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Arlington, Lakewood, Tulalip strap helmets on for season
Lakewood's football team listens to instructions before the start of practice.
Arlington wants to get back on a winning track, Lakewood wants to get back into the state playoffs, and Tulalip is happy with its numbers as the high school football season gets under way.
Arlington football coach Greg Dailer has one goal — win the Wesco 3A North.
Last season, Arlington competed at the 4A level, finishing with a 5-5 season, but Dailer said the Wesco 3A will be just as tough. “The competition is good if not more difficult,” Dailer said.
Marysville-Pilchuck, Oak Harbor and Marysville Getchell are just some of the schools the Eagles will have to compete against.
“Oak Harbor is not too far removed becoming state champions,” Dailer said. “And Getchell is up-and-coming.”
Letting go of standout receiver Max Gray and a senior-heavy defensive line, Arlington will be filling those holes this season. Two players to watch will be junior Noah Andal, who will play receiver and quarterback, and senior running back Alex Hayward.
Arlington will be playing on turf, which replaces the old grass field. “We’re not the biggest team so that muddy field was not advantageous for us,” Dailer said.
Though playing on the beat up and slippery grass was problematic last season, Dailer said it had no impact on the teams performance.
“We could’ve won some of those home games,” Dailer said. “We just didn’t execute real well at times, but it wasn’t a bad year.”
The Eagles will resume running a spread option in the gun on offense, and a 3-4 defense, Dailer said.
The Lakewood Cougars are looking to defend their league title and make a run in the 2A state tournament. After finishing a perfect regular season last year, Lakewood fell short in the state tournament losing a first round game to Sehome 35-13. The Cougars overall record was 9-1.
“We are fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive community to play in front of that brings great energy to our home games, and travels well to away games,” Lakewood head coach Dan Teeter said. Lakewood looks to go a little further this season with the returning senior talent: Blake Watts at strong safety, Paulmer Gregory at running back, Brett Bustad at wide receiver and defensive back and Alec Burbee on offensive and defensive line.
The Cougars will also implement some key starters with junior running back and linebacker Tyler Courtney, senior offensive and defensive lineman Andrew Schafer, senior wide receiver and defensive back Drake Chaves and junior wide receiver and defensive back Josh Dickey.
Teeter said the defense will stay a 3-4 scheme and the offense will remain a multiple spread. He said King’s, Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest will “be the top competition” this year.
Tulalip Heritage has nine returning lettermen, including all-league running back and linebacker Robert Miles Jr.
“We expect to throw a lot more this season,” Coach Jim Kavaney said, citing quarterback Aryk Miranda and receivers Dontae Jones and Trevor Fryberg, as well as fullback Willy Enick and linemen Bobby Jeter, Nate Williams, Anthony McLean and Domingo Rabang.
“Aryk has the ability to be as good a quarterback as any,” Kavaney said.
Transfer senior Jessie Louie will play fullback and linebacker.
Two other newcomers are Tim Hill, a freshman whom Kavaney credited with doing well at camp, and sophomore Braxton Lake.
Since this is only Tulalip Heritage’s fourth year of league play, it’s the first year they’ve been able to benefit from fully seasoned players.
The only problem is that a number of our players won’t be eligible for the initial games of the season, for academic and other reasons.
“Bobby hurt his foot, so he won’t be able to play for our first three games,” Kavaney said.