High School Football

What must Meridian do to get back to the 1A state playoffs in 2017?

Meridian’s Manny Sabalza, center, picks up a teammate during a tackling drill at practice Aug. 22.
Meridian’s Manny Sabalza, center, picks up a teammate during a tackling drill at practice Aug. 22. eabell@bhamherald.com

Once again, the Meridian football team qualified for the state playoffs last year, and it advanced to the quarterfinals. Here’s a look at what it’s going to take for the Trojans to have a successful campaign in 2017:

Simon says ...

Meridian has an NCAA Division I FCS commit playing quarterback, so it’s not hard to figure the Trojans will ride the right arm and legs of Simon Burkett this season. They have a talented corps of skill position players around him, with Tony Schleimer, TJ Dykstra, Lukas Hemenway, Cole Roberts and Bryce Vandenhaak. It could be a high-scoring year.

Keep ’em clean

The one thing that could derail the high-powered Trojans’ attack is if they can’t solidify their line. They lost a number of their starters up front and are admittedly a little smaller in the trenches than normal. Manny Sabalza is a returner, so Meridian will lean on him heavily to help solidify an area that may take some time to develop this season.

Survive and advance

The 1A NWC is going to be a four-team slug fest this year. Fortunately, three teams from the district advance to state, but whoever advances past league play might have to tangle with traditional power King’s or Cedar Park Christian, which is now coached by former Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff, in the Week 10 district playoffs. Good luck!

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