After a return to a normal fall football season — with some stops and restarts along the way — here is SBLive’s all-classification, all-state team in the state Washington for fall 2021.
Our guiding criteria:
1. Individual performance and accolades.
2. Success of team held considerable weight in selections.
3. A player was only eligible at one position.
4. Players selected for inclusive individual awards (also below) did not double on all-state team.
SBLIVE’S 2021 ALL-STATE FOOTBALL TEAMS
ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback: Jackson Esary, Kalama, sr. (2B)
There may not be a game that sums up his decorated prep career as well as his last. Despite an injured throwing shoulder, he threw for 216 yards rushed for 82 more and led the game-winning touchdown drive to beat Napavine in state title game, bringing the Chinooks to its third title in the last four seasons. In total, the 6-foot-3 dual-threat signal-caller tossed for 2,720 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, with 1,101 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on his feet.
Running back: Jayden Limar, Lake Stevens, jr. (4A)
The 5-11, 185-pound rusher backed up why power-five programs are lining up for his talents. The rock of the offense helped the Vikings reach the state title game for the second time in three seasons. He even stepped under center and ran the Wildcat to keep the Vikings’ state title run alive when quarterback Grayson Murren went down with a leg fracture. Finished with 1,918 total yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.
Running back: Myles Mayovsky, Kennewick, sr. (3A)
The workhorse, the heart and the soul behind the Lions’ 3A state runner-up finish, Mayovsky, who helped the team reach the 3A semifinals as a sophomore, accounted for 2,351 yards of total offense and 26 touchdowns and was a feature in one of the state’s top linebacking corps. His final touchdown was a fitting end to a decorated career — he turned a short pass into a 67-yard score to pull Kennewick within arms reach late in the title game.
Running back: William Wang, Bellevue, sr. (4A)
A soft-spoken leader, Wang let his play do the talking as the leader of the Wolverines’ wing-T rush attack, totaling 2,081 yards and 27 touchdowns in a 14-0 season, including 243 and two touchdowns in a state title-winning effort — all the more impressive considering his balancing act of a 4.0 GPA and viola practice.
Wide receiver: Jordan Dwyer, Puyallup, sr. (4A)
A playmaker all over the field, Dwyer was a defense’s nightmare downfield as a pass-catcher and slippery with the ball in his hands. The favorite target of first-year starter Micah Balzarini, Dwyer, who has a flurry of Big Sky offers, helped Puyallup return to the 4A state playoffs.
Wide receiver: Julian Mason, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (4A)
When Eagles needed a splash play on the perimeter, they usually looked for zig-zagging No. 1, the co-4A SPSL MVP. He finished with 65 catches, 993 yards, eight TDs.
Wide receiver: Kyler Ronquillo, Yelm, jr. (3A)
Followed up a breakout sophomore season with a tremendous junior year, earning 3A South Sound Conference offensive MVP honors after posting 684 yards receiving and eight total touchdowns in the regular season to help the Tornados reach the quarterfinals. Coach’s son is lightning-quick and plays bigger than his 5-10 frame.
Tight end: Jack Velling, Seattle Prep, sr. (3A)
The Oregon State signee can block and catch passes and proved to be a load to bring down as one of the most dynamic downfield threats in the Metro League. Caught 57 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns.
Offensive lineman: Vega Ioane, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (4A)
The lead dog in the interior on an-time dominant Washington high school offensive line, the 6-foot-4, 320 pound Ioane is a former Husky commit just reopened his recruitment.
Offensive lineman: David Iuli, Puyallup, sr. (4A)
Four-star lineman and recent de-commit from Oregon anchored a sturdy Vikings front. He’s the No. 3 prospect in the state, per 247 Sports.
Offensive lineman: Mark Nabou, O’Dea, sr. (3A)
Jason Brown says running behind O’Dea’s line is “literal heaven” and Nabou is a big reason why. Big guy on the Irish front has been a stabilizing force for three years and helped pave the way for Brown’s prolific rushing season and caused havoc on the defensive line, too. Now he moves to the SEC with Texas A&M.
Offensive lineman: Keith Olson, Napavine, sr. (2B)
The 2B state runner-up Tigers had no issues establishing the run thanks to the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Pac-12-bound Utah signee’s leadership in establishing what was regarded as the top offensive and defensive lines in 2B.
