MARYSVILLE — Football has always been a part of Austin Joyner’s life.
“I’ve been playing football since I could,” he said.
He began the sport at age 5; he had two older brothers who also played. He’s always been surrounded by the sport. Joyner has achieved a lot playing the game, and now is finishing his senior year for Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
He has aspirations to keep playing ball. “I want to be in the NFL,” he said.
Joyner’s talent is seen on offense, where he plays running back, and defense, where he plays defensive back. In his junior year Joyner scored 21 touchdowns and ran for 1,511 yards, but also proved to be a defensive prospect as well.
Joyner sees himself as a natural talent, but does put in his time practicing on the field and in the weight room. “It’s natural to an extent,” Joyner said. “I work really hard in the offseason and in practice. What you see isn’t just God’s gift.”
The forward-thinking, self-driven Joyner would prefer to play cornerback in the future. He observed the long-term effects of running backs’ post careers. He wants to be able to walk later in life without the adverse injuries sustained being beaten up carrying the ball. “I always knew I was good at defense, and it fits my personal needs,” he said.
The Washington State University-bound athlete still has the opportunity to play both offense and defense. “They were one of the schools that offered me to play both ways,” he said.
Watch for No. 5 on the field during the game against Lake Stevens Friday, Sept. 12.
“It’s going to be a really big game,” Joyner said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
M-P’s game last night against Kamiak was too late for deadline, but go online at www.marysvilleglobe.com for results.
M-P at Lake Stevens
The Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks may have had it easy when they encountered Lake Stevens early last season. That’s because the Vikings’ top receiver, Tevin Gray, was recovering from a hamstring injury from summer training.
M-P topped Lake Stevens 37-24 early last season.
But it maybe a harder game for the Tomahawks come Friday Sept. 12. Gray finished his, 2013 season with 61 catches and 11 touchdowns. As a healthy senior, Gray runs a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and will be a versatile offensive threat, forecasted to carry and receive the ball by Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri.
Jackson at MG
It’s not easy being the fledging sports program on the block, and it doesn’t get easier when that team has to square off with a bigger school. Wesco 3A Marysville Getchell High School, entering only its fourth year of athletics, will have to play legendary powerhouse Jackson, a Wesco 4A team, Friday, Sept 12.
Last season, MG fell to Jackson 51-24 late in the 2013 season.
Jackson will return senior quarterback Alex Cheesman and senior receiver Keynan Foster in the Timberwolves’ traditional spread offense — a formation popularized by Jackson in 2008.
Eagles at Snohomish
If Snohomish mirrors its last season’s performance, then the Arlington Eagles will have no problem with the Panthers, Friday, Sept. 12. Snohomish was only 1-9 overall last season with its new head coach Kai Smalley, and were shut out by Arlington 17-0.
But the Panthers will return some key players who have worked hard during the offseason, Smalley said. They include: Senior offensive and defensive linemen Nathan Jacobson and Alex Fairhurst. Others to watch for include: senior running and defensive backs Connor Browne and Boomer Vuori, and senior wide receiver and safety Aiden Kutsch.
Lynden at Lakewood
Lakewood has the burden of playing the three-time defending state champs Lynden, Friday, Sept. 12.
Like Lakewood, Lynden went undefeated in the regular season last year, then went all the way taking its third-consecutive state title.
The Cougars will have the home field.
Lynden’s returning, senior safety, Lucas Petersen, is just one of the defensive obstacles Lakewood will have to be mindful of.
MARYSVILLE — The only local football action last week was Marysville-Pilchuck High School hosting Lakewood and Cascade high schools at QuilCeda Stadium in a jamboree.
The field was divided in half and had the three schools junior varsity and varsity squads compete in scrimmages.
The jamboree Aug. 27 allowed the three teams to assess different schemes and take a break from inter-school practices before the start of the regular season.
“The reason we do jamboree is just to have our teams take a different look at other teams,” Marysville-Pilchuck head coach Brandon Carson said.
“It’s just about playing football.”
“It’s fun to go compete against someone that isn’t your own team,” Lakewood head coach Dan Teeter said.
“It’s also a fun opportunity for us to play some of the bigger schools around here that we don’t get to see on our schedule,” the coach added.