From the Sidelines
The Bellevue sports blog
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Some quick snaps rom the point- and-shoot from the flight…
More to come…
That’s the slogan. Photographer Chad Coleman and I have arrived here in Houston and are currently basking in the air conditioning of our gracious host. The weather here is overcast, around 81 degrees and, obviously, humid.
Tomorrow, we head out for Katy for a day talking with the locals, meeting with the Katy Times and checking out Rhodes Stadium.
For now, we’re off to have some authentic Texas BBQ. Life on the road.
…to all. We’re sitting here waiting for the first leg of our trip to Houston and our journey to Katy.
While the Wolverines don’t kick off until Saturday, there’s a whole bunch of action the next two nights with volleyball and soccer getting underway. Keep checking out our Web site for the latest updates.
Last week was a good week prediction-wise for the Reporter sports writers. Issaquah sports writer Kevin Endejan went 11-3, while your blog master here went 13-1. Here’s a look at the upcoming games this week, highlighted by the Bellevue-Katy matchup that myself and photographer Chad Coleman will be heading to this weekend.
Week 2 picks
Ballard (0-1) vs. Skyline (1-0)
Kevin: Skyline started to find its groove in the second half of last week’s game against Jesuit. Expect them to continue to roll with ease. Starters sit after first half. Pick: Skyline55-0
Joel: Spartans light up the Beavers. Pick: Skyline45-0
Garfield (1-0) vs. Inglemoor (0-1)
Kevin: Garfield skated by Franklin last week. Don’t expect the same against a much more physical Inglemoor squad. Pick: Inglemoor 35-7.
Joel: Coach Frank Naish will have Inglemoor ready after last weeks loss. Pick: Inglemoor: 23-14
Eastlake (1-0) vs. Lake Washington (0-1)
Kevin: Eastlake simply has too much offensive firepower for the Kangs to handle. Pick: Eastlake 42-7.
Joel: The Wolves beat up on Ray Robert’s Kirkland crew. Pick: Eastlake: 33-10
Mount Si (0-1) vs. Issaquah (0-1)
Kevin: Eagle quarterback Ryan Bergman started to find a groove late in last week’s loss to Bothell. Mount Si, which is allowing Issaquah to play all its home games at their field this season, will be out to protect its home turf. Pick: Issaquah 28-14.
Joel: I’m going to go the other way on this on. While Issaquah will come out much improved from last week, I think Mount Si sneaks past them in the upset of the week. Pick: Mount Si21-17
Mercer Island (1-0) vs. Newport (0-1)
Kevin: Newport is hungry after letting one slip away late against Woodinville last week. Mercer Island is still young and inexperienced. Pick: Newport 28-7.
Joel: After the Knights let a bad quarter knock them out of last week’s game against Woodinville, expect Newport to come out fired up. Pick: Newport 35-0
Redmond (0-1) vs. Juanita (1-0)
Kevin: Redmond is playing in front of its home crowd for the first time this season. Juanita is soaring high after opening its season with a win over Inglemoor. Tough call. Pick: Juanita 24-20
Joel: There’s no doubt in my mind that Juanita wins this one convincingly. Pick: Juanita 42-21
Bothell (1-0) vs. O’Dea (1-0)
Kevin: Bothell looked sharp in its opener against Issaquah. O’Dea is tough, but the Cougars always perform well at home. Pick: Bothell 35-20
Joel: How tough is it to play at Pop Keeney? Very. Irish and running back Keenan Forch will put up a few points, but won’t overcome the Bothell crowd. Pick: Bothell 33-21
Roosevelt (0-1) vs. Sammamish (1-0)
Kevin: Sammamish is a revived team that is riding on the momentum of a shutout of Chief Sealth. Roosevelt’s losses at the skill positions have hurt the Rough Riders early on. Pick: Sammamish 21-7
Joel: No reason to doubt that the Totems come out with any less intensity than last week. This one will be a better barometer of their improvement than last week. Pick: Sammamish 14-0
Woodinville (1-0) vs. Liberty (1-0)
Kevin: Woodinville looked sharp against Newport in its opener. Liberty shut out an inexperienced Ballard team, and is expected to contend for the KingCo 3A title. Pick: Woodinville 28-21
Joel: I watched Woodinville in person last week, and while their young quarterback Brett Arrivey looked sharp, he’ll be facing a hungry Liberty defense. Look for Trey Wheeler to have a great game at QB for the Patriots as they knock off a KingCo 4A foe. Pick: Liberty31-20
Yelm (1-0) vs. Interlake (1-0)
Kevin: It’s a long road trip for the Saints, but nothing they shouldn’t be able to overcome. Interlake’s high-powered offense rolls. Pick: Interlake 42-24
Joel: Last year’s game was wild and I expect nothing different. Look for Interlake’s Matt Malos to do the usual – toss at least four touchdowns and run another in. Pick: Interlake55-45
Other games of interest
Eastside Catholic (0-1) vs. Archbishop Murphy (1-0)
Kevin: Jason Gesser will be pumped to lead the Crusaders into their first home game of the season. Archbishop Murphy is a top contender for a 2A state title. It will be a hard-fought game, but experience will win out in the end. Pick: Archbishop Murphy 28-16.
