With fall camp officially underway, and football season within sight, what better way to get prepared for the 2022 season than reading some of Chronicle staffers' most educated season predictions?
In this edition of The Chronicle’s preseason roundtable, Alec Dietz, Josh Kirshenbaum, and Aaron VanTuyl pick who they think has the best shot at a deep run at state and a title. You can read the trios’ most anticipated game here, and their all-area MVP favorite here.
Alec’s Pick: Napavine
Hard to pick against the Tigers here. The talent Napavine brought back from a team that was mere minutes away from a state championship last season is immeasurable.
The size and strength of the Tigers’ offensive and defensive lines will again be on display, where in 2021 they constantly overpowered and outmatched league opponents that weren’t too shabby themselves. 2022 should be more of the same, with Ashton Demarest returning to quarterback an offense with playmakers all over the field.
With some question marks across the league and new players tasked with stepping up at other 2B powerhouses in the Central 2B, Napavine is the surest bet to represent once again in the state championship.
Josh’s Pick: Tumwater
Sorry for not being the most daring here so far, but… yeah. Alec went with one of the area’s teams to make it to its respective state title game, and I’m going to go with the other.
Tumwater, which fell to Lynden in the 2A championship last December, will have to reload after losing 30 seniors to graduation. Out of all the talent they’ll have to replace, though, the Thunderbirds are set to return quarterback Alex Overbay, and even in their run-centered system, that counts for a fair bit. They’ll also bring back Carlos Matheney, who led the squad in carries last season and finished just behind Payton Hoyt in rushing yards.
A non-conference slate that includes a matchup against North Kitsap and a trip to 3A Kelso will give an early indication of how this season will go. There are definitely plenty of gaps to fill and a few upset-minded squads in the 2A EvCo, but until we see otherwise, Tumwater is never a team to ignore when it comes to the state playoff picture.
Now that those two teams are off the board, I want to see who Aaron goes with…
Aaron’s Pick: Onalaska
These two newbies can make the easy picks. Much like the Logger offense, I’ll be stubborn and take the path of most resistance.
Are they in the toughest division of the toughest league in the state? Yes. Are they coming off a season in which they started 2-5 and puzzlingly went 6-6 en route to the state semifinals? Yes. Are they all out of Haight children to plug in at fullback and ride for 30 carries a game? Also yes.
But, like every spam email we’ve read in the last two years says, we’re living in unprecedented times. In the face of uncertainty, I like a little stability, and the Loggers are the treasury bonds of 2B football: They’ll run the same three or four plays behind a line of five adult-sized teenagers and after every snap you’ll see a return of 4 yards.
At this point it doesn’t matter who’s getting the carries or who’s throwing the pass. The Loggers will perennially have a chip on their shoulder, a frown on their face and a deep playoff run on their calendar.