In this edition of TFQ, we’ll look at Skyline’s high-powered offense, a big win for Marysville Getchell, Rainier Beach’s attempt at turning things around and Eastlake’s first win under interim coach Pat Parnell.
As always, there will be quotes and big performances as well as rankings at the bottom.
But first, we’ll start with taking a look at KingCo’s policy to charge for televising football games and what that means for the league this year.
A story worth watching
Imagine a scenario where, on a Thursday night this season, the game between top-ranked Bellevue and No. 2 Mount Si was broadcast live on Root Sports. Or Skyline, the No. 1 team in 4A, squared off against ranked Issaquah on live TV.
Not that hard to picture, right?
Those were just two of the KingCo games Root Sports looked into televising this season as part of the network’s game of the week package on Thursdays. But Root Sports hit a roadblock it wouldn’t overcome: KingCo charges a $2,000 fee per football game for a direct telecast, and Root Sports didn’t want to pay it.
Instead, the network turned to games and leagues that welcomed the coverage and KingCo was left off the schedule.
“We’re actually looking a little more closely at this right now,” Woodinville athletic director Terry Agnew said. “There’s kind of a split opinion amongst the athletic directors whether we should be doing this. Some are saying all we’re doing is cutting our nose off and not letting our kids be highlighted. There are companies not broadcasting our games because they don’t want to pay the fee. And other people say, ‘If they really want to show KingCo games, they’re going to pay the fee regardless.'”
Skyline coach Mat Taylor has dug in on the issue, bringing it up at the KingCo coaches meeting this year. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I just don’t understand the rationale.”
Agnew said KingCo has long charged fees for games, but the issue is picking up more steam this year after Root Sports launched its high school game of the week package.
The league also charges $600 for a delayed telecast and $200 for a radio broadcast. But it is the $2,000 fee for direct telecasts that is the biggest issue. The KingCo handbook says the league gets half of the fee and the two participating schools split the other half.
“It just shows me, why does our conference think we’re that much better than other conferences?” Taylor said.
Leslie Cox, Root Sports’ director of marketing and communications, said, “Root Sports had identified several KingCo games that were of interest as part of our inaugural season of High School Football Game of the Week. Unfortunately, KingCo has chosen not to be a part of the package this year.”
When asked about the fee, Cox said, “I cannot comment on whether or not it was a fee issue. I can tell you that we are currently in discussions for future opportunities.”
But a source told the Times that Root Sports didn’t want to pay the fee. Taylor said he had heard that Root Sports was looking into as many as four KingCo games this year.
“My opinion is that I think we’re the strongest, most populated area in the state and none of our games are on,” said longtime Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune, who would have moved the Bellevue game to Thursday to be on TV. “I just see the irony with that. We have great crowds and support and yet we’re not on. There’s got to be something we can work out so we can get in on this.”
Said Agnew, Woodinville’s longtime athletic director: “Every time we have a discussion, there’s a lot of people that raise their hand and say, ‘Why are we doing this?'”
While some KingCo coaches aren’t too familiar with the fee and the logistics of it, the issue is one that will continue to generate discussion moving forward.
“I would just hope that maybe somewhere down the road there’s a happy medium where all parties could come together and make it work,” Issaquah coach Chris Bennett said. “It’s a neat thing for the schools, players and communities involved.”
Eastlake shuts out Prep in first game without Dales
Nobody was quite sure how Eastlake’s players would respond after eighth-year coach Gene Dales abruptly resigned two games into the season. But when the Wolves (1-2) came out and clamped down on Seattle Prep for a 34-0 win, interim coach Pat Parnell said he wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“By the way the week of practice went, I felt really confident,” the 26-year-old Parnell said. “I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t anything because nothing really changed other than the fact that as a staff we were all doing one more job than what we were used to. But I wasn’t surprised. I knew that this was the team we had. Even though we replaced 22 starters, I knew we could come to this.”
It put an exclamation on an otherwise tumultuous week for the Eastlake program. Dales stepped down last Monday, citing the need to take care of personal and family issues that took away from his commitment to football. Parnell assumed the coaching duties that same day and had the task of keeping Eastlake moving forward.
“They could have easily thrown in the towel and just said, ‘Our coach left,'” Parnell said. “And they didn’t.”
