Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in Washington: No. 42 Evergreen Plainsmen

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 Evergreen Plainsmen of the 3A Greater St. Helens League – No. 42 in our countdown.

Editor’s note: Evergreen is in the Southwest Region of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The region is still in Phase 1 of the plan, which means moderate and high risk high school sports have not been cleared to return to competition. The earliest they could move to Phase 2 — and start their season — is Friday, Feb. 12.

2019 IN REVIEW

5-5 overall, 2-2 3A GSHL (second place); lost to Garfield in 3A regional round.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Christian Swain, second season.
  • Overall record: 51-61
    • Past stops: Roosevelt (Ore.), Columbia River
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – JJ Johnson (spread). Defense – TP Brown (4-3, multiple).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

QB Carter Monta

WR Zyell Griffin

TE Tae Marks

OL David Grant

QB/RB Tyvauntae Deloney

LB Derrick Webb

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 3. Defense – 6.

TOP PLAYERS

WR/DB Jaylen Fite, 6-1, 175, sr.

WR/CB Jonathan Landry, 5-10, 160, soph.

QB JJ Woodin, 6-4, 210, sr.

RB/DB Kyle Norton, 5-9, 160, jr.

THREE TO SEE

Jaylen Fite, receiver/corner

Western Oregon signee was a two-way first team all-league pick as a junior, and will be a favorite target of Woodin.

Jonathan Landry, corner/receiver

D-I schools have gotten in early on the speedy corner/receiver who garnered all-league attention as a freshman. 

JJ Woodin, quarterback

Good sized, strong and steady playmaker brings experience from two big-classification leagues in Oregon as he crosses the Columbia River and steps under center at Evergreen.

2021 OUTLOOK

Talent was less to blame for Evergreen’s woes in recent years than culture, and in head coach Christian Swain’s first year, he gave a middling program a jolt.

The 2019 Plainsmen built a .500 record with a marquee win over league juggernaut Mountain View, squeezed into the postseason and, more importantly, began to mend a team culture around standouts like now-UNLV receiver Zyell Griffin and first-year QB Carter Monda.

Momentum was palpable.

And Swain is determined to build on that. 

“Now it’s just about the way we go about our business every day,” Swain said. “This might be the most pleasant group I’ve ever worked with. It’s just a great group of kids.”

Talent-wise, the Plainsmen have the pieces to build on in 2021, like Jaylen Fite and Jonathan Landry — two of the top downfield threats for transfer quarterback JJ Woodin, who enters with as much polish in the position as anyone across the league. 

The Plainsmen will have to be consistent and disciplined to usurp tough, established programs like Prairie, Kelso and Mountain View.

COVID-19 IMPACT

“Not being able to be together in the weight room was a huge piece. We had a great weight room culture before COVID hit. But the beautiful thing about our varsity group, they’ve all been training. I haven’t seen a physical drop-off, or anything, but it’s been bad in terms of not being able to bond as a group.” —Head coach Christian Swain

2020-21 SCHEDULE – TEAM PAGE

Has not been finalized. Will play a 3A/4A GSHL schedule.

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