2019 All-Area Football: Loggers Clear the Way on Collection of Top Gridiron Talent
STATE CHAMPS: Onalaska’s Ashton Haight, Alex Frazier Honored as All-Area Offensive, Defensive MVPs
By Jordan Nailon / email@example.com
Much like they clear cut their competition this year during an undefeated run to the State 2B title, the boys from Onalaska dominated the 2019 rendition of The Chronicle’s All-Area football team.
Senior running back Ashton Haight has been tabbed as the All-Area Offensive MVP and senior defensive lineman Alex Frazier has earned the title of All-Area Defensive MVP. Both were instrumental in the most successful season Onalaska has had since 1986 and, accordingly, five Loggers were named to this year’s All-Area squad.
“It makes it a lot easier knowing that your line is going to do their job every time and block it up for you. And your halfbacks are going to block it up for you and the quarterback is going to make the right reads, Haight said. “It’s nice having a bunch of guys who can play.”
After the regular season Haight was selected as the Offensive MVP of the Southwest Washington 2B League Mountain Division, while earning a second-team nod as a defensive end. He carried the pigskin for 2,714 yards on 345 carries (a 7.8 yards-per-carry average) while amassing 35 touchdowns. It was the fifth-most yards by a running back playing 11-man football in state history. That tally helped him land third on the all-time state list for career rushing with 6,397 total yards over 44 games. In all-time rushing yards Haight now trails just Matt Hadley (Connell, 2011) who rushed for 6,881 career yards, and Jonathan Stewart (Timberline, 2004) who put up a staggering 7,755 yards.
Haight also set the state championship record for most carries in a game with 42 in the Loggers’ win over Kalama. The funny thing is that his record-setting workload was just another day at the office for the senior they call the Feral Hog. In fact, during one regular season game he rushed a whopping 53 times.
“I don’t really realize it. It’s just my normal thing. But then people come up to me and are like ‘Man that’s crazy.’ I don’t know, that’s just the way our offense is and I’ve always run the ball that much my entire life so I’m just kind of used to it.”
Onalaska quarterback Lucas Kreger also found his way onto the All-Area offensive team. A senior, Kreger was already named a second-team quarterback and defensive back in the Mountain Division. Put in charge of conducting the Loggers’ triple-option offense, Kreger ran for 1,120 yards on 107 carries (10.4 yard average) with 17 touchdowns. While Onalaska rarely threw the ball this season Kreger was extremely efficient when he did get to let it fly, connecting on 19 of 25 passes for 313 yards and seven touchdowns.
Haight credited Kreger for keeping a highly-coordinated offense moving in unison.
“It was a huge part of what we did. I thought (Kreger) did great,” Haight said. “I don’t even know how you can make all those reads and do all of that, but he did.”
Laythan Demarest of Napavine and Braden Thomas of Adna also worked their way onto the All-Area team as quarterbacks. Demarest, a junior, was a first-team quarterback and defensive back in the Mountain Division, and ran for 1,397 yards with 25 touchdowns on 125 carries.
Thomas, a senior, earned second-team quarterback honors and a first-team nod as a punter and kicker. In seven games he ran for 695 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,025 yards and 13 touchdowns, and as a defensive back made 71 tackles with five picks.
Of course, any football fan worth their salt would remind you that a quarterback can’t operate without the help of their offensive line. While Frazier was selected as MVP for his defensive prowess, he was also a force on the offensive side of the ball. It was with that perspective that he touted Onalaska’s All-Area center, BJ Cleveland-Barrera, as the cornerstone of the front line.
“Offensively he was huge for us. He was the type of guy where if we needed somebody moved he’d say, ‘Okay. I got it. No problem,’” said Frazier of the 5-foot-11, 256-pound Cleveland-Barrera, who was also tabbed as a first-team linemen in the Mountain Division.
