OL/DL Henry Bainivalu (6’6″, 290, ’17) – One of the top linemen in the region if not the entire West Coast, Bainivalu is a mauler who is equally good as a pass-blocker and run-blocker. He’s athletic and can play almost anywhere along the line, but he’ll man the left tackle spot for the Spartans for his second-straight season.
OL/DL Matt Cindric (6’4″, 255, ’18) – Cindric really burst on the scene last fall as a sophomore and he’s only gotten bigger and better this offseason. He’ll hold down the right tackle spot and be a force off the edge as one of the defensive ends on the other side of the ball.
OL/DL Matt Oss (6’0″, 215, ’17) – While Bainivalu and Cindric are getting all of the recruiting attention and rightly so, Oss is the leader along the offensive line from his center spot and he’s also a tough, gritty nose tackle on the defensive side of the ball.
S/WR Bradley Kim (5’11”, 200, ’17) – Kim has made his name on defense, showing great football instincts and the ability to make plays all over the field, but this season, he’ll get quite a few touches on offense as well and the coaches are excited about what he can do with the ball in his hands.
MLB/H-Back Caleb Johnston (6’0″, 220, ’17) – Johnston is smart and physical. He is the consummate middle linebacker, able to stuff the run, while showing enough athleticism to make plays outside the tackles as well.
The Spartans have been one of the top programs in the state for the better part of the past two decades and that trend will continue this season as long as they find a replacement for departed quarterback Blake Gregory.
Head coach Mat Taylor’s offense is complex, so it’s important to find the right guy to lead the offensive attack and this year it will be a battle between senior Drew Kistner (6’0″, 170, ’17) and sophomore Joe Green (6’3″, 185, ’19).
Kistner has a great understanding of the offense and he’s a solid game-manager, but Green’s upside is off-the-charts and the coaches really want to get a look at what he can do when the bullets go live.
At tailback, the Spartans will have to replace one of the best runners to ever come through their program — Rashaad Boddie — and they will rely a committee of runners to do just that.
Isaiah Shim (5’9″, 175, ’19) is the type of back who can really work it in-between the tackles, while Prescott Wong (5’8″, 185, ’18) is a tough, old school runner who is tough to bring down.
While those two move the chains, Taylor and his staff are excited about what senior Riley Gill (5’6″, 150, ’17) will bring the table. He missed the entire season last fall due to a knee injury, but the coaches say he’s electric with the ball in his hands and he’s a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Whichever quarterback wins the battle to start, he will have a talented group of receivers to target.
Seniors Alex Taylor (5’10”, 170, ’17), Kai Kang (5’11”, 170, ’17) and Bradley Kim (5’11”, 205, ’17), who will handle the slot, are all solid receivers and the coaches really like what junior Luke Stiles (6’0″, 160, ’18) has to offer as well.
While Skyline has a lot of talent at the “skill” positions, what sets them apart is their line and the leaders up front are seniors OL/DL Henry Bainivalu (6’6″, 290, ’17) and OL/DL Matt Oss (6’0″, 215, ’17) and junior OL/DL Matt Cindric (6’4″, 255, ’18).
Bainivalu is a dominant left tackle while Cindric will man the right side.
Oss might be the most underrated linemen in the state. He’s strong and smart and he makes all of the calls up front.
Along the defensive line, Oss holds down the nose tackle spot while Bainivalu and Cindric are the defensive ends.
The linebackers are led by Caleb Johnston (6’0″, 220, ’17) from his middle linebacker spot while Alex Diegel (6’2″, 210, ’17) and Jack McCarthy (5’10”, 185, ’17) are on the outside.
Diegel is outstanding in coverage while Johnston and McCarthy are hard-hitters who are strong against the run.
The safeties will be Kim and Stiles while Kang will man one of the corner spots.
The other corner position will be a battle camp among several young players.
Evan Alexander (6’1″, 185, ’18) is a key backup at safety as well.
The Bottom Line: Taylor has the Spartan train rolling right along and this year they have the size and talent along the offensive and defensive lines to be tough against whomever they face. The Kingco 4A is always a dogfight, so they will be tested this fall, but if they figure out the quarterback position and stay healthy, they have a very good shot at playing for the state title in the first week of December.
@ Gonzaga Prep (9/9)
@ Bothell (10/6)
@ Woodinville (10/21)