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M-P hopes to repeat; MG building on huge sophomore class
Marysville Getchell practices a passing drill. MG plays its first game on the road at Auburn Riverside Thursday, Sept. 4.
Friday Night Lights will be showing in Marysville, Arlington and Lakewood starting Sept. 5 as the high schools in those communities begin their football seasons.
The sequels to last year will be tough to match at Lakewood and Marysville-Pilchuck as they both went undefeated, but lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
Arlington is moving down from 4A to 3A and will be in the same league as M-P and Marysville Getchell, adding to the importance of the local rivalries.
Arlington also will be playing in a stadium with a new turf field, adding to the excitement in that community.
MG is in its fourth year with a football team, so this senior class is the first one to have played together their entire high school career. The best may be yet to come as that squad boasts 34 sophomores turning out.
MG has 21 returning lettermen from a squad that went 5-5 again last year.
Coach Davis Lura said the community has been very supportive as the team started from scratch when the school opened four years ago after breaking away from Marysville-Pilchuck.
"The community has been great," he said, adding the squad was 0-10 its first year, followed by a 5-5 season.
Davis said the middle school and youth football programs have helped MG with its early success. They "help make our job easier" Davis said.
The coach said he expects M-P, Arlington and Oak Harbor to be the teams to beat this season.
Lura is optimistic because of the large number of returnees and a bunch of newcomers who is predicts will make a big difference.
Top players he has back include: defensive end John Clark, who is being looked at by Pac-12 schools; quarterback Taylor Koellemer; and sophomore Collin Montez at tailback and rover. He said Montez is one of the best athletes he has ever seen, and he's only 14. He was a standout in all major sports last year as a freshman. He can sprint the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.
"He's strong, and he can jump out of the gym," the coach said, adding Montez will have plenty of lanes to run in as MG runs a spread offense.
Also back for Lura are: Justin Cook, Brendan Hofmann, Bret Engelman, Troy Woodruff, Kyle Pinca, Jesus Echevarria Jr. and Gage Thomas.
M-P was a high-scoring machine last year, and it should be again this year, only instead of through the air it will be on the ground.
M-P did give up some points last year, however, but Coach Brandon Carson expects the team to be better defensively this season. He returns four starters on offense and four on defense.
With all-state running back Austin Joyner returning, along with Drew Hatch, Nick Alonso and Bryce Vitcovich, the offense likely will score a lot. All are seniors. Joyner is 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds; Vitcovich is a 6-4 240 pound tight end and defensive lineman; Alonso is a 5-10 165 pound running and defensive back; and Hatch is a 6-2 200 pound wide receiver-linebacker.
Carson is also expecting a lot from returners Killian Page and Corbin Ferry.Page is a 5-10 185 pound running and defensive back and Ferry is a 6-0 215 pound offensive and defensive lineman.
The big question on the team will be who will play quarterback?
"We don't know yet," Carson said. "We'll see how the personnel develops."
Whoever plays QB will have a lot of weapons.
"We have a handful of skill guys. We're going to look at different ways to get them the ball," Carson said.
Newcomers who are looking good in the weight room are Tyler McDonald and lineman Keenan Darby, he added.
Carson expects Arlington and Oak Harbor to be tough, but his team's goal is to repeat as league champs. Carson is 55-20 over seven years, and his teams have gone to the playoffs six times.
"It will take hard work and maybe a little luck but we can get there," he said.