Instead, Parnell said his players actually recommitted themselves to this season. And it sure showed against Prep. Quarterbacks Richard “Blue” Thomas and Grant Beahm combined to complete 17 of 26 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Running backs Drew Lewis and Josh Horton combined for 107 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Cameron Nelson had 132 receiving yards and a touchdown. And Eastlake, which had 10 turnovers in its first two games, had zero on Friday.
Plus, led by Carson Iraola’s 11 tackles and Eric Harper’s four tackles for a loss, the defense shut Prep down in front of a crowd Parnell said rallied behind his team.
“We committed on Monday that we have to get better,” Parnell said. “The way we played the last two games, the way we practiced the last two weeks, we’ve got to get better the way we practice, the way we clean up the locker room, everything. The way we stand on the sideline, our discipline, everything.”
Rainier Beach could be poised for a turnaround year
The difference between this Rainier Beach team and last year’s is twofold for coach Mark Haley. First, he said, his team is more dynamic on offense because he has more weapons and options. But the second part is a bit trickier. The Vikings, he said, are playing with a confidence that wasn’t always evident a year ago when they went 2-8.
And the Vikings added to that confidence with a 44-28 win against Chief Sealth on Friday, setting up a showdown with Nathan Hale in a game that could determine the Metro League Sound Division. The Vikings are 2-1, having lost their opener 28-26 to Vancouver Collegiate.
“I expected us to do well this year,” Haley said. “Last year was kind of a fluke because we didn’t play as well as we should have. I thought we should have won more games. This year they just believe they’re going to win. They call it that swagger. They’ve got that swagger that they can compete with anybody.”
Rainier Beach also has some good players.
Marquis Davis, a dynamic running back and the MVP of the state basketball tournament a year ago, has four touchdowns in two games. In fact, in a 61-13 win against Ingraham last week, he had 176 yards and three touchdowns on five carries. And one of those carries went for only three yards.
Davis missed a chunk of last year with an ankle sprain.
“He’s talented out of this world,” Haley said. “He’s got great speed, vision, hands. He can do it all: football, basketball, track. I compare him kind of – he’s not a Nate Robinson – but he’s kind of comparable to Nate in that he can do it all. He just does stuff you can’t coach or can’t teach.”
There’s also Keiwuan Miller, a wide receiver and safety with a knack for making plays. In the Ingraham game, Miller returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown, caught a 30-yard touchdown pass and also returned a kickoff 75 yards.
There’s Davontae Porter, a running back who didn’t play last year. Porter scored three touchdowns in Rainier Beach’s win against Chief Sealth on Friday. And there’s quarterback Robert Calloway, a transfer from Franklin who has five touchdowns in his last two games. The Vikings started a freshman at quarterback last year, but Haley said Calloway has brought consistency and leadership to the position.
And doesn’t hurt that the Vikings run behind Leo Keilani, a 6-9, 380-pound offensive lineman.
“We’ve got a couple different threats besides just one or two,” Haley said. “Last year you could just key on some people. Once we lost Marquis at running back, they knew Keiwuan was our guy to make all the plays. And now it’s not that situation.”
Skyline plays one of the best games in coach Mat Taylor’s tenure
A week after flying down to Utah to play Cottonwood High, the Skyline Spartans boarded a bus for a five-hour drive to take on Idaho’s top team, Coeur d’Alene.
No. 1 Skyline handled the quick travel turnaround just fine: The Spartans ended Coeur d’Alene’s 24-game winning streak with a 71-20 defeat on Saturday in the Kibbie Dome.
“To be honest, in my five years, I’ve never been so proud the way our guys played,” Taylor said. “We just executed everything perfectly.”
The numbers alone are staggering. The Spartans set a new school record with 696 yards of offense (Taylor said his team is averaging 537 yards through three games). Quarterback Max Browne went 27 for 34 for 445 yards and six touchdowns despite playing only two series in the third quarter. Matt Sinatro had 178 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Running back Cedric Cooper had 106 total yards and three touchdowns. And Peyton Pelluer and Blake Young led a defense that held Coeur d’Alene in check.
It was the first time all year Skyline played with its full complement of players. Taylor said eight players who didn’t play in Week 1 played on Saturday.
“No disrespect to Coeur d’Alene, but it was just kind of the perfect storm offensively and defensively for us,” Taylor said. “It was like whatever we called worked. And it wasn’t like it was five yards. It was 15.”
