With so many great players and so many terrific teams in Washington, any given weekend provides multiple opportunities to watch highly competitive high-school football.
To get you ready for the season we’ve got the top 10 games, players and teams across Washington this season. Let’s start with the games
Sept. 2: Bothell at O’Dea, 7 p.m.
Perennial top-10 teams in the two deepest classifications, the Class 3A Irish open the season against the Class 4A Cougars. Both programs are expected to compete for league titles in 2022. Plus, it’s a chance to see one of the best running backs in the state in O’Dea’s Jason Brown.
Sept. 3: Lake Stevens at Garfield, 5 p.m.
Another high-profile 4A vs. 3A game, and a reason to go to the stadium twice in the first weekend. The team generally regarded as the preseason No. 1 team in 4A will give the Bulldogs an early reading on just how good their touted talent might be.
Sept. 9: Bellevue at Lake Stevens, 7 p.m.
The 3A defending champ against the 4A runner-up in 2021 facing off with all sorts of returning talent. A chance to see one of the premier runners in Washington in Lake Stevens senior and Notre Dame-bound Jayden Limar.
Sept. 15: Kennedy Catholic at Kentwood, 6 p.m.
Devon Forehand stepped into the quarterback position as a freshman for the Lancers and helped Kennedy to a 6-2 regular season, including a season-concluding victory over the Conquerors to win the North Puget Sound League. This year, that potentially decisive matchup happens early.
Sept. 23: Kamiakin at Kennewick, 7 p.m.
It’s time to jump in the car and take a road trip across the mountains to see another 4A vs. 3A game between top-10 teams. The Lions made the run all the way to the 3A state championship game before losing to Bellevue and bring back a plethora of talent.
Sept. 30: O’Dea at Eastside Catholic, 7 p.m.
This game has gone a long way toward deciding the Metro League recently, and despite rumblings of the rising talent levels in the Metro, expect the same again in 2022.
Oct. 15: Garfield at Rainier Beach, 2 p.m.
The Bulldogs return eight starters on offense and nine on defense and have earned some preseason hype as a potential contender in the Metro, but so have the Vikings. This one will also pit a fun QB battle between Garfield junior E.J. Caminong and Rainier Beach senior Chance Guadiz.
Oct. 21: Bothell at Eastlake, 7 p.m.
League titles are often decided in late October and it could be same in the KingCo with the always-competitive tilt between top-10 teams in Class 4A battling for the league crown.
Oct. 21: Yelm at Peninsula, 7 p.m.
Take a trip across the Narrows Bridge for a game two seasons in the making. Both these teams went unbeaten in the South Sound Conference in 2021, but did not play each other.
Oct. 28: Glacier Peak at Lake Stevens, 7 p.m.
The WesCo championship likely will be on the line here, though Kamiak may have a say in that. These two powers from the north close out the regular season with a marquee matchup that could determine the playoff positioning for both teams.
1. Caleb Presley, CB/WR, 6-0, 185, Rainier Beach, Sr.
The four-star Oregon commit is the 10th ranked cornerback prospect in the nation, and the 114th overall player according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. Pressley is lean and fast, and some scouts also see him as a possible college wide receiver.
2. Isendre Ahfua, OL, 6-5, 330, O’Dea, Jr.
The O’Dea guard already has more than a dozen scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, Georgia, USC, and Washington. The 330-pound Ahfua, whose nickname is “Papa,” is 247Sports.com’s top-ranked interior lineman in the class of 2024.
3. Jasiah Wagoner, CB, 5-11, 170, Spanaway Lake, Sr.
Wagoner is a four-star Oklahoma commit who scouts call a do-it-all athlete who plays running back, wide receiver, corner and returns punts. Wagoner had 25 solo tackles in 2021 with four interceptions and five pass breakups, while also rushing for 235 yards and four touchdowns in a conference championship-clinching game against Lakes.
4. Jayden Limar, RB, 5-11, 190, Lake Stevens, Sr.
Limar is a speedy four-star running back with explosive abilities out of the backfield and in the passing game, with room to add more muscle before heading to the next level. He is the No. 12 running-back prospect by Rivals.com and will play at Notre Dame.
5. Gabarri Johnson, QB, 6-0, 200, Lincoln, Sr.
The state’s top quarterback prospect, who can beat teams with his legs and his cannon of an arm. The four-star Mizzou commit put up 44 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage.
6. Jason Brown, RB, 5-11, 194, O’Dea, Jr.
A four-star running back/cornerback dual threat with speed and power, Brown’s running style has been compared to former UW and fellow O’Dea star Myles Gaskin. Brown has offers from Alabama, Washington, Oregon, Georgia and Michigan State as he heads into his junior year.
