With input from coaches, each year The Olympian selects its All-Area football team that traditionally publishes on Thanksgiving Day.
This year, 11 schools are represented by players and coaches selected to the All-Area first team.
The 32 spots, broken down by leagues, are 3A South Sound Conference (12), 2A Evergreen Conference (11), 2B Central League (four), 2A South Puget Sound League (three) and 4A South Puget Sound League (two).
All published statistics include every game a team has played through the state quarterfinals.
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PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Player of the year, 5-11, 185, senior
The 3A SSC MVP was a threat to score every time he touched the ball — and he had the ball a lot. Timberline’s dual threat at running back and safety led the Blazers to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, collecting 1,200 rushing yards on 201 attempts and reaching the end zone 10 times. He rushed for more than 100 yards in six games, with a career-high 177 on 19 carries against Black Hills in the season opener. Two of his four interceptions he returned for TDs (36 and 55 yards), and he added 61 tackles (six for losses). Scored Timberline’s final TD of the season — and of his own career — on a 7-yard reception just before time expired against Bellevue.
Best moment of 2017 season: “The game-winning touchdown in the first round of the state playoffs. After being down for most of that game, and then in the last minute coming back and winning that game was huge for us. Moving on for the first time in over 10 years into the (quarterfinals), that was huge. Our motto is, ‘One heart. One team.’ Someone else made the play, but it was for the whole team and what we all worked for up to that point.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Coach of the year
Shaw helped Rainier end a state-playoff drought that lasted 26 years by taking the Mountaineers to the first round for the first time since 1991. Rainier opened the 2017 season with three consecutive shutouts, and five straight wins, and routed Wahkiakum, 47-7, in the district-playoff round. Shaw has led the Mountaineers to at least the district playoffs in four of the past five seasons.
Best moment of 2017 season: “One is making it to the state playoffs, beating Wahkiakum and getting Rainier there for the first time in 26 years. Second would be the end of our Morton-White Pass game. We were down by one point, and we needed to either tie it up or go for 2. Went in the huddle, asked the guys, ‘Are you ready to do this?’ They said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for 2.’ They did what needed to be done to win the game, and we won 41-40.”
The T-Birds are in the semifinals for the fifth time in six years, and the 15th time in program history. Hinkle, now in his 31st season coaching at Tumwater, has been there for all of them. The T-Birds’ offense is seemingly unstoppable every season, and this one is no exception. Tumwater is averaging 41 points and 341 rushing yards per game. Tumwater’s coaching staff was named the 2A EvCo staff of the year after winning its eighth consecutive undefeated league title.
Best moment of 2017 season: “For me it was after the early-season losses, and the team coming back together and rebounding. We’ve been very successful since then. It was nice to see this group of kids come together and play well.”
Weeks has spent 32 of his 37 seasons coaching high school football at Tumwater, and is making his 15th trip to the semifinals with the T-Birds. He has called plays the past three seasons with Hinkle, and has the green machine that is Tumwater’s wing-T as refined as ever. The T-Birds have collected 4,095 rushing yards on 592 attempts, and racked up 496 points.
Best moment of 2017 season: “For me it was beating Lynden in the last quarter, on the last play of the game, where we actually drove their whole team into the end zone. It was the thrill of just beating Lynden, who we’ve always had a hard time beating.”
Timberline’s defense was one of the most dominant in the state, allowing 43.9 yards rushing per game before the state quarterfinals, with Mullen back coaching after a two-year absence. The Blazers posted two shutouts, and didn’t give up more than two touchdowns to an opponent until the playoffs. Timberline reached the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, and was undefeated before losing to Bellevue. The Blazers won back-to-back 3A SSC titles, beating Peninsula in the league championship game for the second straight season.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Being able to come back this year with this group of seniors who were freshman when I had to step down — when I became the AD — is very memorable. Michael Barnes and Conner Warick were my ball boys when they were younger. Coming through TCYFL, I remember all of those kids, and that was a good time to come back to see those guys out for their last year (after) being with them for so long. They’re my guys.”
