Friday Night Lights - Three Games

As we head into the heart of the high school football season in the state of Washington, it's more and more evident that there is a boatload of talented players in the region. Today, Dawgman's Scott Eklund and Chris Fetters take a look at the top prospects they saw last weekend and what they did in their respective games...

Washington (Tacoma) at Fife
Chris Fetters Fife dominated Washington (Tacoma) 41-6 in a game that featured a couple of players that are considering the Dawgs.

Top Prospects Fife

TE/DE Kaleb McGary (2014)- It's always a bit of deja vu watching McGary run around; it's not often around these parts to see someone who is 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, and runs like McGary runs. It's like seeing a slightly bigger version of Austin Seferian-Jenkins when ASJ was roaming secondaries at Gig Harbor - except for one major difference; while it was clear early on Seferian-Jenkins was a special weapon on offense, McGary shows a real aptitude for defense - and when pressed to pick a side of the ball he prefers has said defense is where he wants to be. And why not? At the end of the line he can really affect play on the edge and his long levers are big assets in tracking down ball-carriers and also in the return game where he can get his hands on kicks. His technique is still very raw, standing nearly straight up right from the snap - but there's no denying his natural tools, his joy for the game and his effort snap after snap.

DL Monike Sarte-Failauga (2014)- I had the opportunity to talk at length with one of the area youth coaches and asked him what makes Sarte a special player; without hesitation he said 'heart'. And I completely agree. At 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds, Sarte is almost a throwback type defensive tackle in that he uses his brute force and constant effort through pounding away at offensive linemen that makes him an effective player. Monike is all hustle, playing through the whistle. And while his motor is always on, his football IQ allows him to be patient, so he doesn't overrun plays and doesn't vacate gaps. He's a player coaches can trust will be where they need to be and when they need to be there. Sarte has athleticism, but he's not a BCS high-level athlete. But what he does have is natural strength, a love for the game and an understanding that he can be a leader at the next level. The way he brings players together off the field has been a rallying point for Fife this year. It's going to be tough to see a guy like Sarte at the Pac-12 level, but that has more to do with defenses moving toward the taller, longer-levered linemen than the stout two-gap nose type that Sarte is at his core.

RB Austin Woods (2015)- At 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, you have to have something very special about you to be a BCS level talent. Woods showed flashes Friday night that he will be a college player two years down the road. He made the corner on a few tosses and also showed some real dynamism in the return game. The speed is there too. One coach I talked to at Fife wanted to put him in the same equation as Federal Way's Chico McClatcher. While not there yet, I can certainly see why coaches in that area put the two in the same conversation. Woods has athleticism that begs repeated viewings. I'll be very curious to see how he does for the Trojans the rest of the year, especially in the playoffs - and then in the off-season between his junior and senior seasons. 2015 is definitely shaping up to be the 'Year of the Running Back', and Austin Woods should be a name recruitniks follow.

Washington

Isley Stoneham (2017)- Washington was out-matched against Fife from the start of the game, but there was one body that stood out from the rest - and when I found out he was just a ninth-grader…well, the mind tends to wander at that point. Stoneham had a chance to make an early statement when Washington caught Fife peeking into the backfield and he broke clear on a bomb, but couldn't bring the ball in. His body language certainly was of a young player going through a lot of emotions throughout the game, but at 6-foot-4 and nearly 220 pounds, it's hard not to notice his ability to move and what his future could be. Washington has produced FBS players in the past - most notably 2013 WSU signee Jacob Tuivaiave - and their league has plenty of visibility with teams like Lakes, Sumner, Enumclaw and Peninsula, so it's not as if Stoneham will perish in the wilderness of the 2A SPSL.


Jackson (Mill Creek) at Edmonds-Woodway
Scott Eklund

It was a back-and-forth battle between these two squads with five lead changes. EW got a great performance out of RB Mac McLa chlan, who scored the game-winner with less than a minute left and escaped with a 35-28 win.

