Sports

Wildcats lead the best in Everett

A contingent from Class 4A champs Oak Harbor will lead a group of 64 top athletes from around the state as they gather at Everett Memorial Stadium Saturday, June 30, for one last prep meeting on the gridiron at the 2007 East/West All-Star game.

The annual event for senior football players is presented by the Washington State Coaches Association and the Everett Herald, in cooperation with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Initially, players are nominated by their respective league coaches and then chosen as members of the east and west teams by coaches representing all 10 districts in the state.

This year, the Class 4A state champion Oak Harbor Wildcats will lead the way represented by two first-team all-state players, Will Hunter and Marshall Lobbestael, along with head coach Dave Ward.

Lobbestael, the Washington Class 4A Player of the Year, caps off his stellar high school career before heading off to Washington State University where he received a full-ride football scholarship.

Hunter had earlier opted to cast his lot at Eastern Washington University where he anticipated continuing his football career as a walk-on player, but has since changed his mind. He will now be going to WSU with Lobbestael and try his luck as a walk-on with the Cougars.

“Both of those young men are quality people who gave us three solid years at Oak Harbor,” Ward, the head coach of the West all-star team, said. “They were the nucleus of some good football teams.”

Ward said both Hunter and Lobbestael are team players and they are not worried so much about themselves as they are about the group they play with.

“Will was the muscle for us up front,” he said. “His size and bulk gave us an edge on both sides of the ball and Marshall had the finesse to create some things from the quarterback position.”

Ward said this is his first time as head coach at an East/West All-Star game, but he was an assistant coach about five years ago.

“I get to take two of my coaches with me and Mike Fisher will be

helping me with the offense and coaching the offensive line, and Tom Meuller will be working on

the defensive side and coaching the linebackers,” he said.

Lobbestael, a rare three-sport athlete at Oak Harbor High School, capped his incredible football career with the Wildcats by passing for 2,776 yards and 36 touchdowns during the 2006 season.

“I’m really excited to be playing in the East-West game and playing for coach Ward again,” Lobbestael said. “I’m excited to start playing football again.”

Players from both teams begin practicing for the annual event June 25 and spend a full week in Everett before Saturday’s kickoff.

“I’m stoked to get down there and start practicing two-a-days,” Lobbestael said. “It’s going to be fun rooming with Will while we’re down there and hanging out.”

Lobbestael will have only a brief respite before leaving for Pullman to begin his college career with the Cougars.

“The WSU camp starts Aug. 3, but I’m not sure what day they want me to come over,” he said. “I’m really stoked about playing for them.”

The awards keep coming for Lobbestael who, for the second straight year, was voted Oak Harbor’s male athlete of the year.

A true gentle giant, the soft-spoken Hunter said he is also excited about having the opportunity to play in the East-West game.

“It’s something very few guys get to do and I can’t wait to start playing,” he said.

Hunter was a three-sport athlete through his junior year at Oak Harbor as a member of the football, basketball and track teams.

Due to a knee injury sustained during the football season, the six-foot, five-inch, 310 pound offensive and defensive lineman opted to forgo his senior year on the basketball court.

Despite missing two football games during the season due to his knee injury, Hunter was one of the leading tacklers on the Wildcat squad and achieved every defensive lineman’s dream by re-

turning an intercepted pass 70 yards for a touchdown in the 55-7 blowout victory over Kentwood in the playoffs.

Hunter said winning the state football championship was far and away the highlight of his high school career.

“Most definitely, winning the state title was the best,” he said.

Kickoff for the game is slated for 1 p.m. June 30.

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