Quarterback, 5-10, 190, junior
Before an injury cut his season short, the 3A SSC second-team selection helped the Tornados reach the district playoffs for the first time since 2006. Led the lower South Sound in passing while he was healthy, finishing 87 of 165 for 1,578 yards and 14 TDs. Rushed for another 352 yards on 65 carries and seven scores.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Beating Capital and securing a playoff spot. It was a really special moment, everybody was cheering, the coaches were going crazy. We haven’t made the playoffs in a long time, and we just wanted to prove to everybody that we were a good team.”
Running back, 5-8, 185, senior
A workhorse if there ever was one, Kirk was the main source of offense for the Rams. The 3A SSC first-team selection churned out 1,004 yards on 225 carries, and scored more than half of North Thurston’s TDs with 10. Two-way player was also a 3A SSC second-team selection at linebacker.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Definitely my last game of the season. I broke my 1,000 yards. It was super cool. My coach called timeout and we stopped the game for a second and all went and celebrated. Just watching the clock tick down to zero, that was the end of my high school career. And, of course just crying and hugging my brothers. I’ll never forget that.”
Running back, 5-9, 145, sophomore
Youngest player on this year’s Olympian All-Area team is also the lower South Sound’s leading rusher — and it’s not close. Quick and deceptively powerful, the 2A EvCo first-team selection has rushed for 1,454 yards on 257 carries entering the state semifinals, and caught another 10 passes for 128 yards. The explosive fullback has 24 total TDs.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Probably against Lynden. It was fourth-and-8 and we needed to get the first down to seal the game. I remember I got the ball, and I got stopped 4 yards downfield, and then my team came behind me and pushed me the rest of the way for the first down, and that won us the game.”
Multi-purpose, 5-10, 190, senior
Was a triple-threat for the Tornados, and the biggest key on offense entering the playoffs following quarterback Kyle Robinson’s injury. The multifaceted running back rushed for 1,018 yards on 148 carries and scored 16 TDs, and caught 17 passes for another 121 yards and two scores. The 3A SSC offensive MVP also pitched in as a defensive back, and on special teams, adding 28.1 yards per punt return.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Probably camp. It brought us together. Just sleeping over together, we just got so close, and it was just a great experience.”
All-purpose, 5-10, 165, junior
Versatile, explosive and a constant big-play threat, the 2A SPSL Sound first-team defensive back scored at least once in each phase of the game. At quarterback, he finished 58 of 101 for 805 yards and seven TDs, and rushed for another 520 yards on 46 carries and eight scores. At safety he recorded 41 tackles and two interceptions — including one he returned for a 94-yard TD. And, on special teams, he returned 12 kickoffs for 287 yards. He scored on one kickoff (87 yards) and one punt (41).
Best moment of 2017 season: “When I got WIAA player of the week. The opening kickoff (against Franklin Pierce) I had a kickoff return for 87 yards. Later on, I had a pick-6 for (94) yards.”
Wide receiver, 6-0, 175, senior
Found ways to make an impact in one of the toughest leagues in the state. Second-team 4A SPSL selection led the league in yards per catch (23.5), recording 24 catches for 565 yards and three TDs. Was a 4A SPSL honorable mention selection on defense, too. The free safety led all defensive backs with 65 tackles.
Best moment of 2017 season: “The game against Bellarmine. It was just super exciting, the fans were into it, everyone was into it. Making big plays, it was a memorable game.”
Wide receiver, 6-2, 185, junior
Led the lower South Sound in receiving for the second consecutive season, and was the only local to record more than 1,000 yards. The two-time Olympian All-Area and 3A SSC first-team selection finished with 57 catches for 1,066 yards and 12 TDs. Had six games with 100 or more receiving yards, and four with multiple TDs.
Best moment of 2017 season: “The thing that definitely stuck with me was senior night (honoring) Chris Heay, who passed away with cancer last year. We honored him and brought out his jersey with all of the other seniors. That stuck with me because he was a big part of our family that couldn’t be with us.”
