North Creek senior Shea Hoogerwerf, left, bumps a teammate during training on Aug. 17. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

North Creek senior Shea Hoogerwerf, left, bumps a teammate during training on Aug. 17. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

North Creek aims to start climbing the 4A KingCo mountain

Second-year program sports wealth of returners

Second-year head coach Torrey Myers speaks about his North Creek High varsity football squad starting to climb the 4A KingCo mountain.

Myers has told his Jaguars — only in their second year of existence — that they’ve come a long way and they still have much terrain left to tackle. The coach feels his players have improved since last year and they’ll embrace the competition that the stellar league offers.

“I think the biggest thing for us is that we have tough kids. Last year was tough, and so our kids handled it,” said Myers, whose squad finished 1-9 overall in a season without seniors. “I think by the end of the year, they felt confident in their conditioning and in their belief in each other.”

The Jaguars have seniors on board this time out and sport a wealth of returners on their roster.

North Creek’s players got amped about year two not long after the first season ended. They started weightlifting sessions right after Thanksgiving at 6:15 a.m. Monday-Thursday. Myers said there was a solid turnout and he saw the steps toward a turn-around begin to form.

Senior Shea Hoogerwerf earned first-team all-KingCo linebacker accolades, but also topped the Jaguars’ rushing and receiving charts at running back. Myers said his durable, all-purpose player is a great student and kid.

“We expect big things out of him. You can throw anything at him schematically and he picks it up in a heartbeat,” said Myers of Hoogerwerf.

Other top Jaguars are junior Nathan Craig at tight end and safety, who is big and strong and took his athleticism onto the wrestling mat and track following last year’s football season; Hithesh Gopal, a junior center and defensive end; and Nick Mitchell, a junior offensive tackle and defensive end. Both Gopal and Mitchell possessed the grit to start both ways as sophomores.

There’s a quarterback competition between senior Tucker DeLong, who started most of the games last year, and sophomore Jack Charlton, who helmed the freshman team and played in two varsity games as well.

Myers noted that North Creek went from piecing a team together last year to having players compete for every single spot on the roster this year.

An abundance of players already have 10 starts under their belts, and they return to the squad this year, something that other teams in the league can’t place on their resumes, Myers said. “So, that experience factor hopefully will start to pay off for us,” he added.

On and off the field, Myers and his caring staff want the players to reach their potential and give everything they’ve got all across the board. He’s seeing it happen time and time again.

NORTH CREEK

Schedule

Aug. 31: at Mount Rainier, 8 p.m.

Sept. 7: at West Seattle (Southwest Athletic Complex), 7 p.m.

Sept. 14: at Interlake, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21: BOTHELL, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28: vs. Inglemoor, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4: REDMOND, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12: at Issaquah, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19: vs. Woodinville, 7 p.m.

All area games at Pop Keeney Stadium

North Creek head coach Torrey Myers eyes two of his players at practice on Aug. 17. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

North Creek head coach Torrey Myers eyes two of his players at practice on Aug. 17. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

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