Top Prospects
Edmonds-Woodway

RB Mac McLachlan(2014)- McLachlan had an outstanding night for the Warriors as he rushed for 169 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns, including the game-winner, with less than a minute remaining to get the win. Most of the senior's carries came on direct snaps from the center. He could get the ball, take a delay step, and then choose which hole he wanted to hit. He typically got six to 10 yards every time he did this. He's a tough runner and really was the difference-maker for EW. I could see him as a fullback or H-back type at the next level, but it would probably need to be at a lower-level school.

DE/OL Travis Bakken (2014)- Long and athletic, Bakken is a great looking prospect. He's a bit too stiff to be a scholarship guy at the Pac 12 level, but there was a coach from Portland State were in attendance and seemed to really like him a lot from the way he was watching him. Bakken played both ways for Edmonds-Woodway, but he's a better fit on defense than offense from watching him. He uses his hands well, but he'll be a better strongside defensive end because he's not explosive. I loved the way he played the run though and his long arms are definitely an asset when he can't get to the quarterback. I could see him as a walk-on type at Washington or Washington State (he camped at both schools this summer), but if he's got offers from FCS programs it will be tough to get him to walk-on.

TE/DE Theo Lebesis (2014)- Lebesis was the surprise of the night for me at this game. I already knew about McLachlan and Bakken, but had no knowledge of him beforehand. What I saw was a guy who really got after it on both sides of the ball. He blocked really well as a tight end and typically got at least two blocks on every running play. He would get a good initial pop vs. the DE or OLB that lined up over him and then he'd either get to another linebacker or a safety down the field. On defense, he pasted the Jackson QB and sent him out for the remainder of the first half, forcing the backup Jackson QB to throw a pick and ending a scoring chance that, ultimately, was the deciding points. I don't think anyone is after Lebesis right now, but I can see him getting some looks from lower-level programs once his senior film gets out.

Jackson

WR/DB Travante Robinson (2014)- Robinson was the guy that Jackson needed to feature more. He was practically unstoppable on inside handoffs and fly sweaps. He showed outstanding quickness and change of direction abilities. He struggled at time to catch the ball, dropping several that were easy catches as he tried to run before he secured it, but he had a solid evening overall. Defensively, he was only so-so in coverage, so I would expect him to be a guy that needs to play offense at the next level. Word is that PSU, Eastern and Montana State have all been by the school to see him and he's heard from Idaho and Nevada as well.

WR/DB Keynan Foster (2015) - Foster is tiny, but man is he quick. I love the way this guy moves in the open field and he doesn't wast a lot of motion. He's a scat-back/slot type at the next level and I know that Washington, Washington State, Oregon State and UNLV have all given him some attention. He was shut down most of the night, so it will be interesting to see how he comes back from that this coming weekend when Jackson faces off against Kamiak (Mukilteo).


Cascade (Everett) at Mariner (Everett)

The Bruins just had too much speed and athleticism for Mariner and came away with a 51-34 drubbing of their southern rivals. The score was much closer than the actual game might indicate as Cascade's backups allowed two late Mariner TDs.

Top Prospects
Cascade

QB/S Josh Smith (2014)- Smith, who transferred to Cascade from Florida when his father got a job transfer to Everett, is the real deal athletically. He loves to play quarterback, but I am just not sure I see him fitting in there at the next level. From an athleticism standpoint, he is a BCS-level player. He's long and has really good size at 6'3" and 200 pounds. I could see him as a wide receiver or as a safety prospect at the next level, but right now, he definitely sees himself at QB.

OL Randin Crecelius (2014)- It still shocks me that Crecelius doesn't have more offers. Kid is big, is physical and plays with a nasty streak. He gets after guys, both on offense and defense. Athletically, he's a marginal Pac 12 athlete. Sounds like lots of Big Sky schools have been inquiring about him, but right now, he just has the one offer from Portland State. If UW were taking a full class, I would say that Crecelius had a chance at getting a late offer, but with the way things are shaping up, it looks like that won't be the case.

Mariner

ATH Adam Mugenyi (2015)- This kid is lightning in a bottle. He had one move where he made three guys miss him in the open field before turning a short gain into a 35-yard play that put them in position to score their first touchdown of the night. He also showed soft hands and he likes to mix it up both in his blocking as well as when he plays defense. He's definitely a player to keep an eye on as the season moves along and we get into next spring.


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