Eason, who has committed to Georgia, led the Vikings to the Class 4A state semifinals and was named Gatorade National Player of the Year. Weaver, who is headed to California, led the Bullpups to their first Class 4A state title since 1986.
Lake Stevens was set to attend a 7-on-7 passing camp at Lakewood High in the summer of 2012. The Vikings had a junior-to-be at quarterback, Gavin O’Neil, that coach Tom Tri was enthused over. O’Neil had played some behind senior Jake Nelson as a sophomore and was set to be the next starting quarterback at Lake Stevens.
O’Neil played baseball in the summer, and in July of that same summer his club team had a tournament washed away by rain, and rescheduled for the same weekend as the passing camp. O’Neil would be unavailable for football.
That prompted a conversation between Tri and his quarterbacks coach, Lew Widmann.
Height, weight: 6-6, 215
“We were debating whether we should cancel,” Tri said.
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But Widmann said no. They had this incoming freshman who showed promise.
“Coach Widmann said, ‘Let’s feed him to the wolves and see how he responds,’ ” Tri said. “Boy, did he answer the bell.”
That freshman was Jacob Eason, The Seattle Times’ 2015 Offensive Player of the Year who will play collegiately at Georgia.
Eason played well in the passing camp, and he opened his coaches’ eyes.
“He wasn’t on our radar, at least not yet,” Tri said. “But I have vivid memories, talking to coach Widmann. That we had a quarterback controversy, and we had to figure out what we were going to do.”
O’Neil started the first four games of the year for Lake Stevens. Eason had thrown 50 passes in relief, completing 21 for 458 yards and four touchdowns. At halftime against rival Monroe, Tri made the decision to make Eason the starter.
“It was the first or second series, and I’d thrown a touchdown pass,” Eason said. “I got hit, broke my wrist and was done for the season.”
As a sophomore, Eason threw for 2,941 yards and 23 touchdowns. He added 2,828 yards and 32 scores a year ago, and completed 235 of 338 passes for 3,587 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior in leading the Vikings to the state semifinals.
Height, weight: 6-3, 245
Position: Defensive lineman
“Everybody always talks about finding your passion,” said Eason, the son of former Notre Dame receiver Tony Eason (not the former NFL quarterback). “Football is my passion. It’s what I want to do with my life.”
Weaver does it all
Dave McKenna knew from the first day what he had in Evan Weaver, the Gonzaga Prep defensive end and University of California commit who is The Seattle Times’ Defensive Player of the Year.
Seattle Times all-state football team
QB Jacob Eason, Lake Stevens, 6-6, 215, Sr.
Led the Vikings to the 4A semifinals, throwing for 3,587 yards and 43 touchdowns despite not playing in eight out of 12 fourth quarters.
RB Rashaad Boddie, Skyline, 6-0, 220, Sr.
Colorado State commit finished the season with 1,732 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
RB Bryce Hoisington, Vashon, 5-8, 160, So.
Broke the 11-man state rushing record for a season with 2,929 yards on 337 carries, an average of 292 yards a game, and scored 32 TDs.
WR Clinton Allen Jr., Bishop Blanchet, 6-2, 210, Sr.
Caught 63 passes for 1,171 yards and 24 touchdowns as the Braves advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 1974.
WR Matt Laris, Eastside Catholic, 6-4, 210, Sr.
Cal commit, and future teammate of POY Weaver, had 67 catches for 1,098 yards and 10 touchdowns as Crusaders repeated in 3A.
TE Riley Krenz, Lake Stevens, 5-11, 195, Sr.
Led the Vikings with 68 receptions for 1,146 yards and 15 touchdowns as POY Eason’s go-to receiving target.
OL Erik Lukner, Sedro-Woolley, 6-3, 290, Sr.
Unanimous all-league selection just got offer from CWU, has verbally committed to Bucknell.
OL Chris Mitchell, Mountain View, 6-1, 275, Sr.
Air Force commit was center for line that paved way for Preston Jones, who ran for 1,726 yards.
OL Scott Peck, Central Valley, 6-7, 295, Sr.
Utah commit helped Grizzlies reach the state playoffs, eschewing offers from Washington State, Nevada and Army, among others.
OL Henry Bainivalu, Skyline, 6-7, 295, Jr.
Virtually every Pac-12 school already has offered scholarships, along with Nebraska and Boise State.
OL Josh Watson, Cascade of Everett, 6-5, 265, Sr.
