State Previews: SPSL North

ESP takes a tour around the state of Washington looking at impact players, top games, and conference favorites…

The next conference on our tour is the SPSL North. The league was dominated by Auburn for the second season in a row. Auburn used a stable of great backs to run over and through most opponents and unfortunately for the rest of the league, they return two of those all-league running backs. A lot of talent graduated and moved on to college, that can be seen in the fact that Danny Shelton is the only returning all-league performer on defense.

Players to Watch

OL/DT Danny Shelton, Sr. Auburn
Not only is Shelton a returning first team all-league player on both sides of the ball, but he was also named offensive and defensive lineman of the year for the conference. The big man has most of the schools in the PAC-10 battling for his services.

RB Austin Embody, Sr. Auburn
Embody is a tough runner and overall great athlete that shouldered much of the load when all-state player Chris Young was removed from the team last season. Embody should rack up the yards like the Trojan backs before him.

RB Alphonse Wade, Sr. Auburn
Wade is the lightning side of the combo and is a threat to take it the distance each time he touches the ball. Wade is a talented back that may be switched to CB at the next level.

WR Cameron McKernan, Sr. Kentridge
McKernan opened eyes at the Competitive Edge Combine in Sumner last year. He posted the fastest 40 time and best broad jump of any participant. After an injury derailed last season, McKernan is poised for a breakout year.

C Nick Conlan, Sr. Auburn
Conlan is another returning all-league performer for the Trojans. In addition to his play on the offensive line, Conlan was a second team all-league linebacker.

WR Austin Pernell, Jr. Kentlake
Austin was the only Sophomore to make any of the all-league lists. He returns this season for a Kentlake team that has a great opportunity to make the playoffs.

TE Dalton Blackmore, Sr. Kentwood
You might recognize his name, older brother Hunter made the list a few years ago. Dalton is a big kid that has a chance to make a large impact for the Conquerors.

Top Games

9/17, Kentwood @ Tahoma
9/23, Kentwood @ Puyallup (Non-League)
10/1, Auburn @ Kentwood
10/8, Auburn @ Curtis (Non-League)
10/28, Kentridge @ Kentwood

Conference Prediction

SPSL North Champ: Auburn

As an alumnus it hurts me to say it, but it appears the SPSL North is in for another down season. I really see no team in the league besides Auburn that can make waves in the playoffs. The league wasn't one of he worst in the state last year, but it wasn't one of the best either. That being said nearly every team lost their best player, and the one school I might have seen improving, Federal Way, moved to the SPSL South. Auburn must replace Marshall Klontz and Chris Young, neither task will be easy. They do return the best player in the conference in Danny Shelton. The Trojan running attack will be tough to stop with the thunder and lightning combo of Embody and Wade returning. I think Auburn goes undefeated again, then Kentwood, Kentridge, Tahoma, and Kentlake battle for the remaining playoff spots.

As always, there are many more that could have made the list. Visit our forums to let me know who else you think should have made the list.

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