2017 ALL-CITY FOOTBALL TEAMS A stellar season of outstanding football by Tacoma’s best

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While many of the faces have changed from last year’s Tacoma Weekly All-City Team, the journey of each Tacoma high school football team looked rather similar this season. While no gridiron squad will be playing for a state championship trophy at the Tacoma Dome, yet again, the folks around Tacoma were blessed with some exciting and quality football for a few months.

Tacoma has sent several teams to the playoffs in recent years, and it’s no mystery as to who has been the top dog around Grit City during this stretch. Lincoln head coach Masaki Matsumoto inherited a program on the rise after Jon Kitna left for the Lone Star State. Many wondered about where the chips were going to fall with a new boss on the job.

When Lincoln captured the 3A Pierce County League championship this season, it was their fourth outright title in a row, and the third for a Matsumoto squad. The Abes have made the state tournament field of 16 in each of his seasons, while amassing an impressive 28-6 record overall.

Every year, Lincoln graduates a bevy of stud football players. Many of them have headed off to play at the collegiate level. After losing some of the best talent Tacoma has seen in a long time, it’s been fairly logical to think that the Lincoln football program may take a dip the following season.

That has yet to happen under Matsumoto, and with the young talent on this year’s team, it’s a safe bet that they’ll be the favorite to take a fifth consecutive title next fall.

The Abes’ two losses this season were at the hands of O’Dea by two points in the season opener, and Garfield by a last second field goal in the state quarterfinals. O’Dea will be playing for the 3A state championship at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, Dec.1. The Abes are no longer “getting close” to the upper-echelon of 3A football. They are considered part of the club now.

After losing some exceptional talent from last season, the Stadium Tigers looked to ride a bit of that positive energy that came with a first-ever appearance in the state playoffs. By mid-season, the Tigers were sitting at 4-1 and the season finale against the Abes was looking like it could be a matchup for all the marbles. Instead, the Tigers suffered three straight heartbreakers which derailed any league title talk.

However, the Tigers were able to keep their claws on the fourth spot in the standings and earned the school’s second state playoff berth in the modern era. The Tigers would fall to powerhouse Timberline in their playoff opener.

Bellarmine fielded a team that was better than their 6-4 final record. The 4A South Puget Sound League was an absolute beast. With Puyallup, Graham-Kapowsin and Sumner leading the way, the race for the fourth, and final, playoff spot came down to the final night of the regular season. The Lions would have to pull off an upset over a Puyallup squad that had already sewn up the league title. An early-season 28-21 loss to Olympia made the game a do-or-die situation for Bellarmine. In the end, the Lions had the ball, but ran out of time on the scoreboard, falling 35-28.

There was one other state tournament team out of the City of Destiny, and it was the smallest of the bunch. Tacoma Baptist, playing in their second season at the 1B (8-man) level, was trying to rekindle the spark that led them to an undefeated regular season last year. It would prove more difficult, as the Crusaders were playing under first-year coach Steve Stone, and missing some big time contributors from last season.

At midseason, the Crusaders sat at 3-3, including a forfeit win. By season’s end, they had found their groove and entered the playoffs hitting on all cylinders. After suffering a 58-28 defeat to eventual league champion Quilcene a month prior, the Crusaders met the undefeated Rangers in the round of 16 and pulled off a huge 54-38 upset. The Crusaders would eventually fall to Lummi Nation in the quarterfinals 62-42.

Now, let’s take a look at our All-City team selection process.

The majority of all-star teams have first-team, second-team and honorable-mention selections. We do it differently here at your Tacoma Weekly.

We’ve found that there are usually too many players named to a second team that are just as deserving of a first-team reward. However, in reality there is only so many slots available to fill.

We feel that our process is much better and altogether a fair shake for the athletes who have worked so hard for their respective teams.

