Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in Washington: No. 50 Napavine Tigers

SBLive Washington is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Napavine Tigers of the 2B Central League – No. 50 in our countdown.

Editor’s note: Napavine is in the West Region of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The West and Puget Sound Regions moved to Phase 2 of the plan on Feb. 1, which means moderate and high risk high school sports can return to competition. Napavine is scheduled to kick off its season on Feb. 12.

2019 IN REVIEW

10-2 in 2B Pacific Mountain (second place); lost to Kalama in 2B semifinals.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Josh Fay, 14th season.
  • Overall record: 135-29.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Tyson Wilson (multiple spread). Defense – Josh Fay (3-5-3).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

OL Hayden Thompson

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 8. Defense – 10.

TOP PLAYERS

WR/DB Lucas Dahl, 5-10, 165, jr.

QB Laythan Demarest, 5-10, 175, sr.

DL/TE Cade Evander, 6-2, 205, sr.

OL Fermando Gaona, 6-2, 260, sr.

RB Tanner Low, 6-1, 190, sr.

OL/DL Keith Olson, 6-6, 285, jr.

LB/RB Gavin Parker, 5-11, 185, jr.

THREE TO SEE

Laythan Demarest, quarterback

Baseball standout came in as a runner, but now shows so much promise as complete dual threat.

Cade Evander, defensive end

Team’s top pass rusher broke out with 21 sacks as a junior. More are coming soon.

Keith Olson, offensive tackle

Pac-12 schools (Cal, Oregon State) covet athletic big man as primo pass-game protector.

2021 OUTLOOK

At this level, championship squads usually have a strong nucleus in one area. But Napavine’s all-around riches are uncanny.

The Tigers’ six-year run has been remarkable: Four trips to the state championship game, including the 2016 state title, and two other deep playoff runs ending in the 2B semifinals.

But with their size up front, led by Pac-12 Conference recruit Keith Olson, and experienced talent in the skill positions – this is not only Fay’s best roster, from top to bottom – but it is one of the most complete teams in recent memory in the 2B ranks.

“The big advantage is our experience – we have a lot of guys who have played a lot of big games,” Fay said. “And the second component is we have depth. We are not stuck at 15 kids – we can comfortably play 24-25 guys in our rotation.”

The left side of Napavine’s bouncy offensive line could fend off defenders at any level – with Evander at tight end, Olson at tackle and Gaona, who moves over from right tackle, at guard.

That type of protection should give Demarest plenty of opportunity to either find Dahl downfield on a pass play, or take off and run. Low and Parker also should find plenty of room to rumble in that direction as well.

COVID-19 IMPACT

“The lack of consistency in athletics this year has had a tremendous impact on our athletes both physically and mentally. Without consistent access to weight room and gym facilities we are poorly conditioned coming into the season. Helping players to maintain eligibility has been a greater challenge than any other year. With all of that said, our team is incredibly excited to get back onto the field and do what they love.” – Josh Fay

2020-21 SCHEDULE – NAPAVINE TEAM PAGE

  • Feb. 12 vs. Onalaska
  • Feb. 19 at Kalama
  • Feb. 27 vs. Rainier
  • March 5 at Forks
  • March 12 vs. Pe Ell/Willapa Valley
  • March 20 is league crossover playoff

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