Joel:I see Archbishop Murphy knocking off the 3A Crusaders in this one. Pick: Archbishop Murphy21-20
And without further ado, I saved the game of the week for last-
Bellevue (1-0) at Katy High School (1-1), Texas
Kevin: Katy is coming off a rare loss, and will no doubt be fired up. Bellevue is about to step into an environment unlike any they’ve ever seen. The Wolverine Wing-T will put forth a good showing, but come up short. Pick: Katy 28-20
Joel: As you no doubt no, I’ve written extensively about this game, so I’ll make this short and sweet: you can’t simulate the Wolverine’s Wing-T. I smell a Washington upset. Pick: Bellevue 14-10
Edited to reflect the Interlake game change. The Saints, initially scheduled to play Ingraham, will host Hazen at 7 p.m. tonight
We’re going to debut a new feature this week, and its coming with a little help from Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter sports writer Kevin Endejan .
Combined, Kevin and I cover seven of KingCo 4A and KingCo 3A/2A’s 20 teams. We’ve seen every KingCo football team in action, and have been lucky enough to have covered the state champions every year we’ve worked for the Reporters.
With that in mind, we’re going to be having a little competition. Each week, Kevin and I will take a stab at guessing the winners of each game on the schedule in KingCo, as well as a few of the other high-profile games in the state that week. We’ll keep track of our record, and at the end of the season, we’ll see who sports the best record.
Feel free to post your own predictions in the comments. And remember, this is purely our best guess at who will win based on what we’ve seen from the teams; it has nothing to do with “wanting” any team to win.
Without further ado, here’s the week 1 matchups and our picks.
Week 1 picks
Earl Marriott, Surrey, B.C. (0-0) at Bellevue (0-0)
Joel – The Wolverines are loaded again this season. Bellevue wins this one going away. Pick: Bellevue42-0
Kevin – Bellevue looks as strong as ever. The Wolverines should dominate their foes from north of the border. Pick: Bellevue 42-14
Juanita (0-0) at Inglemoor (0-0)
Joel – Juanita looks to be a top-10 team in 3A this season. They start out strong. Pick: Juanita17-15
Kevin – Hopes are high for the Juanita team this year. That being said, Inglemoor pulls an early-season upset. Pick: Inglemoor 21-20
Mount Si (0-0) at Eastlake (0-0)
Joel – New season, same result. Pick: Eastlake 37-20
Kevin – Eastlake will be in the hunt from the No. 2 spot in the KingCo Crest. Too much firepower for the Wildcats. Pick: Eastlake 35-7
Mercer Island (0-0) at Lake Washington (0-0)
Joel – Ray Roberts and the Kangs have had a tough couple years. It doesn’t get better tonight. Pick: Mercer Island 28-7
Kevin – Islanders are headed in the right direction under new coach Brett Ogata. They get off to a hot start. Pick: Mercer Island 24-14
Ballard (0-0) at Liberty (0-0)
Joel – Watch for Liberty QB Trey Wheeler to light up the Beavers defense. Pick: Liberty 33-14
Kevin – Liberty is a dangerous team in the KingCo 3A behind QB Trey Wheeler. Pick:Liberty 35-14
Hazen (0-0) at Interlake (0-0)
Joel – Saints put on a offensive display last year in the opening game. With all 11 starters back, I expect nothing different. Pick: Interlake24-14
Kevin – Interlake returns too much firepower to the field. Pick: Interlake 35-0
Chief Sealth (0-0) at Sammamish (0-0)
Joel – Totems should come fired up in coach Brian Tucci’s first game against Seahawks who went winless in ’08. Pick: Sammamish 21-7
Kevin – Sammamish looks like they’re turning things around under new leadership. Pick: Sammamish 28-14
Woodinville (0-0) at Newport (0-0)
Joel – This is where I’ll be Friday night. Newport has weapons, but Woodinville is coming in with big expectations. Pick: Woodinville 28-21
Kevin – Woodinville returns a large defensive line, built to stop the run. Doesn’t bode well for Newport. Pick: Woodinville 28-7
Rainier Beach (0-0) at Roosevelt (0-0)
Joel – Rainier Beach has the athletes to make a run this season. Pick: Rainier Beach 21-0
Kevin – Roosevelt lost a huge chunk of its roster from 2008. Rainier Beach returns more experience. Pick: Rainier Beach 24-16
Bothell (0-0) vs. Issaquah (0-0)
Joel – This is the one I wish I could be at. Fantastic game, but I see Bothell coming out on top in a close one at Qwest Field. Pick: Bothell14-10
Kevin – Issaquah beat Bothell twice last season. The Cougars are determined, but Issaquah knows how to win close games. Pick: Issaquah 24-21
Redmond (0-0) at Prosser (0-0)
Joel – The 2A runners up take this one again. Pick: Prosser42-28
Kevin – Too much firepower on Prosser’s side. Not to mention they’re playing at home. Pick: Prosser 35-20.