The Tacoma Weekly gathers together the best of the best from the 4A SPSL, 3A PCL, 2A SPSL, 2B Pacific and 1B Sea-Tac Leagues. All of the first, second and honorable-mention selections are put into a draft pool and then we select one player, back and forth, for each All-City team. Our result is two teams of all-stars made up of the best football players the City of Destiny had to offer this season.

We’ve also decided to continue naming the teams the Grit City Grinders and the Commencement Bay Blitz, since they capture the local flavor. We’re pretty sure that if the two teams were to face one another on the gridiron, it would be a battle for the ages.

GRIT CITY GRINDERS

OFFENSE

QB       HUNTER WENDLING.   STADIUM        SR.

QB       PJ TALEN                    TAC. BAPTIST  SR.

RB       TRISTIAN KWON         LINCOLN         SR.

RB       DERRION SUMMERS    BELLARMINE   SO.

WR      XAVIER MASON           STADIUM        JR.

WR      JULIEN SIMON            LINCOLN         FR.

WR      CHE ROGERS              STADIUM        SR.

TE        SILOI TUIALUULUU     MT. TAHOMA   SR.

OL        GIOVONNI WHITE.      LINCOLN.       JR.

OL        JOSH HANIGAN          BELLARMINE   SR.

OL        EZEKIEL SAYAVONG   LINCOLN         SR.

OL        DANIEL TAUAESE       STADIUM        JR.

OL        THOMAS JACOBS       WILSON          JR.

OL        FIA MAUTATIA           LINCOLN         SR.

K          PAUL HURT               WILSON          SR.

DEFENSE

DL        DANIEL TAUAESE       STADIUM        JR.

DL        JAYDEN SIMON          LINCOLN         JR.

DL        JOSIAH VAIOLO         WILSON          SR.

DL        JORDAN UBALDO       MT. TAHOMA    SR.

LB        ALEX GILLIES            LINCOLN         SR.

LB        RICKY MULIFI            WILSON          SR.

LB        JOEL SOURICHANH    STADIUM         JR.

DB       CHRISTIAN BROWN    BELLARMINE    SR.

DB       KAVON HOLDEN         LINCOLN          SR.

DB       DAVION GAINES        STADIUM          JR.

DB       MOSE FASAVALU        LINCOLN          SR.

 

COMMENCEMENT BAY BLITZ

OFFENSE

QB       JAYLEN ANTOINE        LINCOLN         SR.

QB       CADEN FILER             LINCOLN         SO.

RB       NAZJE BRISCOE         STADIUM         JR.

RB       AUSTIN MOEUNG       LINCOLN          SR.

WR      NICK GOSS               LINCOLN          SR.

WR      CHRISTIAN BROWN   BELLARMINE     SR.

WR      KOFI GOSEER            HENRY FOSS     SR.

TE        SAM BEHNKE            BELLARMINE     SR.

OL        GIOVONNI WHITE     LINCOLN           SR.

OL        BAILEY ELDER           STADIUM          JR.

OL        JAYDEN SIMON          LINCOLN          JR.

OL        CAMERON JACKSON   MT. TAHOMA     SR.

OL        ELUID KARIUKI          WILSON           SR.

K          GABRIEL FOSTER       LINCOLN          JR.

DEFENSE

DL        CHASE CHANDLER     BELLARMINE    SR.

DL        EZEKIEL SAYAVONG   LINCOLN         SR.

DL        CALEB HOWARD        WILSON          SR.

LB        TESHAWN SEU          LINCOLN          SR.

LB        NIULAVA MOEGU       MT. TAHOMA     SR.

LB        TIM JENSEN              BELLARMINE     JR.

LB        ISAIAH SALEVAO       LINCOLN          SR.

DB       DEMETRIUS CROSBY  HENRY FOSS    SR.

DB       TRISTIAN KWON        LINCOLN          SR.

DB       CHE ROGERS             STADIUM         SR.

DB       JORDAN ROBBINS      WILSON          SR.

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