Pure domination has been on display for the Mercer Island Islanders football program in early season action on the gridiron.
Throughout the first five games of the 2018 season, the Islanders have rattled off five consecutive victories against Mountlake Terrace, Issaquah, Newport, Burlington-Edison and Interlake. Mercer Island has outscored its opponents 128-57 in those five contests.
The Islanders, who advanced to the first round of the 3A state playoffs in 2017, possess a bevy of talented players on the 2018 roster. Mercer Island senior running back Jack Clayville has been the team’s go-to player on the ground. The 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound senior is known for his all-out effort in between the tackles and ability to battle for extra yards after contact. Sophomore left-handed quarterback Clay Dippold, who is in first season as the Islanders’ signal caller, is an accurate passer who gets the ball out of his hands quickly to his playmakers. Islander senior wide receiver/safety Cole Miller is not only one of the best athletes on the team, he is one of the best athletes in the 2A/3A KingCo Division. Miller is a ballhawk in the secondary and has a keen sense of where to be at the right time. Islanders’ senior linebacker Will Mulflur has emerged as one of the top players on the roster. Mercer Island linebacker Owen Baebler is adept at stopping the opposing team’s running game as well.
Despite all of the success thus far, the Islanders remain humble and hungry between the white lines.
“I feel that it’s extremely important that we keep that chip on our shoulder,” Mercer Island junior defensive tackle/offensive guard Bryce Fitzwilson said. “As our coaches have been saying, the weight of our schedule is right in front of us. If we are going to have a chance to beat teams like Liberty or Bellevue, we have to keep getting better in practice and pull it all together. That is what it takes to be a championship team.”
The Islanders will close out the regular season against the Liberty Patriots (Oct. 19) and the Bellevue Wolverines (Oct. 26). As of press time, the Wolverines are currently undefeated and Liberty has just one loss on the season. The matchup against the Wolverines is the game I’m personally looking forward to watching the most. The two teams, which are separated by less than five miles, are the epitome of rivals. The game could very well have playoff and postseason implications riding on the outcome.