Tony Flor (6’1″ 210, ’17), brother of Sam and Jack, is a bit undersize, but is a hardnosed player with a high football IQ.
The young buck of the line and a name I have been hearing a lot about is Griffin Korican (6’5″ 280, ’18). Just size alone makes you think he could be in line for good things, but Korican is described as surprisingly athletic and willing learner. Could be big things in his future.
Cole Burcham and Tony Flor will play two-ways this season and lead the defensive line from their end spots. Transfer DT Tiano Tialavea (6’4″ 330, ’16) will miss some time due to injury, but should see the field in the second half of the season. Doing a bulk of the heavy lifting inside until Tialavea is ready to go will be Davion Dixon (6’1″ 320, ’18) who bench pressed 315 as just a freshman.
Julius McDade leads the defense from his MLB spot, and when teamed with Montique Edwards, forms one of the tougher set of backers in the state. At OLB will be Fredrick Cooper (6’0″ 200, ’17), who transferred in from Maryland and looks the part of a big time player. We saw him at the RDAF Showcase in June, and Cooper was one of the standout performers.
Matt Malloy (6’0″ 185, ’16) at SS. Malloy started at QB when Nathan West was hurt, and added 20 pounds in the offseason. Quinton Lewis will see time at corner, with Dominique Gates (5’10” 160, ’17) getting the nod on the opposite side. Holden Jeffries (5’8″ 160, ’17) and Connor Gregoire (5’9″ 180, ’18) are battling for the FS spot, but expect both to see plenty of playing time.
The Bottom Line: The Fighting Irish have been in a battle with Eastside Catholic now for a few seasons, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. O’Dea is talented and have the pieces to make a nice run. Do they have enough to get by Eastside Catholic? We will find out Friday October 16th when the Irish travel to the Plateau for a prime time Root Sports game.
@ Marysville Pilchuck Tomahaws
@ Bishop Blanchet Braves (10/2)
@ Eastside Catholic Crusaders (10/16)