Scouting Okanogan: The more things change, the more they stay the same


It’s groundhog day in the 2B football world…


Saturday at Husky Stadium, the Napavine football team will play Okanogan for all of the 2B marbles for the fourth time in the past decade. It’s the vaunted matchup that most people saw coming ever since Ashton Demarest took his final kneel down a year (minus one day) ago at Harry E. Lang Stadium, to seal the Tigers’ win over the Bulldogs in the last title game.

As SBLive reported, when Josh Fay crossed the field to shake Okanogan coach Erick Judd’s hand following that game, he simply told counterpart that they would see each other next year,

“I like playing them,” Fay said. “I told the kids on Monday, I think they’re kind of like looking in the mirror. Maybe not style-wise, but in terms of the program and the things they do to put themselves in this position are really similar to the things we do.”

And this year the Bulldogs, much like the Tiger, look pretty similar to where they were at last season.

After graduating a couple key pieces, including leading tailback Johny Swartzel, Judde made a bit of an unusual decision, moving star quarterback Carter Kuchenbuch out to tight end, to provide more of a downfield threat. The change lasted about a month, and ever since, Kuchenbuch — all 6 feet, 5 inches of him — have been back under center, where he’s racked up touchdowns and 918 rushing yards in the Bulldogs’ run-first offense.

Okanogan also brings back tailback Steele Rico, who’s run for 602 yards, to complement lead back David Huffstetler, who has 868. 

“I think we have some familiarity, but the difference for them is that the Swartzel kid is gone, and they’ve changed a bit up front,” Fay said. “You throw those things out, and I think it’s a lot of similarities.”

The Bulldogs’ biggest strength, though, may be their defense, which has allowed just six points since September, with six shutouts in its past seven games.