Washington’s Top 50 high school football teams: Tumwater has been best 2A team two years running. Can the No. 23 Thunderbirds extend it to 3?

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school teams in Washington ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Tumwater Thunderbirds of the 2A Evergreen Conference – the No. 23 team in our countdown.

SPRING 2021 IN REVIEW

5-0 in 2A Evergreen (first place).

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Bill Beattie, fifth season.
  • Overall record: 39-5.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Jamie Weeks/Rob Hinkle (Wing-T). Defense – Tim Otton (4-3).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

RB/DB Turner Allen

LB Grady Finney

OL Max Henry

DB/RB Jack Jones

DL/OL Jacob Schuster

DL/OL Cooper Wall

QB/DB Cody Whalen

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 4. Defense – 5.

TOP PLAYERS

OL/DL Aidan Aguero, 5-10, 245, sr.

LB Bennett Ferris, 5-10, 210, sr.

RB Carlos Matheney, 6-0, 195, jr.

DB Ryan Orr, 6-0, 185, sr.

TE/DL Ryan Otton, 6-6, 240, sr.

DB/WR Ashton Paine, 6-2, 180, sr.

LB Caleb Sadlemyer, 6-0, 220, sr.

TE/DL Austin Terry, 6-5, 235, sr.

OL Justin Walter, 6-3, 240, sr.

THREE TO SEE

Ryan Orr, free safety

As one of the state’s top pitchers, he knows how to battle through pressure – and had interception to seal 2019 title win.

Ryan Otton, defensive end

Joining the UW as a tight end, but Tumwater will need his wing span to knock down passes, and get to the quarterback.

Austin Terry, tight end

The most natural pass-catcher on the team, the Thunderbirds want to utilize his athleticism at wingback as well this fall.

FALL SEASON OUTLOOK

It is the question everybody following Class 2A football wants to know.

When is it time for the green-jersey giants to fall back to the pack?

Heading into the fall season, it is apparent Tumwater needs ready-to-play reinforcements at key spots:

  • The Thunderbirds have had to remake much of their offensive line with four new starters.
  • Their quarterback situation is still unsettled (especially with junior Alex Overbay sidelined much of the summer with a thumb injury).
  • Many of their new running backs are new to the Wing-T offense.
  • And they’ve had to replace at least two graduated starters at every level of their defense.

“One of the things we’ve learned over the years, and we tell your kids – we don’t have control over our ranking, or what people think about us,” Tumwater coach Bill Beattie said. “For us, it’s about building a new stepping stone. We will put the pieces of this puzzle together.”

Beattie admits without established, speedy playmaker, the Wing-T attack will be a bit more “smashmouth behind fullback Carlos Matheney, the younger brother of former Eastern Washington University defensive lineman Amir Matheney, as well as Karson Schreiner and Payton Hoyt.

Overbay’s returning health will have an impact on the offense. He gives the Thunderbirds a deep-passing element that Brady Prothero and Luke Reid do not.

“That kid has an arm … and is a flat-out athlete,” Beattie said. “Brady and Luke are almost identical in that they run the offense.

“The onus is on us to put personnel groups on the field that fit their strengths.”

Let’s not forget – the team still have a pair of NCAA Division I recruits going both ways in seniors Ryan Otton (University of Washington commit) and Austin Terry (Boise State), who are not only mismatches in the passing game at tight end (and Terry will also play some wingback), but they will still create pressure along the defensive line, primarily from the edge.

And three-year starter Ryan Orr, the league’s top baseball pitcher, is a stabilizing force at safety.

“Offensively, we will have some work to do … but I really like our defense,” Beattie said. “Our secondary will be good. Our linebacking crew has gotten better. And we might even have more depth than we’ve had on the defensive line.”

FALL 2021 SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 3 vs. Enumclaw
  • Sept. 9 vs. Capital
  • Sept. 17 at Aberdeen
  • Sept. 24 vs. W.F. West
  • Oct. 8 vs. Shelton
  • Oct. 15 vs. Camas
  • Oct. 22 at Black Hills
  • Oct. 29 at Centralia

(Featured photo by Vince Miller)

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