Whether you were a fan of Sedro-Woolley football player Brent VanderVeen or one of his team’s opponents, it didn’t pay to take your eyes off him this season.
On a Cubs team that had its share of weapons, including an efficient new quarterback, VanderVeen was who opposing players and coaches had to account for most.
“We knew we could go to him for big plays. The other teams had to compensate for where he was lined up. It opened things up for other players,” Sedro-Woolley coach Dave Ward said. “We really relied on him to carry us at times. He was certainly willing to do that.”
For his importance to a playoff-qualifying Sedro-Woolley squad, VanderVeen is the Skagit Valley Herald Offensive Football Player of the Year.
VanderVeen scored 13 touchdowns, tied for second in the county with Concrete’s Peyton Sanchez. He caught 53 passes for 574 yards and was also a standout on defense.
“Someone always steps up but Brent makes it look so easy,” Ward said.
VanderVeen said he came into his senior season with high expectations for himself.
“I wanted to be a dominant player, if not the most dominant in the league,” he said.
Those expectations were shared, he said, by a Cubs team looking to re-establish its reputation in a conference with big-name teams such as Lynden and Archbishop Murphy.
“We wanted to prove ourselves and bounce back from last year,” VanderVeen said.
The Cubs did that with a competitive season that included a victory on the road over Lynden, a game VanderVeen said was a definite season highlight.
“That was a sweet, sweet win,” he said. “They’ve grown to be a rival. It’s big if we can beat them, especially at their place.”
VanderVeen hopes to be a part of more big wins after graduation.
He recently committed to the NCAA Division I program at the University of Wyoming. In a nod toward his versatility, the Cowboys plan to play him at linebacker.
A recent visit to the school helped seal the deal, he said. He got to meet the coaching staff and players, and watch a game.
One other aspect of the school he got a taste of? The chilly weather.
VanderVeen said he watched the first half of Wyoming’s game in the stadium, but when the temperature plunged into the single digits he watched the second half indoors.