High School Football

Meridian football has state playoff aspirations after missing out

Video: Meridian High football season preview

The Meridian football team prepares for the 2015 season.
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The Meridian football team prepares for the 2015 season.

Extracting honest information from Bob Ames about the quality of his team can be as challenging as recovering an onside kick.

This year he delivered another gem: “What did Don James use to say,” Ames rhetorically asked. “Twenty percent of your kids are really good football players, 70 percent are average to below average and 10 percent of the kids scare all the rest of the kids .... so we don’t have any in that 10 percent.”

The Class 1A State Playoffs weren’t quite the same last fall, as Meridian was absent after finishing 5-5 and taking a 36-22 season-ending loss to King’s during the Class 1A Northwest District Playoffs. It was the first time in six years and only the third time since the turn of the century that Trojans didn’t advance to state.

And Ames might be on to something with his Don James quote, at least from a size standpoint.

Meridian might not scare anyone off the field this fall with its mass — Ames said his team returns only one player who logged significant varsity time in the trenches — but the Trojans’ skill players could certainly frighten some defenses.

“We’ll probably be a fast team with good receivers and a good quarterback and running backs, a lot of flying to the ball,” said senior running back Nick Dritsas.

Ames will be choosing between 6-foot-6 senior, ultra-athlete Marcus McGuinn or up-and-coming sophomore Spencer Burkett to replace Tanner Tutterrow at QB. McGuinn has great speed and a strong arm, but Burkett can also play, and if the sophomore gets the nod, that will free up McGuinn to use his size and speed as a premier pass-catcher.

“We just have to see where Marcus will help us the most,” Ames said. “We are in a good dilemma. Marcus has worked his tail off. He’s one of our stronger kids.”

Seniors Dakota Jones and Daniel Young are expected to either work alongside McGuinn at wide receiver or catch balls from him.

Dritsas, Meridian’s leading rusher last year, brings a wealth of speed out of the backfield and should also benefit the pass game.

Along the line, Ames will be leaning on returning starters Jackson Day and Brenton Fox to bring the rest of the unit up to speed.

Seniors Mack Hughes, Koby Smith and Jones should log plenty of tackles from the linebacker spot, while Hunter Holt, Andrew Logan, Brenton Fox and Day should be ones to watch along the line and Dritsas gives the Trojans a veteran presence in the secondary.

Key numbers

4

Offensive starters from 2014 returning

for Meridian in 2015.

4

Defensive starters from 2014 returning

for Meridian in 2015.

14

More turnovers committed by Meridian than 2014 opponents.

7

Number of 2014

pass-catchers with more than 100 yards receiving.

Players to watch

NICK DRITSAS

Meridian, Sr., RB/DB

Dritsas has the speed and athleticism to have a breakout year at running back, and he gives the Trojans a quality secondary player.

MARCUS MCGUINN

Sr., QB/WR

Wherever McGuinn lines up on offense, quarterback or wideout, he’s sure to make a big impact this season for the Trojans.

DAKOTA JONES

Sr., RB/WR/DB

Jones adds speed coming out of the backfield or out wide, and he should make a big impact on defense this season, too.

JACKSON DAY

Sr., OL/DL

Day is one of the Trojans’ few returners along the offensive and defensive lines. He’ll need to offer leadership to the rest of the bigs.

Three keys to 2015

1. CONSISTENCY

There were times last season when Meridian looked like a state playoff team. Other times they certainly didn’t. The Trojans split with each NWC 1A team last year. More consistent play in 2015 will help the team’s cause.

2. CHERISH POSSESSION

Meridian owned a fairly potent offense last season, but too often the Trojans became careless with the football. Meridian again has some nice offensive pieces to work with, but it needs to place a premium on protecting the football.

3. UTILIZE SPEED

From McGuinn to Dritsas to Young to Jones, Meridian can run. The Trojans have some very talented athletes and have the ability to be an explosive offense. The Trojans would be best served by taking advantage of all that speed.

