These Spartans are eager to prove last year’s historic, stunning football playoff run was just a stepping stone to greater glory.
“We all have the same mindset, and that’s to be state champs,” senior quarterback Michael Mascotti said. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone wants that trophy.”
The senior-laden squad has been laser-focused since November, when the then-No. 15 Spartans fell to Eastside Catholic in the 3A state playoffs.
“We definitely picked up where we left off,” said Ryder Bumgarner, the team’s star running back who set a school record for most rushing yards in a season last year.
But the 2021 campaign wasn’t without hurdles.
“We came out last year and sucked,” Mascotti said of the Spartans’ 1-3 start as the team was still learning new coach Jeff Scoma’s wing-T offense.
Then things clicked, and Stanwood went 5-1 down the stretch to set up the playoff showdown with Eastside Catholic.
The wing-T offense utilizes lots of misdirection and ball fakes to get defenders out of position, hopefully pursuing decoys.
“It feels good when you have three guys chasing and tackling you when you don’t have the ball,” said Bumgarner, who commands attention with nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago. “It’s like making three blocks because they’re out of the play now.”
Now, with 18 returning starters and a vastly deeper roster -- about 60 total returning players -- with the addition of several newcomers, the Spartans are getting more statewide attention from various media outlets as a top team to keep an eye on.
“The buzz is at a level we haven’t experienced before,” senior quarterback Wyatt Custer said. “But it’s what we’ve worked for. It doesn’t phase us. We want to keep getting better every week.”
Custer, Bumgarner and several other seniors have been playing football together for years, including on a Stanwood Youth Football team that took fifth in the nation in the 2017 National Youth Championship in Canton, Ohio.
“We have the tools and the team to get that state title,” Custer said.
Scoma said the team’s rising stock is part of a larger plan to establish Stanwood as an elite program.
“We don’t want to be great for a year; we want to build a legacy program,” Scoma said. “We want to continually be challenging for state championships. We want to build that mentality.”
Football team snapshot
Coach: Jeff Scoma, 2nd year
2021 team highlights: After starting the season 1-3, Stanwood finished 6-5 — its first winning record since 2006 and its first playoff win in 25 years. The run ended as the No. 15 Spartans fell to Eastside Catholic in the 3A state playoffs.
What to watch for this season: With nine returning starters on both offense and defense, the Spartans look to build on the valuable experience gained from last year’s playoff run. This year, 107 signed up to play football, up from 85 in 2021 and 54 in 2020. So depth shouldn’t be an issue.
The Spartans run a Wing-T offense that propelled the team to a school record 331 points last season — led by running back Ryder Bumgarner, who set a school record with 279 yards rushing in a playoff win over Lincoln. Bumgarner, who also set the school record for most rushing yards in a season, and a bevy of athletes will look to capitalize on the misdirection-based offense to take the program to even higher heights.
- Sept. 2: at Lakewood 7 p.m.
- Sept. 9: Marysville-Pilchuck 7 p.m.
- Sept. 16: at Oak Harbor 7 p.m.
- Sept. 23: Mount Vernon 7 p.m. (homecoming)
- Sept. 30: at Arlington 7 p.m.
- Oct. 7: at Union 7 p.m.
- Oct. 14: at Marysville-Getchell 7 p.m.
- Oct. 21: Ferndale 7 p.m.
Circle the calendar: Stanwood and Ferndale are expected to be preseason favorites to capture the Wesco 3A North title, making the home finale a potentially crucial showdown. However, if you can only see one game this season, it should be worth the drive to Arlington to see if the Spartans can snap their Stilly Cup skid this year.
Follow along: Listen to away games and watch home games at TCSNsports.com
Returners to keep an eye on
- Ryder Bumgarner, 12; RB, S, Returner
- Carson Beckt, 12; RB, LB
- Noah Grina, 12; LB
- Tripp Loertscher, 12; TE, DE
- Jeremiah Johnson, 12; DL, OL
- Luis Robledo, 12; DL
- Otto Wiedmann, 12; RB, LB
- Caden Caldero, 12; DE, TE
- Draydin McDonald, 12; OL, DL
- Michael Mascotti, 12; QB, Athlete
- Wyatt Custer, 12; QB, Athlete
- Carter Kinney, 12; OL, DL
Newcomers to watch
Canyon Bumgarner, 10; Cruise Swanson, 10; Chance Swanson, 10; Elijah Walker, 10; Elijah Fleck, 10; Memphys Ellis, 9