2012 Metro Mountain Division Football Preview

                                                                              Photo Credit: Eastside Catholic

After an offseason of workouts and training, Metro Mountain football season is set to start this Friday. The reigning champs are, once again, the O’Dea Fighting Irish. Despite their recent years of dominance, the rest of the Metro league is close on the Irish’s heels as shown by their narrow 21-20 victory over Seattle Prep in one of the most exciting games of last season. In the upcoming year, Prep as well as Eastside Catholic, look set to give O’Dea stiff competition for the Metro crown in a division that may sport as many as three top 10 teams in the state.

And now, the main event, the Pre-Season Metro Mountain Predictions:

1. Eastside Catholic

Last Year’s Record: 7-4

Predicted Regular Season Record: 8-0

Key Losses: RB/DB Chevy Walker, Nic Sotelo OL/DL, Joe Stoutt LB

Key Returners: QB Trey Reynolds, Sr., OL Christian Shigley, Sr., LB Zane Allen, Sr., CB Markell Sanders, Sr., DL David Hurdle, Sr., S Peter Kimble, Sr.

After years of O’Dea dominance and Seattle Prep’s recent return to prominence, Metro Mountain has become one of the most competitive divisions in the state. But in the 2012 season, it will belong to the Eastside Catholic Crusaders. With the Irish seeming poised to have a relative down year for their supremely high standards Eastside is in the perfect position to capitalize on O’Dea’s vulnerability. Returning 12 All Metro first and second team players, the Crusaders are stacked at every position. Yes the loss of top playmaker Chevy Walker will hurt, but the return of 3 year starter Trey Reynolds at quarterback will make EC’s high-flying spread offense incredibly tough to beat. The schedule aligns well for Eastside as well, as they avoid the always tough trip to Bainbridge island and play Seattle Prep at home as well.

2. O’Dea

Last Year’s Record: 13-1

Predicted Regular Season Record: 7-1

Key Losses: FB/LB Jomari Brooks, WR Kent McKinney, OL/DL Cody Fulleton, OL/DL Sam Flor, OL/DL David Dempsey, RB/CB Jayshawn Jordan

Key Returners: QB Pierre LeDorze, Jr., RB/WR/DB Tatum Taylor, Sr., LB Jack Oman, Sr., DE Bryan Carter, Sr., LB Evan Banchero, Sr.

Coming off of a loss to Bellevue in the State title game, O’Dea will be hungry to get back to the Tacoma Dome, but they must face a division that is out looking for revenge. After a pair of one point victories against Seattle Prep and Eastside Catholic last season, the Irish’s stranglehold on Metro appears to be loosening. The emergence of strong competition coupled with only five returning starters on both sides of the ball signals the end of dominating run for O’Dea. However, this does not mean that O’Dea will suddenly become a mediocre football team. With QB Pierre LeDorze returning for his second year as starting QB the offense should have more stability and consistency than last year, even with an unproven O-line. It also helps to return the reigning offensive co-MVP in the electric Tatum Taylor. As one of the most exciting players in the state, Taylor’s dizzying speed gives the Irish a threat to score on any given play. The defense this year, led by the fierce first team All-Metro linebacker Jack Oman, might be slightly more porous than in previous years with the loss of three starting linemen and defensive MVP Jayshawn Jordan. Overall, a down year for O’Dea will still mean a state berth and a top ten ranking all year long, but the rise of Eastside Catholic will see their Metro crown travel across the lake.

3. Seattle Prep

Last Year’s Record: 9-2

Predicted Regular Season Record: 6-2

Key Losses: QB Jackson Clough, FB/LB Jim Killeen, OL/DL Paul Pinkoske, TE/DL Jacob Green, LB Fletcher Collins, WR/DB Parker Mays, OL/LB Jack Bowers

Key Returners: RB/DB Tere Calloway, Sr., RB/LB Charlie Brennan, OL/LB Gill Biesold-McGee, Sr.

