State Previews: Metro

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

Our next stop is the Metro conference where O'Dea and Rainier Beach took home the titles last season in the Mountain and Sound divisions…

Players to Watch

Mountain Division
QB/ILB Nick Holt, Sr., Seattle Prep
Holt is the returning defensive player of the year in the conference. He also plays quarterback for Prep. Holt is the leader on both sides of the ball and much of the Panther's success will be determined by his play.

RB Keenan Forch, Sr., O'Dea
Forch was an all-league first team selection last season. O'Dea should be in a force in 3A and Forch is the real playmaker on offense for O'Dea.

DE/TE Devante Curry, Sr., O'Dea
Curry is the only all-league performer that was selected for both offense and defense. He is a big player that causes problems on both sides of the ball.

DT Nikolao Manu, Sr., O'Dea
Manu is a big force in the middle of the defense. The scary thought for other Mountain division teams is that O'Dea is returning three of last year's 4 all-league defensive lineman.

DE Sir Thomas Jackson, Sr., O'Dea
Jackson is the final returning all-league defensive lineman from O'Dea. He also sports by far the coolest name in conference.

ILB Connor Lane, Sr., O'Dea
This O'Dea defense is going to pitch a few shutouts this season. Lane is a senior returning linebacker that should be the leader for the defense.

OLB Jayshawn Jordan, Jr., O'Dea
Jordan earned all-league honors as just a sophomore last season. Of the six O'Dea players on the list, he is the only non-senior.

S Brady Flies, Sr., Bishop Blanchet
Bishop Blanchet may not be the one of the top teams in conference, but Flies is definitely one of the better players in the league and a returning all-league selection.

Sound Division
RB Nick Castoriano, Jr., Nathan Hale
Hale had two all-league backs selected last season. Castorino won't have to share the rock as much this season as his backfield mate has graduated.

RB/LB Niko Emm, Jr., West Seattle
Emm was the second sophomore back to be selected to all-league first team. West Seattle graduated almost every other skill position player on offense. Emm will have much of the offense on his shoulders. If that wasn't impressive enough, he also made the all-league team as a LB.

OL Yuki Toyoda, Sr., Nathan Hale
Hale is my favorite to win the division and they should do it on the ground. Emm running behind Toyoda sounds like a great combination to me.

DL DeVanté Meullion, Sr., Chief Sealth
Chief Sealth has had a tough go of it as late; Meullion is one of the bright spots for the Seahawks.

DL Tovar Sanchez, Sr., Ingraham
Ingraham only won one game last season. If they hope to improve this year Sanchez will need to be a big part of it.

ILB Anthony Segi, Jr., Rainier Beach
Segi garnered a rare honor in being named the defensive player of the year as just a sophomore last season.

Top Games

9/2, Capital at O'Dea (Non-League)
9/3, Rainier Beach at Lindbergh (Non-League)
9/3, Eisenhower at West Seattle (Non-League)
9/10, Ferndale at O'Dea (Non-League)
9/10, West Seattle at Nathan Hale
9/24, Nathan Hale @ O'Dea
10/15, Rainier Beach at Seattle Prep
10/21, Seattle Prep at O'Dea

Conference Prediction

Metro Mountain Champ: O'Dea

Metro Sound Champ: Nathan Hale

Metro Champ: O'Dea

The Metro as a whole is pretty young. More first team players are returning to their rosters than almost any other conference in state.

I'll start with the Mountain division, which I believe contains the best two teams in the entire conference. O'Dea graduated talent, but have reloaded like they always seem to do. Seattle Prep is led by Nick Holt on both offense and defense. Holt is a playmaker that will carry much of the responsibility for their success or failure.

The Sound division was a heated race last season, with Rainier Beach, Nathan Hale, and West Seattle all finishing the season at 5-1. Each of the teams lost some pieces, but I expect for them to be back in the hunt again this season. Hale and West Seattle each return sophomore running backs that were selected to the all-league first team. I expect each of those teams to rely heavily on their young runners. I think that West Seattle graduated a little more talent last season so I'll give the edge to Nathan Hale this year, with Rainier Beach right behind them.

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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