Joining Cleveland-Barrera on the All-Area offensive line this season are Keith Olson of Napavine, Larry Demery of Toledo, Justus Kuykendall of Centralia, and Luke Bennett of W.F. West. Olson, a 6-5 sophomore, was a first-team pick in the Mountain Division. Demery made a name for himself in the River Division on both sides of the ball, serving as a guard on offense and a linebacker on defense where he recorded 73 tackles, nine sacks, and six forced fumbles. Kuykendall, with his ferocious locks flowing from beneath his helmet, was the undeniable captain of the Centralia offense and was selected as a first-team member of the Evergreen 2A Conference. Bennett was also a first-team EvCo pick, and he made noise on defense as well with 15 tackles and a forced fumble.
With the big boys up front creating the time and space to operate, the running backs and wide receivers were able to put up big numbers and turn in highlight-reel plays.
Cole Fay of Adna, Max Smith of Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, Davin Kinsman of Toledo, and Jaiyden Camoza of W.F. West were all selected as All-Area running backs. Fay, a first-team Mountain Division running back and defensive back, rushed for 950 yards and 15 touchdowns this year while catching 25 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns. He also contributed 75 solo tackles and 68 assists on defense.
Smith, MVP of the Coastal Division, rushed for 1,042 yards on 144 carries (7.2 yard average), with 22 rushing touchdowns (25 total) while also turning in 68 tackles. Kinsman rushed for 872 yards with 11 touchdowns while pulling double-duty on defense where he recorded 64 tackles, three sacks, one interception, and three forced fumbles. Meanwhile, Camoza was a first-team EvCo running back with 736 yards on 94 carries (7.8 yard average) with eight touchdowns. The senior Bearcat also notched three sacks on defense.
Rounding out the offensive slate are Lucas Dahl, a wide receiver from Napavine, Paxton Russell, a tight end from Tenino, and W.F. West wideout Max Taylor. Dahl earned a first-team selection as a wideout in the Mountain Division with 565 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 28 catches, along with 317 rushing yards and three scores.
Russell was a first-team selection as a linebacker in the 1A Evergreen League with 73 tackles, and made his presence felt on offense where he caught 22 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns, while also scoring two rushing touchdowns on six carries. Taylor, a first-team 2A EvCo selection caught 14 passes for 264 yards (18.9 yard average) and score five touchdowns.
As the top defensive player in the area this year, Frazier played like a bulldozer with a wrecking ball attached for the Loggers. He noted that the defensive unit of Onalaska, which allowed fewer than 10 points per game on their way to the state title, was one possessed by the “Shut up and hit somebody,” mentality of their coaching staff.
“The huddle is different. That’s when (defensive coordinator Wayne) Nelson leads us, but then when we get on the field that’s when the talk really happens. Our main leader was probably Hazen Inman this year, our middle linebacker. He was always talking and telling us what to do, ‘Watch this. Watch that.’ He’s the first guy to make a play and help his teammate up,” said Frazier. “I’d say the craziest guy is probably Cade Lawrence.”
Inman and defensive back Lawrence, both join Frazier on the All-Area team along with fellow Logger Kayden Allison, a defensive end. Inman, a first-team Mountain Division selection, notched three interceptions this year while also toting the pigskin 25 times for 220 yards (8.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Lawrence, a second-team pick at running back, second-team return specialist, and first-team defensive back, tallied 10 interceptions and churned up 600 yards (12 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns on 50 carries. Allison already earned honors as a second team tight end and linebacker thanks to his five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions.
Three weeks after capturing the state championship the entire town of Onalaska has been dreaming of, Frazier said he and his teammates are still awash in the afterglow.
“It’s awesome. I’ve been playing with these guys since my sixth grade year when we were little kids. To see how we went from there to now is awesome, and we had a town that behind us the entire time,” Frazier said. “And for the coaching staff, they went from 0-9 to being 13-0 and state champions. Every year, even when we went 5-5, 6-5, we always said we knew we could get a championship. To have finally done that, it’s pretty crazy.”