Offensive lineman: Luka Vincic, Bothell, sr. (4A)
A two-time first team all-4A KingCo pick, Vincic anchored a line — and a locker room — with some fresh faces, helping the Cougars reach the state quarterfinals. Only nationally-ranked Collins Hill (Ga.) scored more points on undefeated Graham-Kapowsin than Bothell (25). The top-70 offensive tackle signed with Oregon State.
All-purpose: Payton Graham, Kamiakin, sr. (4A)
The complete embodiment of the term all-purpose, the Mid-Columbia Conference all-purpose player of the year does more than a little bit of everything runs the ball, is a reliable target downfield, can step in under center and patrols center field from his safety position.
Placekicker: Ethan Moczulski, Mount Spokane, sr. (3A)
No team in the state had quite the special teams advantage that Mt. Spokane did, thanks to Moczulski’s dependable 50-plus yard range and pooch and onside kick precision. He is now SEC-bound, signed to play at Texas A&M.
ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive lineman: Takari Hickle, Tenino, sr. (1A)
More than one-trick pony, Oregon State University-bound defensive end registered 12 sacks, also rushed for nearly 2,100 yards as 1A EvCo MVP senior.
Defensive lineman: Curtis Hill, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (4A)
Make no mistake, the Hill twins are the guts of the 4A champions – and this two-time 4A SPSL defensive lineman of the year just won’t let tailbacks cut loose.
Defensive lineman: Tuaoa Tauiliili, Lincoln of Tacoma, sr. (3A)
Shed 50 pounds in the offseason, and that is when the 3A PCL defensive lineman of the year’s versatility shined as a power outside rusher and interior stopper.
Defensive lineman: Peter Taoipu, Eastside Catholic, sr. (3A)
Team’s linebacking corps might be best in the state, but this interior plug occupies so much space with his massive reach and deft footwork, he makes life easy.
Linebacker: Bronson Childs, Kennewick, sr. (3A)
He has the frame of a defensive end (6-5, 225), but the cat-like moves of a safety. And the MCC defensive MVP can impact a game from anywhere – at anytime.
Linebacker: Avery Ellis, Royal, sr. (1A)
The biggest rock star in 1A is a rock in the middle of the Knights’ defense (25 tackles for loss, five sacks), and even rushed for 1,225 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Linebacker: Austin Harnetiaux, Seattle Prep, sr. (3A)
Everything he hits, he destroys – and the 3A Metro co-defensive player of the year did it often with nearly 160 tackles; will walk on at the University of Wisconsin.
Linebacker: Jairus Phillips, Camas, sr. (4A)
Along with fellow 4A GSHL defensive MVP Luke Jamison, the heartbeat of a stout Papermakers’ unit that rallied team to another league crown.
Linebacker: Taivin VanDalen, Lynden, sr. (2A)
From the middle, stopped ball carriers cold for 2A champs (123.5 tackles, five TFL), including state title game (7.5 tackles, INT) against Tumwater.
Defensive back: Drew Carter, Lake Stevens, sr. (4A)
Undisputed leader was as good a two-way playmaker as there was in state – with 10 tackles for loss on defense and 1,000-yard, 15-TD receiving effort on offense.
Defensive back: Ishaan Daniels, Bellevue, jr. (3A)
At this time next season, could be talking about this former Wolverines’ ballboy as the state’s more dynamic talent – as a cornerback and wingback.
Defensive back: Caleb Presley, Rainier Beach, jr. (3A)
After adding 35 pounds of strength for his junior season, all-Metro cornerback became arguably the most physical one-on-one pass defender in Washington.
Defensive back: Gabe Tahir, Kamiakin, jr. (4A)
Just scratching the surface of his enormous ability as a long-wingspan cover man, all-MCC performer allowed just four receptions on his watch all season.
Hybrid: Bryson Lamb, Squalicum, sr. (2A)
Talk to other coaches about the Storm’s defense, this name is brought up first at outside linebacker/pass rusher; he led Whatcom County in tackles for loss (18).
Punter: Troy Petz, Lynden, jr. (2A)
How many nationally-ranked punters not only average 40.1 yards per boot (43.8 average in 2A title game) but also have enough speed to score on a kickoff return?