Franklin (0-0) at Garfield (0-0)
Joel – Tony Wroten’s debut as a wide receiver/safety for the Bulldogs. Pick: Franklin 14-0
Kevin – Tony Wroten can’t dunk a football. Pick Franklin 28-7
Jesuit (0-0) vs. Skyline (0-0)
Kevin – The Spartans have shut out opponents the last two seasons in their opening game. Streak breaks this year, but they still win. PIck: Skyline 28-7
Joel – Until someone proves Skyline can be toppled, I have to take them. Pick: Skyline29-24
Other games of interest
Eastside Catholic (0-0) at Olympic (0-0)
Kevin – Eastside Catholic has revamped its roster and a new energetic coach. The question is, can they stop one of the top backs in the state in Larry Dixon? Pick Olympic 16-14.
Joel – Jason Gesser’s first game as coach. Crusaders should be well-coached on offense if nothing else, but Dixon is an absolute beast. Pick: Olympic 21-10
New Sammamish coach Brian Tucci is excited.
Seriously. Really, really excited.
When I went out to the Totems practice for this story on the Sammamish team, it was impossible to ignore the excitement Tucci, a former offensive guard at Western Washington and WSU, has for taking over as head coach from Edd Webb.
As a result, I ended up with loads of extra info that didn’t make the article. But for you Totems fans, here’s a look at some of the other thoughts from Tucci.
On changing the culture: “Coming from Woodinville, we had an acceptable, excellent way of doing things, and that’s what we want to establish here. You’re only wearing school colors at practice. When you’re walking around school, you’re in football attire. On Friday nights, we’re wearing game jerseys and jeans. When you come to a meeting, you bring a pen ready to learn something new, and you wear Totem gear because that’s the team you are a part of and you need to show that pride and honor in the program.”
On filling in as head coach last season for the Bellevue game, a 38-0 loss. “I would have preferred to not have started the Bellevue game as the start of my head coaching career (laughs).
On transitioning from assistant to head coach, and the numbers at Sammamish“I’ve been around successful programs. When I came in last year and saw the way Sammamish…I saw a bunch of things that we could wrap the kids around and say ‘this is what football’s about, this is what you want to do, this is the way you approach it’. Once I was able to do that as a head coach, we’ve taken off.
“We have 30 more kids out than we did at the end of last season. We’re close to doubling our numbers from last year. It’s the first thing we can hang our hat on – we can say we have more people out playing and kids interested in the game’.
On QB Nick Hartigan, after Sammamish used five QB’s (including Hartigan) last season: “It’s been his job to lose since the beginning of it and he’s shown a lot of pride and leadership in taking that position on. We are really sticking behind one guy and dedicating to that; we’re not going to roll through the thing like we did last season.”
On the new offense:“Last year we had that big spread offense. Last year, we had that open passing offense which was difficult with the players that we had. So we looked at the players we’ve got and built an offense around those guys. Something fluid enough where, if we had a true passing quarterback, we could adjust to that. We want to take advantage of the fact that we have a lot of good skilled athletes out here and a smaller offensive line.”
On RB Zach Erickson: “His short stockiness allows him to get deceptive behind the offensive line. You can’t really see him because of his shortness. He’s not seen by linebackers quickly, so it will allow him to hit the hole quicker.”