Other members of the 2B ranks who made the All-Area defensive unit include Kobe Hoffman of PWV, Abel Ingle of Adna, and Duke Schaplow of Toledo, along with Cade Evander and Tanner Low of Napavine.
Evander was a first team Mountain Division tight end and linebacker who devastated opposing offenses by blowing up their backfield, while still finding the time to accumulate 226 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Low, a linebacker by trade, also rushed for 887 yards and 15 touchdowns on 101 carries. Ingle, a first-team Mountain Division offensive lineman and linebacker, notched 74 solo tackles and 98 assists on the season. Hoffman, a first-team offensive lineman out of the Coastal Division, also recorded 34 tackles as a defensive end. Lastly, Schaplow was a classic two-way threat in the River Division where he made 53 tackles, including seven sacks, with three interceptions and one of those returned for a touchdown. On offense he added 1,242 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns, along with 642 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns as the Indians’ quarterback.
In the 2A ranks our All-Area defensive players include Leandre Gaines, Trent Peters, and Cade Haller of W.F. West, as well as Derek Beairsto and Jacob Halseth of Centralia.
Beairsto was a 1st-team all EvCo selection as a defensive end with 31 tackles, nine of which were for a loss, four sacks, and 15 swatted passes. He also picked up 118 yards and two touchdowns a smashmouth tight end. Halseth was also a first-team EvCo choice as a defensive lineman who earned Centralia’s team tackling award. He started the final seven games for the Tigers and amassed 79 tackles (six for a loss), two sacks, a blocked point-after kick, and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Peters was a first-team EvCo defensive lineman selection with 42 tackles (10 for loss), two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a defensive score. Haller, a first-team EvCo defensive back, made 33 tackles, while forcing two fumbles and hauling in one interception. On offensive he managed to snag seven passes for 177 yards (25.3 yard average) and two touchdowns. Finally, Gaines, the EvCo’s Defensive MVP, made 45 tackles (12 for a loss), with five sacks and two fumble recoveries in a season cut short by a torn ACL. Gaines also caught a dozen passes for 182 yards (15.2 yard average) with five touchdowns.
Like all those numbers colliding in print, the hangover from the state championship victory still has the minds of the Onalaska contingent swirling.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Haight, who doubled as a defensive end for the Loggers. “Everywhere you go people are still thanking you and congratulating you for it. It’s pretty cool.”
He added that the inimitable tag-team coaching tandem of Mountain Division Coach of the Year Mazen Saade and defensive coordinator Nelson were essential to getting a ragtag group of country boys to pummel their competition all the way to a perfect season.
“It was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. They are awesome, and funny,” said Haight of the Maz and Wayne experience. “You can’t explain it. You just have to be at a few practices and then you’ll see.”
The Chronicle’s 2019 All-Area Football Team
MVP: Ashton Haight, Onalaska RB
Laythan Demarest, Napavine QB
Braden Thomas, Adna QB
Lucas Kreger, Onalaska QB
Cole Fay, Adna RB
Max Smith, PWV RB
Davin Kinsman, Toledo RB
Lucas Dahl, Napavine WR
Paxton Russell, Tenino TE
Keith Olson, Napavine OL
BJ Cleveland-Barrera, Onalaska OL
Justus Kuykendall, Centralia OL
Luke Bennett, W.F. West OL
Larry Demery, Toledo OL
MVP: Alex Frazier, Onalaska DL
Derek Beairsto, Centralia DL
Kobe Hoffman, PWV DL
Trent Peters, W.F. West DL
Jacob Halseth, Centralia DL
Leandre Gaines, W.F. West LB
Cade Evander, Napavine LB
Abel Ingle, Adna LB
Jaiyden Camoza, W.F. West LB
Kayden Allison, Onalaska LB
Tanner Low, Napavine LB
Duke Schaplow, Toledo LB
Max Taylor, W.F. West DB
Cade Lawrence, Onalaska DB
Hazen Inman, Onalaska DB
Cade Haller, W.F. West DB