Published August 14, 2012
Football: Story lines to follow, players to watch, games to see in 2012
The high school football season gets underway Wednesday as teams hit the field for their first practices. Heres a look at what to watch for in 2012:THREE STORYLINES TO FOLLOW
How far will Capital go?
The Cougars have been accustomed to deep playoff runs, but with the school moving down to Class 2A, and the return 17 starters, Capital could make a push for a state title. Capital has the toughest nonleague schedule of any South Sound team; all of its nonleague opponents are Class 4A schools Newport of Bellevue, Olympia, Bothell and Bellarmine.Who will emerge from 3A Narrows?
Three new teams join the 3A Narrows League Mount Tahoma, North Thurston, and Shelton and only three playoff spots are up for grabs. There are big names in the league, everyone from Sheltons David Ajamu, a recent Oregon State commit, and new Lincoln head coach Jon Kitna, a former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and 14-year NFL veteran. North Thurston and Timberline are favorites to win the league. The two meet up in Week 8.Can Tenino challenge for top spot in SWW 1A?
Theres reason for excitement in Tenino after its second winning season in the past 15 years in 2011 (7-3 overall). Over the previous 15 years, the Beavers went 32-109 with two prior playoff appearances. Behing senior Devante Harris, and QB transfer Mac Shaw from Rainier, the Beavers could challenge 1A powerhouse Montesano and Hoquiam in the 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen Division race. THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
DE Jaimie Bryant, sr., Tumwater
College interest first perked up for the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder following his sophomore season, and he now enters his senior season already verbally committed to the University of Washington. Bryants size and speed make teams think twice before running the ball toward his direction. He also is the only starter remaining from the T-Birds 2010 2A state title team.RB Kai Van Sickle, sr., Capital
Dont be surprised if Van Sickle flirts with or even surpasses -- the Cougars single-season rushing mark. After what Van Sickle did as a junior (1,903 rushing yards and a school-record 380 against West Seattle), just think what the 6-foot-1, 198-pounder can do when hes 100 percent healthy. Van Sickle missed almost a month of the 2011 season with an ankle injury and a concussion. WR/RB Brad Wallace, sr., River Ridge
No matter where coach Steve Schultz puts Wallace on the field, he can burn opposing defenses. Wallace is a rarity; he will be a four-year varsity starter. Over the past two seasons, the 6-foot, 190-pounder has totaled more than 3,500 all-purpose yards. He can be seen lined up in an H-back or at slot receiver on the offensive side. Not only is he being recruited by several Big Sky Conference schools, hes also drawn interest from San Diego State for basketball.THREE GAMES TO SEE
Capital v. Tumwater, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22
When the T-Birds and Cougars meet on this Saturday matchup, it will be the 2A Evergreen Conference opener for both teams, but the winner likely will have an inside track to the league title.Timberline at North Thurston, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19
The Lacey Showdown goes back to a league game after a two-year span of a non-league contest. Dont be surprised if both teams are unbeaten in league before they meet up in Week 8. The Rams have won the past two matchups.Bellarmine at Olympia, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19
The champion of the 4A Narrows League has come down to the Bears and Lions the past two years, and likely will again when the two teams meet in Week 8. Olympia has claimed three of the past five league titles, and look to avenge last years close 14-13 road loss at Bellarmine. -- Meg Wochnick, staff writer