H-back, 6-3, 225, senior
A two-way nightmare for opposing teams with a knack for making big plays at crucial times. Was named the 3A SSC defensive MVP as the leading force of a Timberline defense that allowed 43.9 yards per game on the ground entering the state quarterfinals. The linebacker finished with 91 tackles (18 for losses), eight sacks and had a 55-yard interception return for a TD. Offensively, he barreled through defenders on his way to four rushing TDs, and had two more TDs on 157 receiving yards.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Winning back-to-back league titles. The excitement in that game and the intensity in that game (against Peninsula) was high.”
Offensive lineman, 6-0, 250, senior
The next Bowes to be named an Olympian All-Area lineman after his older brother, Camren, was a two-time selection. The younger Bowes has an aptitude for the game, Timberline coach Nick Mullen said, and made the Blazers’ offensive line click. The 3A SSC first-teamer didn’t allow any sacks, and had 78 pancake blocks for an offense that rushed for more than 2,700 yards.
Best moment of 2017 season: “That would be the Peninsula game for me, beating them pretty handily and winning another league championship. It was just a fun game being out there with all of my teammates.”
Offensive lineman, 6-0, 245, junior
Quickness and a desire to win makes him one of the best players on the field in every game, River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said. The 2A SPSL Sound defensive player of the year recorded 57 tackles (seven for losses) and three sacks at linebacker. And his commanding presence on the offensive line helped the Hawks score 33 offensive TDs.
Best moment of 2017 season: “My most memorable moment this season was the Eatonville game. We lost, but we had a lot of good plays going on, and I made a lot of tackles that game as well.”
Offensive lineman, 6-3, 255, senior
Two-time Olympian All-Area selection was also the 2A EvCo MVP. Blocks for an offense that has tallied more than 4,000 rushing yards, and is averaging 41 points per game entering the state semifinals. Dominant two-way lineman has added another 65 tackles (eight for losses), two fumble recoveries and a sack. Also the defending 2A state heavyweight champion in wrestling.
Best moment of 2017 season: “At camp, when the coaches said we couldn’t have our players-only meeting. So, instead we threw a dance party in the dorm room lobby. It was really fun. Somebody just had a strobe light randomly, and we had a dance party. It was awesome.”
Offensive lineman, 6-4, 240, senior
The 3A SSC lineman of the year was relentless on both sides of the ball for the Blazers. Had 51 pancake blocks for an offense that averaged nearly 230 rushing yards per game. On defense, he had 54 tackles (21 for losses), six sacks and two blocked punts — one which he converted into an 18-yard TD.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Definitely beating Kamiakin. Defending 3A state champions, that’s definitely (who) you want to play. And just winning such an exciting game, a game-winning catch by JJ (Graham), it was probably the best feeling I had.”
Offensive lineman, 6-3, 235, senior
Two-way veteran played center, defensive end and defensive tackle for the Bears — and could play almost any position, coach Steve Davis says. Two-time 4A SPSL first-team selection at offensive line was a first-team defensive lineman this season, too, finishing with 38 tackles, five sacks and four tackles for losses.
Best moment of 2017 season: “My most memorable moment was probably beating Bellarmine at their home opener on their new field. The crowd atmosphere was crazy, and they’re one of our biggest rivals.”
Defensive lineman, 5-10, 200, senior
Led the Hawks in tackles with 66 (including 12 for losses), and recovered two fumbles, one of which he returned for a 63-yard TD against Orting. The 2A SPSL Sound first-team selection, River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said, was key in helping the Hawks reach the state playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Best moment of 2017 season: “My most memorable moment was my only touchdown on the defensive line. It was just a strip off the quarterback. I just picked it up and it was (63 yards).”
Defensive lineman, 6-0, 215, senior
Big presence up front for a Mountaineers defense that shut out its first three opponents, and finished the season allowing just 17 points per game as part of the most competitive 2B leagues in the state. The 2B Central Mountain co-defensive MVP finished with 72 tackles (42 solo) and 25 tackles for losses. Also recorded three sacks.
