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Originally published August 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM | Page modified August 31, 2014 at 8:45 PM

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2014 prep football preview: KingCo 4A

After losing a heartbreaker to Bellarmine Prep 20-17 in overtime in the 4A state quarterfinals, No. 1 Bothell is loaded and seeking to return to the title game for the first time since falling in both the 2006 and 2007 finals.


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THE DIFFERENCE-MAKERS

Ross Bowers

QB, 6-2, 180, Sr., Bothell

California commit is expected to make another jump leading the Cougars’ offense after averaging 216 yards per game passing in 2013.

Blue Thomas

QB, 6-0, 170, Sr., Eastlake

Dual-threat quarterback is unquestioned leader of high-powered Wolves’ offense. Thomas was No. 3 in total offense (226.2 yards per game), averaging 8 yards per play.

Calvin Throckmorton

OT-DL, 6-6, 280, Sr., Newport (Bellevue)

ESPN 3-star recruit and Oregon commit makes the Knights much tougher in the trenches.

Sam McPherson

RB, 5-10, 190, Sr., Bothell

Another big year expected for Bothell’s playmaker, who led KingCo 4A in all-purpose yards (1,640) and was second in TDs (20).

Derek Loville

WR/S, 6-4, 195, Sr., Skyline

Spartans’ big target gathered steam in recruiting game, coming off 32-catch season with 437 yards and 5 TDs in just 7 KingCo 4A games. Son of former Oregon and NFL player, Derek Loville.

Chris Schlichting

OT/DL, 6-6, 292, Sr., Mount Si

Montana commit is big reason Wildcats can handle jump from KingCo 3A/2A to KingCo 4A; gives ‘Cats some punch up front.

Paul Wells

RB/CB, 5-10, 170, Sr., Newport

Knights’ reliable runner gets to follow an experienced offensive line. He could top his totals from last season — 1,085 all-purpose yards, 700 rushing yards, 16 TDs. Also first-team KingCo 4A Crown as a cornerback.

Cameron Saffle

OT/LB, 6-4, 230, Sr., Skyline

Senior captain provides the attitude at linebacker and some push up front on offense. Named first team All-KingCo 4A Crown at linebacker and second team at offensive tackle.

STORY LINES

Blue Train’s turn?

After losing a heartbreaker to Bellarmine Prep, 20-17 in overtime in the 4A state quarterfinals, No. 1 Bothell is loaded and seeking to return to the title game for the first time since falling in both the 2006 and 2007 finals. The Cougars fell to Skyline 31-26 in the 2009 4A state semifinals.

Spartans’ line experience could buoy new QB

Coach Mat Taylor is confident junior Blake Gregory, Skyline’s first-year starter at quarterback, will settle in with returning depth all around him. The Spartans, who fell 26-20 to Federal Way in the first round of the 4A state playoffs last fall, go for the school’s eighth state title in football and first since 2012. Skyline returns most of its players on the offensive and defensive line, its top three running backs and a stable of talented and experienced receivers.

Wildcats try to prove they belong

After going 17-4 in KingCo 3A/2A and 20-4 overall the past two seasons, Mount Si jumps from 3A to 4A and the learning curve could be strong against Bothell, Skyline and Eastlake.

THE CAN’T-MISS GAMES

Sept. 19: Skyline at Mount Si, 7 p.m.

• High stakes early on. Winner is likely to inherit challenger role to KingCo 4A favorite Bothell.

Oct. 17: Bothell at Skyline, 7 p.m.

• A showdown of perennial Eastside powers could feature two undefeated teams.

Oct. 31: Eastlake at Skyline, 7 p.m.

• Two high-powered offenses are sure to light up the scoreboard for Sammamish Plateau bragging rights; could be a wild night.

COACHES POLL

Predicted order of finish in KingCo 4A, based on a survey of league coaches, with 10 points for first-place vote, nine for second, etc. (first-place votes in parentheses). Coaches not allowed to vote for their own teams and voted within their own division only.

School, 2013, Points (1st-place votes)

1. Bothell, 9-3, 79 (7)

2. Skyline, 9-2, 73 (2)

3. Mount Si, 9-2, 63

4. Eastlake, 9-3, 62

5. Newport, 8-3, 46

6. Woodinville, 5-4, 46

7. Issaquah, 6-4, 44

8. Redmond, 5-4, 29

9. Inglemoor, 2-8, 27

Matt Massey



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