7. Brayden Platt, LB, 6-1, 220, Yelm, Jr.
Platt is a four-star linebacker and a defending state shot-put champion who has received offers from the likes of UW, WSU, Oregon and Michigan. Platt is the No. 6 linebacker prospect in the country, according to 247Sports, and was the first Yelm player to be invited to the All-America Bowl.
8. Isaiah Carlson, LB, 6-1, 220, Ferndale, Sr.
Carlson missed most of last season with a knee injury but comes into his senior year healthy and ready for a big workload at running back and linebacker. The three-star recruit recently got an offer from Montana, and has also recently talked to Washington State, Cal, Oregon State and Nevada.
9. Heath Ozaeta, OT, 6-6, 290, Mount Si, Sr.
Ranked by On3 Recruiting as a four-star recruit, Ozaeta is one of the premier O-line prospects in the Northwest, and his sheer size and physical style of play has made him successful on both sides of the ball. Earlier this summer, Ozaeta committed to Oklahoma.
10. Micah Banuelos, OG, 6-3, 290, Kennedy Catholic, Sr.
Another four-star local lineman with a DI commitment, Banuelos is known for his strength and intense on-field demeanor. Banuelos picked USC over Oregon in July in large part because of the Trojans’ upcoming move to the Big Ten. The Kennedy Catholic product is already working hard to convince Ahfua to join him.
1. Lake Stevens Vikings (2021 record: 11-1) (4A)
About the only question the Vikings seem to need decided is which of their talented quarterbacks will end up running the show for the state runners-up. Sophomore Kolton Matson started the state championship game as a freshman, while junior Kaden LaPlaunt won the WesCo championship game. They have Notre Dame commit Jayden Limar and his brother Jayshon, owner of three Pac-12 offers already, to anchor the running game.
2. Bellevue Wolverines (2021 record: 14-0) (3A)
It may be hard to believe that a team that rolled to a state championship with its vaunted Wing-T offense could actually get better on that side of the ball. But with quarterback Lucas Razore returning with another summer of development under his belt and highly regarded tight end Hogan Hansen still in the fold, the Wolverines may add a sneaky-good passing game to the mix.
3. Yelm Tornadoes (2021 record: 10-1) (3A)
With 14 starters back — six on offense and eight on defense — and coming off a 2021 in which the Tornadoes advanced to the state quarterfinals, this team feels it’s ready to make the next step. Offensively, watch for Portland State commit Kyler Ronquillo to have a big year catching the football and junior Braydon Platt to continue to dominate the running game.
4. Glacier Peak Grizzlies (2021 record: 7-3) (4A)
The Grizzlies have plenty of Division I talent, starting in the backfield with Washington State commit Trey Leckner and tight end Cooper Jensen (an Oregon State commit). Quarterback River Lien returns to run the show for a team that should have no problem scoring points.
5. O’Dea Irish (2021 record: 8-3) (3A)
The Irish may return just three starters on offense and four on defense, but when two of those starters on offense are junior running back Jason Brown and senior tight end Tucker Ashcraft, scoring shouldn’t be an issue. Defensively, cornerback Kyan McDonald is capable of shutting down one side of the field.
6. Graham-Kapowsin Eagles (2021 record: 15-0) (4A)
The Eagles were one of the most dominant teams not only in the state but the country in 2021, a season that included a nationally televised victory in Las Vegas. Much has changed from a year ago, but even with a new coach and several highly touted skill position players replaced, the talent remains for another successful campaign.
7. Eastside Catholic Crusaders (2021 record: 9-2) (3A)
Coach Dom Daste always likes to build a team from the inside out. While his talented set of linemen may be young, the Crusaders believe they can continue to control the line of scrimmage. They also have a leader behind that line in senior QB Brady McKelheer.
8. Bothell Cougars (2021 record: 10-2) (4A)
Plenty of talent returns for the Cougars, who finished second in the KingCo in 2021, from running back Bryce Kooy to a quick and physical group of linebackers on defense that added Kentridge transfer Tyson Brown. The question is, who will play quarterback?
9. Lynden Lions (2021 record: 12-1) (2A)
The Lions, the defending state champs, continue to be well-stocked at the skill positions with quarterback Kaedan Hermanutz, running back Lane Heeringa and receiver Collin Anker all returning for their senior seasons.
10. Eastlake Wolves (2021 record: 12-1) (4A)
Made the state semifinals for the first time in school history with a senior-laden squad from which 16 starters graduated. Even so, the defending KingCo champs should be ready to make another run behind a trio of returning running backs — Blake Borup, Harry Reid and Jack Edmunds — and first-year quarterback Cole Hunt.