Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in Washington: No. 8 Bothell Cougars

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 Bothell Cougars of the 4A KingCo – No. 8 in our countdown.

2019 IN REVIEW

11-3 (first place in 4A KingCo Crown); lost to Camas in 4A championship.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Tom Bainter, 21st season.
  • Overall record: 181-56.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Tom Bainter (pro-style spread). Defense – Jason Rimkus (4-2-5).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

DB/WR Evan Berry

LB/TE Blake Bickhaus

LB Colin Fisherkeller

RB Christian Galvan

LB Ryan Metz

WR Jordyn Turner

OL/DL Elijah Vaotogo

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 4. Defense – 4.

TOP PLAYERS

DB Marcus Heffernan, 6-2, 185, jr.

DL Gabe Johnson, 6-3, 215, sr.

WR/DB Kyree Percival, 5-10, 175, jr.

DL Malik Said, 6-2, 250, sr.

QB Andrew Sirmon, 6-1, 200, sr.

WR/DB Sammy Stewart, 6-2, 190, jr.

OL Luka Vincic, 6-5, 275, jr.

OL Jack Winsky, 6-2, 250, sr.

THREE TO SEE

Gabe Johnson, defensive end

Everyone knows this Eastern Washington signee is a wide-side pass-rushing terror, but he is formidable against the run, too.

Andrew Sirmon, quarterback

All he did was pass for 2,500 yards, nearly rush for 500 – and lead team to 4A title game in first year as starter.

Luka Vincic, left tackle

Bothell’s next great lineman, this quick-rising Power 5 recruit is extremely fast getting to second blocking level.

2021 OUTLOOK

After a 1-2 start early in 2019, “Blue Train” could have been headed for a disastrous derailment.

But that is not usually how longtime coach Tom Bainter’s travel mode usually works. So, the Cougars got rolling by winning nine consecutive games and reaching the 4A title game for the second time in six seasons (won it in 2014).

With experience at quarterback (Andrew Sirmon) and along both lines, the Cougars and their 18 seniors are poised to make more noise this season as one of the 4A KingCo’s top teams – despite not seeing each other for nearly 15 months.

“We get as much out of the spring and summer as anybody across the state,” said Bainter, who sits ninth among active coaches with 195 career wins. “Everybody plays a little bit better because they don’t want to let one another down.”

With all-state tailback Christian Galvan gone, dual-threat quarterback Sirmon becomes the face of the program.

And he utilized the long offseason to build himself up physically, filling out 30 pounds and noticeably improving his arm strength. He was also a finalist at the prestigious Northwest 9 combine last fall.

“He’s been doing everything you’d want a player to do with this (down) time,” Bainter said. “He is a different kid, for sure.”

All juniors, the receiving corps will be led by different faces – but ones with enormous size and talent. They are Marcus Heffernan, Sammy Stewart and Jimmy Tucker.

Rarely do you have three starters along the defensive line who are all going to play in college – but Bothell has that, led by Gabe Johnson, who has one of the quickest steps off the snap you will find. Basketball-first Malik Said emerged on the interior, and Luka Vincic will likely land in a big college conference at offensive tackle.

“It’s a six-week season, and we need to do this for our seniors,” Bainter said.

COVID-19 IMPACT

“It has prevented our team from working out together (our district has not allowed our athletes in the building at all). Some athletes are slightly prepared through self-training and conditioning – and others are unprepared physically. Everything that we normally do has been limited to Zoom meetings.” –Tom Bainter

2020-21 SCHEDULE – BOTHELL TEAM PAGE

  • March 13 vs. Woodinville
  • March 20 at North Creek
  • March 26 vs. Inglemoor
  • April 2 at Woodinville

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