Best moment of 2017 season: “The last play versus Morton-White Pass. We were up 41-40, and I broke through the line and sacked the quarterback with no time left on the clock.”
Defensive lineman, 6-3, 230, senior
Physical with a knack for wreaking havoc in the backfield, the 2A EvCo defensive MVP has 62 tackles (seven for losses) and six sacks entering the state semifinals. Has also recorded a safety, blocked kick, fumble recovery and returned an interception 39 yards for a TD against Columbia River. Part of a T-Birds defense allowing just 12 points per game.
Best moment of 2017 season: “My most memorable moment was in Week 2. We played Columbia River and I had an interception (late in) the game. They threw it my way, it was a low pass. I caught it and ran for a touchdown.”
Defensive lineman, 6-0, 230, senior
Anchored the front seven for the Wolves, and was a critical piece during their return to the state playoffs. Despite being routinely double- and triple-teamed, the two-time 2A EvCo first-team selection on the defensive line, and two-way lineman for Black Hills, finished with 34 solo tackles, 22 assists, seven tackles for losses, four sacks and blocked three kicks.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Week 3, blocking a punt against Prairie when we were down (14-0), and recovering it in the end zone.”
Linebacker, 5-11, 185, senior
A big reason why the Bearcats allowed just two touchdowns per game during the regular season. First-team 2A EvCo selection tripled the number of tackles anyone else on W.F. West’s roster had, finishing with 79 solo tackles and 48 assists. Also had two fumble recoveries and an interception in helping the Bearcats reach the state playoffs.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Beating Woodland in our crossover game. I had two sacks and a pick.”
Linebacker, 6-0, 195, junior
Dominant force on defense recorded a team-high 106 solo tackles for a Yelm team that ended a long district-playoff drought this season. Was a big presence around the 3A SSC, too. First-team selection at linebacker led the league in tackles for losses (17) and sacks (nine).
Best moment of 2017 season: “Doing the blue-out (for former classmate Nya Kabouni). It was really fun. We got balloons and then we got to release (them), and it was for a really good cause. We had a friend pass who had cancer, so it was really cool raising awareness. You could just see the stands filled with blue.”
Linebacker, 6-2, 220, senior
Two-time Olympian All-Area selection was a two-way force for the Mountaineers, and helped key their first state-playoff trip in 26 years. Was a 2B Central Mountain first-team selection at running back and linebacker, and finished with 95 carries for 768 yards and seven TDs in eight games. Added 47 tackles and five sacks on defense despite teams trying to run the opposite direction.
Defensive back, 5-11, 190, senior
One of the best defensive backs Tumwater coach Bill Beattie says he’s coached in three decades. The 2A EvCo first-teamer, who transferred from Olympia this season, has 36 tackles (six for losses), five interceptions (two he returned for TDs) and a fumble recovery. A threat in every phase with 61 carries for 553 yards and 15 TDs, and another 94-yard kickoff return for a score.
Best moment of 2017 season: “The first game playing as a T-Bird against Franklin Pierce. It was just a different experience and awesome to be a part of. I came from Olympia High School, transferred this year, and it’s been great so far.”
Defensive back, 6-2, 220, junior
The scariest thing about this two-way threat? He’ll be back next year. The 3A SSC first-team selection at defensive back tallied 74 tackles (10 for losses), six interceptions, five sacks and three fumble recoveries. He scored three defensive touchdowns, including interception returns against Bonney Lake (3 yards) and Central Kitsap (31), and a fumble recovery against Stadium (28). Was also reliable in short-yardage situations, barreling for two rushing TDs in Timberline’s league title win over Peninsula.
Best moment of 2017 season: “When we beat the defending state champs, Kamiakin, during the last six seconds of the game. We were the underdogs in that game, and no one thought we were going to win it. When we won it, we pretty much shocked the world.”
