Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in Washington: No. 7 Graham-Kapowsin Eagles

SBLive Washington is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state. Here’s an inside look at the Graham-Kapowsin Eagles of the 4A SPSL – No. 7 in our countdown.

2019 IN REVIEW

11-1 (first place in 4A SPSL); lost to Bothell in 4A quarterfinals.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Eric Kurle, 16th season.
  • Overall record: 138-41.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Jeff Logan (multiple pro-style). Defense – Muckie Foreman (4-2-5).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

TE Eython Daugherty

DL Nassier Ford

DL Nico Golla

DB Tino Hansen

RB Michael Kelly

DB Malik Madison

WR Malaki Roberson

OL Gavin Smithson

QB Nate Thomas

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 5. Defense – 5.

TOP PLAYERS

RB/LB Jalen Davenport, 5-10, 215, so.

DB/ATH Va’alele Hansen, 5-10, 180, sr.

DL/OL Curtis Hill, 6-2, 260, jr.

DL/OL Hunter Hill, 6-2, 240, jr.

OL/DL Vega Ioane, 6-5, 315, jr.

WR/DB Julian Mason, 5-11, 175, jr.

OL/DL Austin Siitia, 6-3, 290, jr.

LB/RB Jonas Waugh, 5-10, 215, sr.

QB Josh Wood, 6-3, 185, jr.

THREE TO SEE

Va’alele Hansen, athlete

Versatility – he’ll play in the slot, take some carries and is the team’s top returner – makes him indispensable.

Curtis Hill, defensive tackle

Left tackle Vega Ioane is a bigger name, but this all-state wrestler is team’s most impactful two-way lineman.

Jonas Waugh, linebacker

Breathes fire, plays with loud hitter’s edge – and takes no prisoners in the middle of the Eagles’ physical defense.

2021 OUTLOOK

Many teams will primarily use this shortened season as a farewell salute to the seniors.

The Eagles will utilize it as a way to get warmed up for the fall – when they will undoubtedly be on the short list of Class 4A state favorites.

It is the last thing on longtime coach Eric Kurle’s to-do list – grab that elusive state championship.

“We want to have a great season for those seniors, but we are building for that following year,” Kurle said.

It’s easy to see what the Eagles are excited about – most of their college-ready linemen and skill-position standouts are juniors, led by first-year quarterback Josh Wood, wide receiver Julian Mason and the big men – Vega Ioane, Austin Siitia, Josh Holder, PJ T’eo and the Hill twins.

Those six make up the “best offensive line I have ever had,” Kurle said – which if it comes together, could be a similar dominant group to what 4A champion Camas had in 2019.

Wood is an intriguing talent – a point guard who has put a ton of effort into his passing mechanics this offseason. He was a surprise finalist at the Northwest 9 combine in the fall.

“He is a smart, smart kid that gets better every day,” Kurle said. “He can do it all.”

Kurle would prefer to let Wood operate most effectively in play action, which means the Eagles will need to return to their run-first roots. And they have a pair of outstanding tailbacks in Jalen Davenport and Khalil Yarbo, a transfer from California.

Davenport has the physical traits – size and swiveling hips – to become a workhorse in the run game. Jonas Waugh will also get plenty of work at fullback.

On defense, Waugh cleans up all the carnage Graham-Kapowsin’s stout defensive line creates, and is as reliable a tackler as you will find at middle linebacker.

“Our depth is really good,” Kurle said.

COVID-19 IMPACT

“The biggest thing is not seeing your kids in workouts, and in the building. The trust you build together happens in the offseason.” – Eric Kurle

2020-21 SCHEDULE – GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN TEAM PAGE

  • Feb. 19 at Bellarmine Prep (28-0 victory)
  • Feb. 26 vs. Gig Harbor (canceled)
  • March 5 vs. Bethel
  • March 12 at Puyallup
  • March 19 at Snohomish
  • March 20 vs. Peninsula
  • March 24 at Sumner

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