Honors roll in for future, and old, Cougs

TWO FUTURE COUGARS, plus an old one, received statewide recognition for their exploits on the gridiron this season. Dan Spitz, a two-way star from Spokane's Mead High and Derek Jones, a linebacker from Snohomish who will play baseball at WSU, were named first-team, all-classifications All-State by the Seattle Times. In addition, former WSU wideout Tom Yearout was named Class 4A coach of the year.

Spitz, who has committed verbally to play football for the Cougs and reaffirmed that pledge following Bill Doba's announcement, is 6-6 and 250-pounds. He is physical and fast. He was named All-State on defense, but with excellent blocking and pass-catching skills, he'll head to Pullman as a tight end. Mead is a run-first team, so Spitz caught just 14 passes this season –- but a whopping seven of those catches were TDs. He also averaged nearly 14 yards per catch.

Like Spitz, Jones was a two-way star. While he rushed for more than 1,700 and hit paydirt 21 times for Snohomish this season, the Times slotted the 6-0, 205-pounder as an All-State linebacker. In baseball, Jones is a standout left-handed pitcher and outfielder who earned All-Area Player of the Year and first-team All-State honors as a junior last spring. He signed a letter of intent with Cougar coach Donnie Marbut last month, choosing WSU over Washington and Oregon.

Jones, by the way, isn't the only star football player who Marbut signed last month. First-team All-Greater Northern League quarterback Bryan Peterson of Spokane's West Valley High also is headed to WSU to play baseball. Behind center this fall, he broke six Spokane-area passing records, including three that were held by former Cougar and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. Peterson, a first-team All-State outfielder last spring, is the son of Mike Peterson, a WSU receiver from the early 80s who scored a key TD in the Cougars' fabled Apple Cup win of 1982.

Yearout is another old Cougar receiver from the 1980s. He was named the Times' Class 4A coach of the year after leading Lewis and Clark of Spokane to the state title this fall. The Tigers capped an 11-2 season with a 21-14 victory over Bothell in the championship game. The Times picked Yearout's star running back and linebacker, Alex Shaw, the Class 4A player of the year. Shaw is the brother of former WSU walk-on receiver Carl Shaw and current Idaho Vandal lineman Josh Shaw.

Yearout wasn't the only former Cougar to have a big year with the headsets. Spokane's Ferris High, which was ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season and then lost a heartbreaker in the state semi-finals, is loaded with old Cougars. The head coach, Jim Sharkey, played baseball at WSU in the 1980s and two of his assistants, Paul Sorensen and Matt Elisara, were mainstays on the WSU's 1981 Holiday Bowl team.

In an interesting twist, it was Sharkey, not Yearout, who was selected by the Spokesman-Review as the Greater Spokane League coach of the year.

Ferris receiver Jared Karstetter, a first-team All-GSL selection who committed verbally to WSU last month, also recently reaffirmed, like Spitz, that he would stick with WSU regardless of who was hired to succeed Bill Doba.

Cougfan Top Stories