Newport Knights team capsule

Coach: Mike Miller, 5th year (23-18)

Coach: Mike Miller, 5th year (23-18)

Last season: 7-4, 5-3 KingCo 3A

Key departed players: Collin Bennett, RB/S; Blake Gibbs, RB/LB; Bobby Wenger, QB/CB; Curtis Stensland, K; Ned Schooler, OL/DL; Reece Anderson, LB.

Impact players: Ian Case, Sr., RB/LB; Jake Luwe, Sr., OL/DL; Jonte Giacomino, Sr., RB/DB; Alex Kairis, Jr., TE/DL; Ross Quarre, Jr., QB/LB; Reid Dilley, Jr., RB/LB;

Best kept secret: Jake Luwe, Sr., OL/DL. One of only two returning starters for Newport, Luwe was a first team All-KingCo selection on defense last year for the Knights.

2008 schedule

9/5 at Woodinville

9/12 vs. Mercer Island

9/19 at Ballard

9/26 vs. Skyline

10/3 at Redmond

10/10 at Garfield

10/17 at Eastlake

10/24 vs. Issaquah

The Bottom Line: Newport will need to adjust to 4A, and fast. The Knights are in the same conference as two legitimate state championship contenders in defending 3A champion Skyline and 4A runner-up Bothell. This year might be a year of growing pains for Newport.

-Joel Willits

The Rest

Crest Division

Skyline Spartans (14-0, 8-0 KingCo 3A, Class 3A state champions): No team in Washington State has higher expectations than Skyline, which defeated O’Dea 42-35 last November to claim the Class 3A state championship, its third since 2000. The Spartans, ranked No.24 in the nation by ESPN, are led by junior quarterback Jake Heaps, who has more scholarship offers than years in school, and senior wide receiver Gino Simone, who has committed to Washington State. Can Skyline possibly live up to the hype? Nothing less than a second-straight state championship will be good enough for first-year head coach Mat Taylor.

Issaquah Eagles (6-4, 5-3 KingCo 3A): Experienced group returns junior Grant Gellatly, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, and has one of the biggest offensive lines in KingCo. Coach Chris Bennett has a team loaded with talent, but with the jump to 4A, the Eagles will have plenty of teams to battle with just to get to the state playoffs again.

Eastlake Wolves (10-2, 7-1 KingCo 4A): After falling three points short of the Class 4A state semi-finals, the Wolves return only return four starters, and only one of those starters plays offense. But Coach Gene Dales says the playing time many of his backups had in mop-up time last year should make the transition easier this year.

Redmond Mustangs (5-4, 4-4 KingCo 4A): Redmond lost all-world lineman Trevor Guyton (now at Cal) and running back Allen Hall (820 yards, 12 touchdowns). Senior quarterback David Gilbertson will look to improve this season after passing for more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (8), although he did pile up the yards with 1,240.

Garfield Bulldogs (1-8, 1-7 KingCo 4A): The Bulldogs lost leading rusher Chris Owes, but return two steady juniors in running back T’Andre Jones (289 yards, five touchdowns) and quarterback Sean Foster (674 yards, five touchdowns, five interceptions). Garfield features offensive and defensive lineman Deandre Coleman, a 6-5, 295-pound monster considered the state’s top recruit.

Crown Division

Woodinville Falcons (7-4, 6-2 KingCo 4A): The Falcons return 1,380 yards rushing in seniors Jordan Todesco and Matt Brumfield, but lose an important contributor in quarterback Peter Roberts, who passed for 1,645 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Lake Washington Kangaroos (0-9, 0-8 KingCo 4A): New head coach Ray Roberts has his work cut out for him. The Kangs lost leading scorer running back Danny Hazan, and need to find an answer at quarterback. Six different players lined up behind center in 2007 and only combined for 360 yards and two touchdowns.

Bothell Cougars (13-1, 8-0 KingCo 4A): Bothell lost only once last season, 21-14 to Lewis and Clark of Spokane in the Class 4A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome. The Cougars outscored their opponents 454-112 but lost quarterback Johnny Hekker, who threw for 1,981 yards, 55 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Patrick Ottorbech is Bothell’s most experienced returning running back (632 yards, five touchdowns in 2007).

Ballard Beavers (5-5, 5-3 KingCo 4A): Ballard has experienced running back in Julian Montante (356 yards, four touchdowns) but not a whole lot else offensively.

Inglemoor Vikings (7-5, 5-3 KingCo 4A): Inglemoor returns clutch kicker Anthony Arena, who hit nine field goals last season. Todd Campbell, a 6-4, 188-pound senior, takes over at quarterback after splitting time with Kurt Wagner and A.J. Morrow last season.

Roosevelt Rough Riders (4-5, 4-4 KingCo 4A): Roosevelt will have to replace Cameron Stephan (906 yards rushing, nine touchdowns) but does return experienced quarterback Nick Foster, a 6-foot-2 junior who passed for 848 yards and five touchdowns last season.