Skyline was scheduled to play Manatee from Bradenton, Florida, the team Sports Illustrated ranked No. 1 in the country. But in April the promoter who set the game up backed out and, as Taylor said, “left us high and dry.”
Taylor and the Manatee coach couldn’t work out a game in the aftermath, and Coeur d’Alene stepped in to fill the spot.
Taylor said this is the best “clicking” team he’s ever had. “Right now, with the way we’re clicking with all the receivers and running backs and quarterbacks and the protection we’re getting,” he said, “it’s pretty remarkable.”
Marysville Getchell gets first win in school history
The feel-good story of the week goes to Marysville Getchell, which beat Shorewood 16-7 on Friday to grab the program’s first win. The school opened in 2010, and the Chargers are 1-2 this season.
How about these numbers?
The Kentlake vs. Puyallup score alone is shocking: Kentlake won 76-55. But how about these for some offensive numbers? Kentlake had 966 total yards of offense; Puyallup 691. That’s 1,657 yards of total offense in one game (Thanks to Sandy Ringer for passing these along).
– Lindbergh’s Tyrell Shavers 5-8 207yards 5 TD’s
– Issaquah’s Jake Gellatly rushed for 213 yards and four touchdowns and also had an interception.
– West Seattle’s Joe Ylagan scored four touchdowns, including two on interception returns.
– Glacier Peak’s Sean Elledge had 7 catches for 187 yards, 70 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. His quarterback Chris Becerra was 17 of 32 for 362 yards and four touchdowns, according to the Everett Herald.
– Jefferson’s Lucas Geoff had two sacks, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and five tackles for a loss.
– Skyline’s Max Browne passed for 445 yards – 380 in the first half – and six touchdowns.
– Tahoma’s Damon Funk had 216 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
– Eastlake’s Carson Iraola had 11 tackles, two tackles for a loss and one forced fumble
– Meadowdale’s Josiah Evans had three interceptions, according to the Everett Herald.
– Kentlake’s Steffin Church had nine touchdown passes.
Quotes/ off the cusp
“It’s almost like we got a monkey off of our back. There was a lot of hugging, I’m very proud of our kids. This (the victory) is something we’ve been talking about since last year,” Marysville Getchell coach Davis Lura to the Everett Herald after the program earned its first-ever win.
– I love stories like these. It had to be a great feeling for Lura and his team to get that first one out of the way. Now they can just move on.
“I’m very adamant against it and everybody knows it. I just don’t understand why there’s a fee. This is an opportunity for kids to be seen. I just think it’s unfortunate some people are getting greedy and saying if they make money, then we can make money,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor on the fee KingCo requires to televise games.
– I agree completely with Taylor’s stance. Televising high schools sports, especially locally, isn’t an extremely lucrative business. No one is getting rich from doing it. Why not make it easier for your kids to get on TV?
“I was just like, ‘Guys, give it to 5.’ That was kind of the game plan. Obviously, right now we’re going to lean on him a lot,” Issaquah coach Chris Bennett on running back Jack Gellatly, who had 213 yards rushing in a win against O’Dea.
– What a huge win for Gellatly, Bennett and Issaquah. O’Dea is a talented team, and Gellatly really carried the workload to get his team past the Irish.
1. Skyline (Sammamish) (3-0)
2. Mead (Spokane) (3-0)
3. Federal Way (3-0)
4. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (2-1)
5. Skyview (Vancouver) (2-1)
6. Camas (3-0)
7. Kentwood (3-0)
8. Issaquah (2-1)
9. Edmonds-Woodway (2-1)
10. Gonzaga Prep (3-0)
1. Bellevue (3-0)
2. Mount Si (Snoqualmie) (3-0)
3. O’Dea (Seattle) (2-1)
4. Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) (3-0)
5. Glacier Peak (Snohomish) (3-0)
6. Meadowdale (3-0)
7. Kamiakin (2-1)
8. Mercer Island (2-1)
9. Kennedy Catholic (1-1)
10. Lakes (Lakewood) (1-2)
Out: Oak Harbor
1. Capital (Olympia) (3-0)
2. Lynden (2-1)
3. Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (2-1)
4. Othello (3-0)
5. Prosser (2-1)
6. Ellensburg (3-0)
7. East Valley (Spokane) (3-0)
8. Lakewood (3-0)
9. Burlington-Edison (3-0)
10. Tumwater (2-1)
Out: W.F. West (Chehalis) (2-1)