With help from coaches, fans, media and local sports historians, SBLive has put together its lists of the best athletes — male and female — to emerge from every county in the state of Washington. We looked back as far as the turn of the 20th century, and we examined the totality of each athletes’ career, not only what they did in high school.
As comprehensive as our lists are, we also want to hear your opinions. We have included polls where you can vote for the best male and female athletes by county. You can also leave your comments below or hit us up on Twitter @sblivewa.
From John Brady to Marshall Lobbestael, Island County has produced several outstanding male athletes. Take a look at SBLive’s list of the top male athletes to ever come out of Island County and cast your vote in the poll.
(The list is in alphabetical order.)
BEST MALE ATHLETES IN ISLAND COUNTY HISTORY
High School: Oak Harbor (class of 1969)
Notable Stats: Brady’s 10 career receiving touchdowns by a tight end at the University of Washington tied Tacoma’s Dave Williams for most all-time for more than three decades – until Austin Seferian-Jenkins broke it.
The Washington Huskies have produced more than their share of NFL-caliber tight ends. It has always been a tradition-rich position within the program.
And good ol’ No. 87 is right at the top.
Brady is considered one of the best tight ends this state has ever produced – first at Oak Harbor in the mid-1960s (he was a member of the school’s only unbeaten and untied team in 1966), and then at the University of Washington.
Brady was one of legendary quarterback Sonny Sixkiller’s favorite targets in the passing game. He had 67 receptions for 1,040 yards and 10 scores for his career (1970-72) in an era when teams ran as much as they threw. Because Brady was so nimble, he was also featured heavily on end-around plays.
The Detroit Lions selected Brady in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft, but he never caught a pass for the team, even though he bounced on and off the roster for two years.
High School: Oak Harbor (class of 2007)
Sports: Football, baseball
Notable Stats: Lobbestael threw for a school-record 2,783 yards and 34 touchdowns (and ran for another three scores) for the Wildcats in earning all-state honors as a senior in 2006.
(Marshall Lobbestael feature photo by Christopher Anderson, The Spokesman-Review)
If you played football with Lobbestael, you were instantly drawn to his energy, his passion – and his ultra-competitive spirit.
Lobbestael is a legend on Whidbey Island, leading Oak Harbor to its only state football championship in school history, winning the Class 4A title in 2006.
And the gun-slinging right-hander had to fight through some tense moments, too – three of the team’s state-playoff victories were by four points or fewer (including a 43-42 double overtime win over Monroe in the first round).
The 10-time three-sport letterman went on to Washington State, and although he suffered through some early ups and downs for bad Cougars teams, including a season-ending knee injury, “the Lobster” (because of his striking red hair) made nine starts in 2011 as a fifth-year senior in place of injured Jeff Tuel, passing for 2,584 yards and 19 touchdowns, including five 300-yard efforts.
He now teaches and coaches football under former high school coach Dave Ward at Sedro-Woolley High School.
Jim Cope, Oak Harbor (football, baseball) – Many consider him the best athlete to come out of OHHS. He was a three-year starting receiver at UW.
Eldon Jenne, Coupeville (track and field) – Placed seventh in pole vault as county’s lone Olympic athlete (1920), then won NCAA title for WSU in 1921.
Rodrick Rumble, Oak Harbor (football, track and field – Left Idaho State as all-time receiving leader (now No. 2), and signed in NFL with Indianapolis.