Projection

Much of the team’s success will hinge on how well the offensive and defensive fronts can play, but Meridian has talent and should be able to contend with Baker for the NWC 1A crown.

2015 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 4

Hoquiam

7 p.m.

Sept. 12

at Squalicum^

7 p.m.

Sept. 18

at Chelan

7 p.m.

Sept. 25

at Lynden Christian*

7 p.m.

Oct. 2

Mount Baker*

7 p.m.

Oct. 9

at Nooksack Valley*

7 p.m.

Oct. 16

Lynden Christian*

7 p.m.

Oct. 23

at Mount Baker*

7 p.m.

Oct. 30

Nooksack Valley*

7 p.m.

*NWC 1A game; ^At Civic Stadium

2015 roster

No.

Player

Yr.

Ht.

Wt.

2

Marcus McGuinn

Sr.

6-1

155

5

Cole Roberts

Fr.

5-5

130

6

Dawson Phillips

Jr.

5-6

140

7

Gabe Hughes

Fr.

5-7

150

10

Andrew Logan

Jr.

5-10

160

11

Alan Eyoub

Sr.

5-6

145

13

Simon Burkett

So.

5-7

150

16

Dante Castenada

Fr.

5-4

120

22

Martin Phannestiel

So.

5-3

120

26

Nick Dritsas

Sr.

5-7

160

28

Braedon Zender

Fr.

5-5

130

31

Baker Otter

So.

5-7

135

32

Tony Schliemer

So.

5-7

140

34

Dakota Jones

Sr.

5-9

150

38

Mack Hughes

Sr.

5-8

160

40

Bryson Hickok

So.

5-4

120

44

Koby Smith

Sr.

5-7

160

45

Tanner Bouwman

Fr.

5-5

130

51

Luke Carson

So.

5-8

160

52

Jeff Holland

Sr.

5-8

160

53

Mikey Halverson

So.

5-7

170

54

Parker Bromet

Sr.

5-7

170

57

Bradley Stalecker

So.

5-11

180

59

Dustin Hardesty

Sr.

5-9

180

61

Manny Sabalza

So.

5-6

155

62

Brenten Fox

Jr.

5-6

175

66

Hunter Holt

Jr.

5-10

180

70

Enrique Carrillo

Jr.

5-8

175

71

Jackson Day

Sr.

5-7

175

75

Levi Compton

Sr.

5-10

180

77

Cody Mumm

Jr.

5-7

160

78

Bo Roberts

Jr.

5-10

185

81

TJ Dykstra

So.

5-9

160

82

Daniel Young

Sr.

6-0

170

89

Chris Poortinga

Sr.

5-10

175

2014 Season recap

RESULTS

(5-5, 3-3 NWC 1A)

Date

Opponent

Result

Sept. 5

at Hoquiam

W 14-7

Sept. 12

Squalicum

L 48-14

Sept. 19

Chelan

W 35-0

Sept. 26

Lynden Christian*

W 27-10

Oct. 3

at Mount Baker*

L 33-25

Oct. 10

Nooksack Valley*

W 43-15

Oct. 17

at Lynden Christian*

L 31-0

Oct. 24

Mount Baker*

W 10-9

Oct. 30

at Nooksack Valley*

L 22-20

CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT PLAYOFF

Nov. 7

at King’s

L 36-22

*NWC 1A game

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Nick Dritsas*

130

66

5.1

7

Dakota Jones*

77

424

5.5

2

Kevin Castro

50

243

4.9

2

Tanner Tutterrow

51

59

1.2

2

Koby Smith*

9

27

3.0

0

Passing

Cmp.

Att.

Yds.

TD

Int.

Tanner Tutterrow

104

228

1,470

11

15

Marcus McGuinn*

20

33

272

3

1

Receiving

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Kyle Young

27

566

21.0

7

Marcus McGuinn*

20

269

13.5

2

Nick Miller

17

241

14.2

1

Dakota Jones*

15

171

11.4

1

Daniel Young*

9

142

15.8

1

*returning player

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