MOSES LAKE — The East-West All-State Football Game has been played for nearly 50 years by the best high school seniors in the state. And this year, four of those players hailed from Marysville.
Marysville Getchell’s Zander Seymer and Marysville-Pilchuck’s Kyle Nobach, Iggy Gabov and Jordan Hoorn were chosen from among hundreds of Western Washington players to represent their schools, their communities and the Western Conference at the Summer Classic in Moses Lake on Friday, June 21.
Coached by Lake Stevens’ Tom Tri, the players spent the week prior to the game getting acquainted with their teammates, though since more than half of the West’s roster came from Wesco, some introductions weren’t necessary.
“Each area has different kinds of personalities and it was fun to get to know them,” said Seymer. “Creating new friendships with the other players was great. I’ve played against them for years and you always hear the big names in the paper or just by word of mouth. I knew about some guys that I never had the opportunity to meet, so coming to this game and getting to know them was awesome.”
His fellow Marysville players agreed.
“It was awesome to be there,” said Hoorn. “We know a bunch of people from around Wesco, so the team was really bonded. We knew each other for a few days, but it felt like we had been a team for a few seasons.”
Gabov agreed that it was nice to put away former rivalries and use skills that would have been intimidating during the regular season to their advantage.
“Actually, it was a great experience because you always hear about other Wesco kids — which teams have good tight ends or good tackles — and it was kind of nice to see that we all came together,” he said. “We’d be like, ‘Man, you’re from Stanwood. I heard about you.’ And hearing about other kids during school, it was great — kind of my dream — to play in an All-State game with them.”
Ultimately, the West team was defeated by the East, with a 38-21 final score.
Nobach, who caught a touchdown pass during the game, said he was happy to spend his last high school competition with players he knew so well.
“I think it was really cool to play with Jordan,” he said. “I’ve grown up playing football with him my whole entire life. We played together at varsity for three years now, same with Iggy. It really shows that M-P was a pretty big powerhouse this year to be able to send three players for the All-State game.”
All three boys admitted feeling honored that they were chosen for their skill on the field to represent their schools.
“I was so happy, that’s a huge honor,” said Seymer. “Out of every single person in the west that plays football — to even be thought of at all is an honor. I am glad I got the opportunity to play in the game.”
Gabov, who moved to the United States from Russia during middle school joined the football team immediately.
“Believe it or not, I was a twig at the beginning of my journey,” he said. “I had to train myself in the weight room and outside of football, and make myself bigger and get the technique down. Football is an American thing, but the language barrier wasn’t that bad. They just said, ‘Iggy go get ‘em’, so that’s what I did.”
His strength on the football field will serve him well in the next part of his life, as a member of the United States Marine Corps.
“Honestly, I like football because it challenges me to be great,” he said. “I was looking for the next challenge. Since I always wanted to do some sort of military service, I chose the Marine Corps because it offered me that challenge — to bring me to another level. It’s going to help me see other countries and experience different places, and hopefully learn from it.”
Nobach will be competing as a college-level athlete, though not on the football field.
“I’ll be playing baseball at Everett Community College, and I will do all of my pre-requisites to transfer to a four-year university where I can play baseball,” he said.
He may see Seymer there as well, since he is still undecided between attending EvCC for two years before transferring, or going straight to Central Washington University.
“I’m still choosing between Central and EvCC, but I’d be playing football for either one,” he said.
Hoorn will be on the field for Washington State University, but this time it won’t be football.
“I’m planning to go to WSU and play some rugby,” he said. “I will definitely stay active. I wanted to play rugby because it’s a close translation to football. I was thinking about walking on to the football team, but I need a year off to recoup, I think.”
No matter where their paths take them, the four boys will remember the last game of high school ball that they played, together representing the Marysville community, in Moses Lake.
“I thought it was really cool to watch the level of talent that we had,” said Hoorn. “It was pretty crazy the level of talent on our team. We had a guy who was 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds. Just the strength in them was cool to watch. It was great to see people I know personally go out and showcase their skills and show everybody what Marysville is all about.”
Seymer was proud to be one of the first Chargers on an All-State roster.
“Without my teammates and coaches at MG, I wouldn’t be where I am,” said Seymer. “They gave me the opportunity to show my ability to catch a football and make plays. And it’s the same with the M-P kids in the West game. Us being rivals and setting that aside and having fun together — that was a cool experience I will never forget.”
Gabov gave credit to his school’s coaching staff for all of their hard work to help players like him succeed.
“The M-P coaching staff were really able to help kids find out who they are,” he said. “I really like how they teach kids the fundamentals and they make sure they don’t forget. When it’s game time, you feel like you’ve been doing it all your life.”
Nobach isn’t surprised that the All-State game included so many Marysville players.
“I would say that Marysville has the best program caring for their kids,” he said. “They are really close with everybody, they don’t play favorites and they want everyone to get better. My four years playing high school sports was the most memorable thing in my life and I will cherish these moments forever.”