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback: Gabarri Johnson, Lincoln of Tacoma (3A)
Quarterback: Kennedy McGill, North Creek (4A)
Quarterback: Ryan McKenna, Gonzaga Prep (4A)
Running back: Jason Brown, O’Dea (3A)
Running back: Ryder Bumgarner, Stanwood (3A)
Running back: Myles Newhouse, Sunnyside (4A)
Running back: Ben Schlenbaker, Squalicum (2A)
Wide receiver: Wesley Garrett, Kamiak (4A)
Wide receiver: Jason Grant, Toppenish (1A)
Wide receiver: Tobias Merriweather, Union (4A)
Wide receiver: Ty Snider, Ridgefield (2A)
Tight end: Hudson Cedarland, Gig Harbor (3A)
Tight end: Austin Terry, Tumwater (2A)
Offensive lineman: Malik Agbo, Todd Beamer (4A)
Offensive lineman: Kyle Cox, Eatonville (1A)
Offensive lineman: Nate Elwood, Marysville-Pilchuck (3A)
Offensive lineman: Landen Hatchett, Ferndale (3A)
Offensive lineman: Ayden Knapik, Kennewick (3A)
Offensive lineman: Hall Schmidt, Peninsula (3A)
Offensive lineman: Ashton Tripp, Kennewick (3A)
All-purpose: Trayce Hanks, Lake Stevens (4A)
All-purpose: Braeden Smith, Seattle Prep (3A)
All-purpose: Zach Watson, Burlington-Edison (2A)
Placekicker: Wyatt Redding, Sumner (4A)
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive lineman: Oliver Bragg, Woodinville (4A)
Defensive lineman: Jacob Erickson, Glacier Peak (4A)
Defensive lineman: Hunter Hill, Graham-Kapowsin (4A)
Defensive lineman: Ryan Otton, Tumwater (2A)
Defensive lineman: Elijah Rodriguez, Richland (4A)
Defensive lineman: Sam Stowers, Steilacoom (2A)
Defensive lineman: Jayden Wayne, Lincoln of Tacoma (3A)
Linebacker: Davin Beason, Mount Baker (1A)
Linebacker: Derek Bergeson, Royal (1A)
Linebacker: Jalen Davenport, Graham-Kapowsin (4A)
Linebacker: Luke Jamison, Camas (4A)
Linebacker: George Kruger, Bellevue (3A)
Linebacker: Brayden Platt, Yelm (3A)
Linebacker: Madison Wynkoop, Lake Stevens (4A)
Defensive back: Tristan Dunn, Sumner (4A)
Defensive back: Isaiah Malloe, Kennedy Catholic (4A)
Defensive back: Cole Pruett, Monroe (3A)
Defensive back: Sam Stewart, Bothell (4A)
Defensive back: Jasiah Wagoner, Spanaway Lake (3A)
Defensive back: Tyson Weaver, Eastside Catholic (3A)
Defensive back: Noah Weintraub, Eastlake (4A)
Hybrid: Luis Salgado, Kamiakin (4A)
Hybrid: Michael Westbrook Jr., Lakes (3A)
Punter: Lance Spaniel, Southridge (3A)
SBLIVE’S 2021 ALL-STATE INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS
Player of the year: Joshua Wood, QB, Graham-Kapowsin, sr.
Was there any doubt? The Eastern Washington University commit has done about everything you can in high school – a perfect 20-0 career record as a starter, leading the Eagles to the school’s first-ever Class 4A state title and being named the Gatorade state player of the year (2,496 passing yards, 613 rushing yards, 45 total touchdowns). If that wasn’t enough, he then showcased his dual-threat talent on national television in Graham-Kapowsin’s thrilling victory over nationally-ranked Collins Hill (Ga.) in the GEICO State Champions bowl game, which gave the program a season-ending No. 7 national ranking. “He is a game-maker,” Eagles coach Eric Kurle said.
Two-way player of the year: Colton Bower, QB/S, North Kitsap, sr.
Look no further than a game in late October against Bremerton to understand the impact he had for the Vikings this season. He threw for 359 yards and six touchdowns that night, added 99 yards rushing and had an interception from his defensive back position. His numbers for the 2A semifinalists, and best squad i the West Sound – 2,669 passing yards, 602 rushing yards and 53 total touchdowns on offense, and 75 tackles, seven interceptions and two scores on defense. He finished with a career “The one word I use with him – irreplaceable,” North Kitsap coach Jeff Weible said.
Offensive player of the year: Dylan Carson, RB, Marysville-Pilchuck, sr.
The 3A Wesco MVP’s numbers speak for themselves – 214 carries, 2,671 yards, 46 touchdowns – as not only the top rusher in the state, but as one of the best single rushing seasons in state history. And Carson, who runs with both speed and power in the Tomahawks’ slot-T attack, almost single-handedly led his team to the 3A semifinals after he rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns against Yelm. “He’s tough to bring down,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “He has good short-range quickness. And if he sees a hole and puts it into overdrive, he’s probably gone most of the time. … He’s just a special player.”
