Five Key Players
QB/DL Amandre Williams (6’3″ 225, ’16) – Williams projects as a defensive end, and his future is very bright there. This season he adds quarterback to his duties, and he has had a tremendous offseason preparing. Williams is a duel-threat offensively, as he has the ability to run, and also has big time arm strength. He was All-League last season on the defensive line, and has All-State potential.
OL/DL Michael Clausen (6’1″ 215, ’16) – Clausen has a non-stop motor, and brings it on every play. Some may consider him to be undersized for his positions, but you can’t measure heart, and Clausen has plenty to go around. He teams with Williams to create one of the top DE combos in the state. Like Williams, he was a defensive All-League member last season .
OL/DL Kingston Suka (6’1″ 270, ’15) – Suka is athletic for his size, and is considered to be the line anchor of both sides of the ball. He and Clausen form a strong left side of the offensive line, and he also mans the nose of Tahoma’s 3-4 defense. Suka was a second team All-SPSL last season at Center.
LB Blake Donohue (5’10” 180, ’15) – Much like Clausen, Donohue is undersized, but more than makes up for it with his never-give-up mentality. He is the rock in the middle of the defense and was an All-League member last season.
ATH/DB Grant Amador (5’9″ 170, ’15) – Amador is considered to be the top two-way skill player, and he will see a lot of the field. He could line up at just about every offensive position, from Wildcat QB, to the Slot, and even some Runningback.
While rival Kentwood appears to be the favorite in new look SPSL Northeast, the Tahoma Bears look very capable of grabbing one of the other two possible round of 32 playoff spots.
Head coach Tony Davis is heading into his 21st season at the Maple Valley school, and has done a tremendous job, but is really going to have to do some of his best coaching for the Bears to make a run this season.
The Bears return just two starters on offense, five on defense, but have a plethora of young talent that should see field this coming season.
Offensively they will be lead by quarterback Amandre Williams, who takes over for three-year starter Shane Nelson who has graduated. Williams is a big presence that could help in both the running and passing game.
Where the Bears lose the most production offensively is at WR. DeShon Williams, Amandre’s brother, was All-State last year, but has graduated and moved on to Colorado State University-Pueblo, one of the top D2 programs in the country. They also lose Denham Patricelli, who was a first team All-SPSL North member on offense and defense last season.
To fill the void the Bears will go with Cole Peckham (’15), Austin Brown (’16), Jacob Kutch (’15) and Trevor Grinzel (’15). Grinzel is a big target at 6-foot-3 and about 180 pounds, while Brown may have the most upside. Tahoma had also planned on having OJ Jenkins, but he has since transferred to Mount Si.
If the offensive line can gel, the Bear could be tough. They are led by returning starters, both guards, Kingston Suka and Brody Sullivan (’15). The tackles will be Michael Clausen, left, and Nick Palandri (’15), right. At Center they will go with Zach White (6’1″ 280, ’16), who could be a big time player in the long run.
Runningback looks to be a shared responsibility, where Caleb Brown (’16) and Bryson Stubbles (’16) look as though they will both get carries. Another name to keep an eye on here is Grant Amador, as the Bears will find ways to get the ball in his hands.
The strength defensively looks to be the line, where they will go with Clausen, Suka and Williams, across their three-man front. All three could be All-League members this season, and for the Bears defense to be successful, they will have to create havoc inside.
With the graduation of Elijah Suka, the Bears lose a big time player at linebacker. Senior Blake Donohue looks ready to fill the void and improve on his honorable mention of last season. Along side Donohue in the middle will be Alex Habenicht, who is an intriguing prospect in the 2016 recruiting class.
Outside linebacker is another strong defensive spot for the Bears, who look ready to go with Bryson Stubbles and Jerome Woods, who was an All-League Honorable Mention last season. Another name to keep an eye on here is Tyson Cronin, who started two games last season before breaking a bone in his foot.
The defensive secondary should be stout with returning starters Aharon Lutgen (’15) and Cooper Larson (’15). Caleb Brown looks to be the starter opposite of Lutgen at corner, while Larson will be paired with Grant Amador at Safety.
The Bottom Line: Tony Davis is one of the most respected coaches in the state, and I fully expect him to have his team ready to go. If the Tahoma’s leadership can pull the younger players together, they could make a good run and get into the playoffs. To get there, they will have to stay healthy, as depth is one of the bigger concerns.
@ Federal Way 9/18
vs Kentwood 10/3
vs Kentlake 10/17