On junior captain Taylor Ragan: “Leadership-wise, the way he commands himself in the presence of the team…he was the first person picked for captain, outright, by everybody. Being the junior that he is, it’s great to have younger leadership in the group. He pushes the players to play harder than they think they can. He pushes himself.”
On losing center Cameron Akana to graduation: “Having Cameron here as a volunteer coach is huge. All the older guys see him and respect him for all the things he went through as a senior, and all the different coaching changes he’s had. He’s well-respected and he’s working with the freshman. It helps having that family atmosphere and it bonds the team together. It provides that safety that the freshman need, that supportiveness off the field.”
On the defense“It worked in parallel with the offense. Last year, it sped up the tempo of the game. Game’s can get out of control real quick when you are stopping the clock yourself on incomplete passes. We’re switching form a 4-3, to a 3-4 defense this year….we have a lot of guys that can run; getting those linebackers out in space and letting them chase guys down, that helps them a lot more than limiting them in a 4-3.”
On LB/K Chris Lider: “You don’t see that combination too much. His athleticism, especially being the great soccer player that he is, we get him out there and let him run and make tackles. He’s a fearless guy.”
On newcomer, senior DL Zach King:“He’s more of a raw talent, but his sheer athleticism makes him a playmaker. He comes off tackles really well and he flows to the ball. In basketball, you’re always moving, always going in different directions and that transfers to football.”
On setting realistic goals:“Last year going 1-8, we think going .500 is a realistic goal. Being competitive in every game and going .500 are things we really want to accomplish this year. I want to be playing our first team against their first team with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. That’s not selling them sort, that is something that is achievable.”
On rebuilding the program:“I lot of people ask me about rebuilding a program. I don’t like the phrase because that means ditching the seniors, and playing the sophomores and juniors. We’ve got a great core of senior guys here and we want to utilize them. We’re not really rebuilding, we’re just moving in a greater direction than in the past.”
Finally, on how long he will stay, since the school has seen plenty of turnover:“That was the second question in the interview (laughs). It works out great for me work-wise and family wise. I’ve got a young boy who just turned five…eventually I’d like to coach my son but I’ve got plenty of time for that. I’m definitely committed to a 4-to-5 year thing about getting in the right direction. I’m not going to leave until I feel the program is back to where it rightfully should be – being competitive and winning games in KingCo. I want to be competitive with Bellevue and finish in the top-two in KingCo.”
We ran this story yesterday, a preview of the Saints upcoming season.
Coach Sheldon Cross couldn’t be more excited for this season, as the Saints hope to return to the 2A state playoffs; looking at the makeup of the squad, you can’t doubt they have the offensive firepower. An offense that averaged more than 28 points per game returns all 11 starters.
Everyone knows the Saints, led by RB Brett Kirschner, WR Dylan Amell and QB Matt Malos, can score. The real question is can the defense, which lost pieces, stop the top offenses in KingCo throughout the regular season.
The Saints were on the opposite end of some lopsided scores last season once they got into conference play:
49-18 loss to Juanita
40-12 loss to Liberty
56-14 loss to Bellevue
Interlake, a 2A team, should not by any means be embarrassed by losing to the top-tier 3A programs. But Cross doesn’t just want the Saints to eek their way through the season to the playoffs.
*Another interesting facet will be to watch Interlake’s non-conference games. As a 2A school in a 3A conference, they’re the Notre Dame of high school teams. They need to win to reach the postseason.
Their preseason games come against Ingraham (Sept. 4), Yelm (Sept. 11) and Mount Rainier (Oct. 30). Those three games will be practically must-wins for the Saints to reach the playoffs.
*I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that during the practice I attended, Amell went down with an ankle injury. Cross said at the time he didn’t think the injury was serious, but if its anything that will cause Amell, who shattered numerous KingCo records last season, out for any extended amount of time, the Saints lose a huge part of their offense.
*Brett Kirschner has been looked at by just about every Pac-10 school there is, but said he has an offer on the table from the Air Force Academy as of now. He said he soon expects offers from Hawaii and Washington State, but was adamant about where he hoped to play.
“I just want to play in the Pac-10,” Kirschner said.
Eric Block, a Bellevue grad who led the Wolverines to two state championships, is currently a sophomore safety at Washington State University. The Seattle Times Bud Withers had this story about Block and his battle with ulcerative colitis, a disease of the large intestine.
The disease, Withers writes, had Block down to 165-pounds at one point last year, where no Pac-10 safety should be.