Defensive player of the year: Dishawn Misa, LB, Eastside Catholic, sr.
He was more than just the speeding bullet with long hair. The all-3A Metro League middle linebacker was a four-year starter for the Crusaders, and an integral part of their back-to-back state championship squads in 2018 and 2019 – and one of the state’s top defenses this fall (gave up 172.1 yards, 10.2 points per game; forced 39 turnovers). Misa’s next-level IQ should fit in well at Boise State University. “We always talk about when teams fear you, they will protect themselves rather than the ball,” said Eastside Catholic defensive coordinator Marcus Ungaro, a former NFL defensive coach. “They don’t wanna get hit by Misa or our other guys.”
Offensive lineman of the year: Joshua Conerly Jr., LT/DL Rainier Beach, sr.
In a really good recruiting year of in-state big men, Conerly is on a level of his own. His athleticism and footwork are elite. No wonder the 6-foot-5, 280-pounder used to play tailback leading up to high school before Vikings coach Corey Sampson moved him to the offensive line, where he was mentored by current UW lineman Nate Kalepo (ex-Rainier Beach standout) and has said that it was “a move that changed my life.” A holder of 30-plus D1 offers, Conerly will wait until the February signing period to decide on where he’ll play his college ball.
Defensive lineman of the year: Kaz Melzer, DE, Gonzaga Prep, sr.
Not a bad 14-game stint for the high-motor Melzer, who went from converted quarterback to Greater Spokane League defensive MVP at defensive end this fall. At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, “He is so long and has really, really good hands,” Gonzaga Prep coach David McKenna said. The do-everything defensive stopper for the Bullpups fulfilled a dream he’s maintained since the seventh grade by accepting a preferred walk-on (PWO) opportunity at Stanford where he hopes to major in biology.
Breakout player of the year: Henry Mercado, QB, Kamiakin, sr.
The guy known as “Little Russ” in the Tri-Cities put it all together for a record-setting season. And he knew exactly how to find the end zone this fall. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder set a new Mid-Columbia Conference mark with 40 passing touchdowns (as well as more than 3,000 yards of total offense) in leading the Braves to the 4A semifinals, losing to eventual winner Graham-Kapowsin. Mercado was voted the league MVP. “Henry does a great job of distributing the ball,” Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said. “He really understands the offense. He’s also gotten better at running the football.”
Newcomer of the year: Griffin Miller, LB/TE, Eastlake (4A)
A year ago, Miller was just filling out into his impressive, athletic frame. And after playing as a reserve in the pandemic-shortened spring season, he grew into the 4A KingCo’s top two-way player in his first starting season for the Wolves, who won the league title over Bothell. At tight end, he caught 35 passes for 645 yards and nine touchdowns. On defense, he had 71 tackles and a team-best 11 tackles for loss before breaking his collarbone in the state quarterfinals against Sumner. “His impact was not only on game days, but in practice,” Eastlake coach Kyle Snell said. “He was our hardest working player on both sides of the ball.”
Coach of the year: Eric Kurle, Graham-Kapowsin
Yes, he had his generational team with 15 starters back this fall, including state MVP Joshua Wood at quarterback. But he also maximized his talent to produce one of the most dominant seasons in WIAA history (averaged 45.8 points on offense, gave up 7.3 points on defense with seven shutouts) on its way to its first Class 4A championship. And the 15-0 Eagles upended then-No. 7 Collins Hill (Ga.), 40-36, in the Geico State Champions Bowl Series in Las Vegas. “We thought it could be a great year, but we could not ask for a better ending,” said Kurle, 54, who just finished up his 27th overall season of coaching. “What else could you ask for?”
MVP: Joshua Wood, Graham-Kapowsin
Coach: Eric Kurle, Graham-Kapowsin
MVP: Dylan Carson, Marysville-Pilchuck
Coach of year: Michael Kneip, Bellevue
MVP: Colton Bower, North Kitsap
Coach of year: Blake VanDalen, Lynden
MVP: Avery Ellis, Royal
Coach of year: Jim Shapiro, King’s
MVP: Jackson Esary, Kalama
Coach of year: Aaron Cochran, Goldendale
MVP: Grady Murray, WR, Almira/Coulee-Hartline
Coach of year: Brandon Walsh, Almira/Coulee-Hartline
(Featured photo by Vince Miller)