Washington’s Top 50 high school football teams: Talent-laden No. 6 Spanaway Lake determined to build on strong spring

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school teams in Washington ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Spanaway Lake Sentinels of the 3A Pierce County League – the No. 6 team in our countdown.

SPRING 2021 IN REVIEW

6-0 in 3A Pierce County League (first place).

COACH’S RESUME

  • Cameron Robak, fourth season
  • Overall record: 12-13
  • Coordinators: Offense – Nick Springer (multiple); Defense – Cameron Robak (4-3)

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

LB Dae’Viante Alexander

DL Deighton Crudup

WR Taeshawn Cummings

OL/DL Gordon Falanai

WR Deonte Hayes

OL Thomas Higley

DL Xzyvion Irving

DB Braden Robinson

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 6. Defense – 6.

TOP PLAYERS

K Danny Amaral, 5-8, 150, jr.

ATH Jermaine Broussard, 5-8, 185, sr.

LB Eugene Camacho, 5-10, 235, jr.

OL/DL TJ Fiame, 6-1, 275, jr.

RB Jonathan Graver, sr. 

QB/P Dempsy James, 5-11, 180, jr. 

RB/DB KeeKee McQueen, 5-10, 175, sr.

LB Blake Ongais, sr.

OL Noah Ruiz, 5-11, 230, jr.

DL Trishion Sullivan, 6-4, 215, jr.

ATH Jasiah Wagoner, 6-0, 170, jr.

OL Taalo Williams, 6-1, 230, jr.

THREE TO SEE

Dempsy James, quarterback

Threw for 1,158 yards (65 percent completion rate) and 17 yards with three interceptions and added seven touchdowns on the ground as a sophomore. His legs give the Sentinels another dimension offensively. With another year under his belt, he’s just scratching the surface. 

Keekee McQueen, running back/wide receiver/safety

Will be a four-year starter who is hitting his stride at free safety, and poses a similar threat as Wagoner. Whether out of the backfield or out wide, the Sentinels will find ways to get the ball in McQueen’s hands.

Jasiah Wagoner, athlete

His speed and change of direction make him one of the toughest players to slow offensively in the spring 2021 – and he loves contact. Wagoner rushed for 237 yards on 11.3 yards per carry, logged 412 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. He’s a Division I corner, and will move around to safety and even outside linebacker because of his tackling abilities.

FALL SEASON OUTLOOK

Spanaway Lake can’t wait to build on the jolt of energy it felt as a program in the spring. 

Young, undersized, with a roster chock-full of playmakers, the Sentinels swept the 3A Pierce County League, thumping the two playoff teams that have firmly stood atop the top two spots in the standings in recent years: Lincoln in their season opener and Lakes in the season finale. 

“SWAY” has arrived. Now that they approach a season with state playoffs are at play, is a deep run in store?

“It’s definitely in the mind,” Spanaway Lake coach Cameron Robak said. “We still believe we have the key pieces to hopefully make a run, just have to stay healthy.”

But first, the Sentinels must overcome an early speed bump. COVID-19 hit the program in the first days of practice. Three players tested positive, and contact tracing measure put enough players in quarantine that the program shut down through Sept. 3 and canceled its first two games.

“The way I’m trying to look at it is it’s better now than later” in the season or postseason, Robak said.

Their top playmakers return — some of the state’s most versatile — in electric four-star athlete Jasiah Wagoner and speedy corner KeeKee McQueen. Like in the spring, Robak will be creative in getting both the ball, which where it helps to have a trusted returning starter under center in junior quarterback Dempsy James, who is coming off of a strong sophomore season and still realizing his potential. 

Wagoner, the reigning 3A Pierce County League MVP, will be option No. 1. 

“He looks great,” Robak said. “We’re very excited for his season, he’s going to be everywhere that puts us in the best position to win games.”

The list of impact skill players should only get longer, with receivers like running back/wide receiver Jermaine Broussard, an all-league pick as a return specialist who housed a punt for touchdown before going down early in the spring with a high ankle sprain, among those expected to take on a larger role on offense.

Returning all-league lineman TJ Fiame is the biggest player on the line at 6-1, 275 pounds. Bringing back two-way starter Noah Ruiz helps, too, but the key to an otherwise undersized line is to be physical and stay healthy.

After beating Lincoln and Lakes by four touchdowns apiece in the spring, the Sentinels know the target is on their backs. 

“It’s about really understanding teams aren’t going to be taking us lightly,” Robak said.

FALL 2021 SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 3 vs. Gig Harbor (CANCELED)
  • Sept. 10 vs. Yelm (CANCELED)
  • Sept. 17 at Silas (formerly Wilson)
  • Sept. 23 vs. Lincoln of Tacoma
  • Oct. 1 at Liberty of Issaquah
  • Oct. 8 at Mount Tahoma
  • Oct. 14 at Bonney Lake
  • Oct. 22 at Stadium
  • Oct. 29 vs. Lakes

(Featured photo by Vince Miller)

Thank you for joining the discussion on SBLive!

%d bloggers like this: