LAKEWOOD – They played rock, paper, scissors; one-hand touch; and 7 on 7 without pads, but this contest was not for kids.
Some of the best high school athletes in the state competed last Saturday in the 12th Annual Cougars Championship Passing Tournament at Lakewood High School.
Seventeen teams, including host Lakewood and nearby Arlington, took part. Both local teams advanced to the quarterfinals.
Quarterback Sam Huard led Kennedy Catholic to the title with a 52-35 win over Bothell. The son of former UW and NFL quarterback Damon Huard is the nation’s top-ranked quarterback for 2021. Like his dad the lefty will play for the Huskies.
“Talent all over the place and quality programs,” said LHS coach Dan Teeter, who organized the event. “… It does definitely bring some prestige to it…”
In round-robin games, Lakewood played Ballard, Kentwood and Oak Harbor, while Arlington played Lake Stevens, Inglemoor and King’s. Pool-play results were used to seed teams for the single-elimination finale.
In the quarterfinals, Bothell beat Arlington 45-21 and Lakewood fell in a heart-breaker to North Creek 14-13. Kennedy Catholic defeated King’s 45-21, and Lincoln also won. In the semifinals, Kennedy Catholic topped Lincoln 31-24, and Bothell defeated North Creek 24-7.
Lakewood is the only local school returning its starting QB, Jared Taylor. It showed in the passing-only contest as the Cougars did well despite being one of the smallest schools in the tourney.
The Cougs came up one play short of going to the semifinals after Taylor hit Morgan Stacey for the game-trying TD at game’s end. An extra-point try that would have won it was ruled incomplete, and the game ended.
“It was intense and exciting,” Teeter said. “We were like, ‘We’re going for the win right now.’ … We would go for the win every time.”
Teeter added that his team played well overall.
“You want to be in a position where you’re in the game on the last play, which we were,” he said, “so I was really proud of how our guys competed all throughout the day against bigger schools.”
Taylor, who was first team all-conference last year, set a school record with 29 completions in a game.
“We did throw the ball around quite a bit, and we still have that ability, but we’re going to be bigger up front so we want to be more balanced,” Teeter said.
He said they wanted to run the ball more last year, but when two offensive lineman were injured, “We couldn’t move people off the ball so we had to pass.”
Cougar receivers who stood out at the tournament included Stacey and Brent Starkey, as expected. But Teeter said junior Carson Chrisman could be their go to guy this year.
“He’s had a fantastic offseason and summer,” Teeter said, adding he has sure hands and runs precise routes. Sophomore tight end Andy Malloy could be a surprise. “He won’t back down from anybody,” Teeter said.
On defense, he said Stacey also stood out, moving from safety to linebacker, along with another three-year starter, Jackson Schultz. The contests were played on fields 40 yards long and regulation 53.3 yards wide. They did rock, paper, scissors to see who got the ball first.
Games consisted of two 17-minute running-clock halves with the ball placed on the 40-yard line each possession. Players were ruled down by one-hand touch, and quarterbacks had four alligators to throw the ball. Lineman also got to compete at the event – five players in the bench press; two-man sled push and pull; five-man tire flip relay; six-man sled drive; five-man tug of war; and 4 by 100 meter relay. North Creek won the lineman challenge, but Lakewood was fourth, winning the tire flip contest. “That’s probably what we’re most proud of,” Teeter said.
Two sophomores stood out – Jayden Riley, who switched over from fullback, and Jakobus Seth, who started last year as a freshman.