Washington State commit was selected to Wesco 4A all-league team on both offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
ATH Harley Kirsch, Eastside Catholic, 6-3, 200, Sr.
Cornell commit threw for 3,600 yards, seventh-best single season total ever in Washington, and led Crusaders to second straight 3A title.
K Jack Crane, Skyline, 6-2, 180, Sr.
His 17 field goals were just one shy of the state record of 18 in one season set by current UW kicker Cameron Van Winkle at Mount Si.
DL Evan Weaver, Gonzaga Prep, 6-3, 245, Sr.
Had 123 tackles and 23½ sacks in Bullpups’ run to first 4A title since 1986.
DL Omar Dyles, Bellevue, 6-1, 260, Sr.
Kingco 3A defensive lineman of the year was defensive force up front as Wolverines reached 3A title game for eighth straight season.
DL Amandre Williams, Tahoma, 6-3, 210, Sr.
Washington commit had 17.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Oh, yeah, and he threw for 3,235 yards as the Bears’ quarterback.
LB Dylan Axelson, Woodinville, 6-0, 200, Sr.
Kingco 4A defensive player of the year set school record with 115 tackles as the Falcons advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals.
LB Iain Black, Glacier Peak, 5-10, 190, Sr.
Made 71 tackles, 11 for loss, despite limited playing time in many games due to blowout victories by the Grizzlies.
LB Eric Briscoe-Hernandez, Davis, 6-3, 215, Sr.
The Columbia Basin Big 9 defensive player of the year is an Oregon commit, and son of former UW standout Eric Briscoe.
LB Cooper Wright, King’s, 5-9, 185, Sr.
Cascade Conference defensive player of the year had 101 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions. Broke ankle in state quarterfinals.
DB Salvon Ahmed, Juanita, 5-11, 185, Jr.
Has offers from virtually every Pac-12 school. Two-way all-KingCo pick helped Rebels reach quarterfinals for first time since 1989.
DB Isaiah Gilchrist, Bellevue, 5-11, 180, Sr.
UW commit will join the last Wolverine to create huge impact as a defensive back, Budda Baker, as a Husky. Intercepted three passes in 3A semifinal.
DB Danny Sinatro, Skyline, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Shutdown cover guy had eight interceptions this season. Has full baseball scholarship to WSU, and Cougars coach Mike Leach wondering if he could play a little football on the side.
DB Connor Wedington, Sumner, 5-11, 185, Jr.
SPSL 3A defensive most valuable player had four interceptions, almost 500 return yards and ran for 1,532 yards.
ATH Brandon Wellington, Eastside Catholic, 6-0, 215, Sr.
UW commit returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 3A semifinal win over Lakes. Will play linebacker for Huskies.
P Nick Thomas, Ridgefield, 6-0, 215, Sr.
Averaged 46.3 yards a punt with a long of 66 yards and five punts downed inside the 20 for the Spudders.
Coach of the year: Dave McKenna, Gonzaga Prep
Led the Bullpups to their first state title since 1986, knocking off Skyline in the Class 4A championship game.
“He had a great motor even back then,” McKenna said. “Our first day in pads, after three practices without, and he’s holding his own with guys who are seniors. He’s just got a drive to be a dominant player. I’ve never coached anybody like him. He’s special.”
Weaver was a star from the moment he stepped on the field for the Bullpups as a sophomore, blessed with the talent and the drive to force other coaches to have to alter game plans just for him.
“In all my years of coaching, I’d never before said we’ve got to do something different in our pass pro,” said Skyline coach Mat Taylor of his team’s preparation for the 4A state-championship game Dec. 5. “Honestly, it took away time from other things. Unfortunately, we did a pretty good job — and he beat us more on offense.”
Oh, yeah, Weaver also played a bruising-style of running back for Gonzaga Prep this season. Skyline held Weaver, who had amassed 122 tackles and 23½ sacks coming into the title game, to just a single tackle. But Weaver ran over the Spartans for a game-high 133 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
It was part of a 4A championship game-record 521 yards rushing as the Bullpups won the title for the first time since 1986.
“This year was an unreal experience,” Weaver said. “We showed everybody what’s up. Our freshman team went 9-0 (in 2012), and we absolutely ran the league. We knew we had a special senior class.”
You couldn’t write this script.
“We’ve faced Cassius Marsh, Danny Shelton,” Taylor said. “And we just did what we did. The way that he (Weaver) relentlessly tackles, we knew we definitely needed help on him.”