Last year the Seattle Prep Panthers made the state playoffs for the first time in more than two decades. An encore performance will be a much more difficult task. After losing 19 senior starters and their head coach DR Clawson, Prep must reload quickly to keep up with O’Dea and Eastside Catholic. The team is led by captains first team all-Metro running back Charlie Brennan and three year defensive starter Gill Biesold-McGee as well as the dynamic halfback/safety Tere Calloway. Calloway’s knack for the big hit and the big play has earned him national attention on the college level, receiving offers from school such as Syracuse, SMU and Nevada. It will be largely on his and Brennan’s shoulders to carry a ground and pound offense that has five new starters along the line. The defense, led by middle linebacker Biesold-McGee and safety Calloway, has a very strong starting unit, but lacks depth. Prep has the same problem on the offensive side of the ball as well. With 9 two-way starters, the Panthers will have a hard time keeping up with deeper teams like O’Dea and Eastside as the game goes on and fatigue sets in. Ultimately, a lack of experience and depth is what knocks Prep down a level from their two Metro rivals.

4. Bainbridge

Last Year’s Record: 5-5

Predicted Regular Season Record: 4-4

Key Losses: QB/CB Chris Bell, OL/DL Logan Dietrich, LB Nik Moore

Key Returners: Not available

Bainbridge looks headed for a second straight .500 seasons, after a few years of challenging for the Metro championship. A tough 2012 is on the cards after losing first team All-Metro QB Chris Bell as well as big man Logan Dietrich in the trenches. There are a lot of unknowns about Andy Grimm’s team heading into the season, but it is a guarantee that any team taking the ferry across the Sound will have a challenging game on their hands. The ability of Bell’s replacement will be crucial to the team’s success in their Wing-T offense.

5. Blanchet

Last Year’s Record: 5-5

Predicted Regular Season Record: 3-5

Key Losses: OL/LB Blair Henning, OL Stephen Finlon, LB/P Peter Johnson, TE Ted Parker

Key Returners: OL/DL John Kroom, Sr., OL/DL Andre Lino

Blanchet, stuck in the deepest of cellars of high school football, looks like it is slowly climbing its way out. After years of misery, defeat and losing records, the Braves were able to pull a .500 record last year, and the future continues to look bright. With an emphasis in the trenches, led by John Kroom and Andre Lino, Blanchet is building a culture that will help them stay more competitive this year, and will continue to improve the team in the future. Playing from the inside out, the Braves might not win a lot of games this year, but they will not be the walk in the park that they were of seasons past.

All-Metro First Team Offense

QB: Trey Reynolds, Sr. Eastside Catholic

RB: Tatum Taylor, Sr. O’Dea

RB: Tere Calloway, Sr. Seattle Prep

WR: Luke Lattanzio, Sr. Eastside Catholic

WR: Nelson Taylor, Sr. Seattle Prep

TE: Perry Stout, Sr. Seattle Prep

OL: Christian Shigley, Sr. Eastside Catholic

OL: Gill Biesold-McGee, Sr. Seattle Prep

OL: John Kroom, Sr. Bishop Blanchet

OL: Hunter Hudgins, Sr. Eastside Catholic

OL: Joey Symmonds, Sr. Eastside Catholic

All-Metro First Team Defense

DL: David Hurdle, Sr. Eastside Catholic

DL: Andre Lino, Sr. Bishop Blanchet

DL: Bryan Carter, Sr. O’Dea

DL: Elisha Pa’aga, Jr. Eastside Catholic

LB: Jack Oman, Sr. O’Dea

LB: Zane Allen, Sr. Eastside Catholic

LB: Gill Biesold-McGee, Sr. Seattle Prep

CB: Markell Sanders, Sr. Eastside Catholic

CB: Tatum Taylor, Sr. O’Dea

S: Tere Calloway, Sr. Seattle Prep

S: Peter Kimble, Sr. Eastside Catholic