Defensive back, 6-0, 180, junior
Rainier’s do-everything player did just about everything. He was 17 of 41 passing at quarterback for 450 yards and eight TDs, had another 910 rushing yards on 98 carries for 17 TDs, and recorded 30 tackles and six interceptions at free safety. His five TDs against Wahkiakum sent Rainier to the state playoffs for the first time since 1991, and his eight TDs against Chief Leschi set a program record. First-team 2B Central Mountain selection at quarterback, and second-team selection at defensive back.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Most definitely winning our first crossover game. It was very exciting. Me and Ian (Russell) looked at each other on the sideline like, ‘We're about to win this game.’ ”
Defensive back, 5-11, 180, senior
The two-time 2A EvCo first-team selection at defensive back was the vocal leader of the secondary for the Wolves. Recorded 66 solo tackles, 40 assists, broke up seven passes, had one interception and forced a fumble. Was key for Black Hills in the seven games that came down to the last possession, also chipping in at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
Best moment of 2017 season: “When our coaching staff decided to put in a Wildcat package with me running it. ... I’d never played quarterback, but I had some experience at running back, wide receiver and I knew the plays, so they decided to put me in at Wildcat to try to get the offensive side of the ball moving.”
Kicker, 5-11, 150, senior
Steady and reliable, Tumwater’s trusted kicker has already made six field goals in the state playoffs — three apiece in the first round and quarterfinals — to help the T-Birds reach the semifinals. The two-time 2A EvCo first-teamer has kicked 10 field goals this season, with a long of 42 yards, and is 45 of 49 on PAT attempts.
Best moment of 2017 season: “Definitely the second game against Steilacoom. Before the end of the first half, I was watching how hard the team was driving down the field to get into field goal range, and then (I kicked) the 39-yard field goal.”
Kicker, 6-0, 180, senior
Soccer player turned place kicker was one of the most consistent in the area in his first season. The 3A SSC special teams selection connected on all five of his field goal attempts — hitting a season-long 28 yards four times. He was 47 of 52 on PAT attempts, and his PAT just before time expired against Bellevue in the state quarterfinals was Timberline’s final point of the season.
Best moment of 2017 season: “My most memorable moment throughout the season I’d have to say is suiting up with my brothers every week and becoming part of the family. Becoming part of the family and showing the love is definitely close to my heart.”
Punter, 6-3, 185, senior
Proven punter doubled as a quarterback for the Tigers in his final season. The two-time Olympian All-Area selection and two-time 2A EvCo first-teamer at punter averaged 44 yards per attempt.
Quarterback: Hunter Campau, Timberline, junior; Grant Erickson, Capital, junior; Nole Wollan, W.F. West, senior; Ketner Young, Olympia, senior
Running back: Taitum Brumfield, Elma, junior; Lonnie Anderson, Timberline, junior; Jakob Holbrook, Tumwater, senior; Maleko Mina, River Ridge, junior
Wide receiver: Jack Collard, Capital, senior; Kodee Gifford, Yelm, junior; Jace Griffis, Tenino, junior; Austin Osso, Yelm, junior
Tight end: Thomas Drayton, Tumwater, junior; Leandre Gaines, W.F. West, sophomore
Offensive line: Kai Burgman, North Thurston, junior; Damian Hernandez, Yelm, senior; Mathew Lund, Tumwater, senior; Jack Mallonee, W.F. West, senior; Ben Slaymaker, Rochester, senior
Multi-purpose: Owen Shea, Olympia, senior; Cody Vollan, Elma, sophomore
All-purpose: Jose Pineda, Centralia, senior; Kade Weitzel, Black Hills, senior
Defensive line: Justin Jerenz-Mapu, Timberline, senior; Jacob Pati, Tumwater, senior; Herbert Polu, River Ridge, junior; Tyrick Weyrauch, Tenino, senior
Linebacker: Ty Edmond, Timberline, senior; Isaac Muckian, Olympia, senior; Nate Tyler, Capital, senior
Defensive back: Tyson Guerrero, W.F. West, senior; Jacob McCown, Yelm, senior; Alex Morris, Yelm, senior; Colton Steepy, Timberline, junior
Kicker: Cory Davis, W.F. West, senior
Punter: Tyson Holloway, Olympia, senior