Mercer Island Islanders defensive back/wide receiver Henry Weiker (No. 8) makes a play on the ball during position drills on Aug. 17 on Mercer Island. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Mercer Island Islanders defensive back/wide receiver Henry Weiker (No. 8) makes a play on the ball during position drills on Aug. 17 on Mercer Island. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Islanders are looking to return to the playoffs in 2018

Starting quarterback spot is still up for grabs.

There will be a new signal caller under center for the Mercer Island Islanders season opener on the road against Mountlake Terrace on Aug. 31.

As of Aug. 17, Islanders’ head coach Ed Slezinger hadn’t decided which of the four players vying for the position will be in the starting lineup. Last year’s starter Nikhil Nayar graduated this past June and is playing football at the University of Idaho.

“Everything we do is competition based. That is the way we operate our team. I want to see the guys push themselves to see how good they become. That translates into a better performance. Right now we got four quarterbacks (Clay Dippold, Liam Rogan, Jack Varney and Nate Buchan) competing for the starting position. There is no incumbent. They all understand they are competing. No one has been ingratiated for the role, they got to earn it,” Slezinger said. “It has been fun to watch.”

The Islanders, who finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 7-4, lost to the O’Dea Fighting Irish 55-21 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Cole Miller, who was one of the most electrifying players in KingCo last season, is gearing up for a huge season.

“Cole truly is an athlete. He isn’t necessarily a vocal guy but leads by his action. Other players see him every day at practice and he (Miller) sets the bar high. Everyone really looks at Cole as a model citizen and that is translating to how we are handling our business both in the weight room and on the field,” Slezinger said.

The Islanders return a bevy of impact players from the 2017 team, including Jack Clayville (receiver/defensive back), Henry Weiker (defensive back/receiver), Hunter Johnson (receiver) and Will Mulflur (middle linebacker).

Slezinger said there has been a significant increase in new players to the program as well.

“It has just been phenomenal. The guys that are coming out for the team are athletes in other (sports) programs in the school,” he said.



Aug. 31 at Mountlake Terrace, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 at Issaquah, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 NEWPORT, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Burlington-Edison, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 INTERLAKE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 JUANITA, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Lake Washington, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 LIBERTY, 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.

The Mercer Island front seven (linebackers and defensive line) get into their stances while the coaching staff delivers signals and line calls. Shaun Scott/staff photo

The Mercer Island front seven (linebackers and defensive line) get into their stances while the coaching staff delivers signals and line calls. Shaun Scott/staff photo

More in Sports

Alex Edwards captured USA Swimming All-American honors for his stellar 2018-19 season with the Mercer Island Islanders. Photo courtesy of Bruce Edwards
Edwards earns USA Swimming All-American honors

Stellar 2018-19 season garners recognition.

Mercer Island Islanders midfielder Matt Capone (right), passes the ball to a teammate in a contest against the Juanita Rebels during the 2019 season. Capone will play soccer at Northwest Nazarene University this fall. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Attaining a dream on the soccer field

Mercer Island 2019 grad Matt Capone will play college soccer at Northwest Nazarene University.

Mercer Island Islanders 2019 graduate Teague Conder (pictured) will continue his baseball career at Whitman College in Walla Walla. Photo courtesy of Teague Conder
Conder to continue baseball career at Whitman College

Former Mercer Island third baseman embraces the action.

Peacocks roam the neighborhood of Beards Cove in sportswriter Shaun Scott’s childhood hometown of Belfair. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Running alongside a beautiful creature

Peacocks roam the streets of the neighborhood I grew up in.

Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez, left, and Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone, right, collaborated on a book titled, “Edgar: An Autobiography.” Martinez and Stone attended a book signing on June 12 at Barnes Noble in Bellevue. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Legendary Mariner meets a plethora of fans

Edgar Martinez visits Bellevue Barnes & Noble to promote his book.

Mercer Island resident Michael Magnussen has competed in all six of the marathon majors in the world since 2016. Magnussen clocked a time of 2:56.21 at the London Marathon in May. This past February, Magnussen finished with a time of 2:55.40 in the Tokyo Marathon. Photo courtesy of Theresa Magnussen
Running is a way of life for Magnussen

Hard work and determination pays dividends for avid Mercer Island runner.

Mercer Island Islanders sophomore Tegan Yuasa is currently the top-ranked male 55-kilogram athlete in the sport of Judo. Yuasa will compete at the Cadet World Championships, which will take place from Sept. 25-29 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa
Yuasa earns first place in the USA Judo Elite Senior National Championships

Mercer Island High School sophomore Tegan Yuasa captured first place in the… Continue reading

The Mercer Island FC Maroon girls soccer team earned a 2-1 victory against the PacNW Blue in the President’s Cup D2 championship contest May 12. Photo courtesy of Tom Hill
Maroon girls soccer team completes journey with a championship

Teamwork propels Maroon soccer team to third title in five seasons.

Mercer Island senior Matthew Capone, left, dribbles the ball up field while being guarded by Juanita sophomore Andrew Taylor in a game on April 11. Capone earned first-team all-3A KingCo honors as a midfielder during the 2019 season. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Islanders athletes capture all-league honors

Bevy of Mercer Island soccer/baseball players garner recognition.

The Mercer Island Islanders tennis doubles team consisting of Kevin Chen/Chris Elliott earned first place at the 3A state tennis tournament on May 25 in Kennewick. Photo courtesy of MC Chen
Doubles duo attains a coveted goal on the tennis court

The doubles team of Kevin Chen/Chris Elliott goes undefeated at the 3A state tournament.

Coach Don Papasedero, Gihoe Seo, Grace Shaddle, Annelise Rorem, Katelyn Travis, Lilly Pruchno and coach Tim Okamura take a team photo with the 3A third place trophy on May 22 at Hawks Prairie Golf Course in Lacey. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Mercer Island girls golf team captures third place at 3A state tourney

Islanders’ girls golf squad rises to the occasion in final tournament of 2019.

Mercer Island player Glen Mahony (No. 9) leaps on the back of Will Wheeler (No. 14) during the 3A state championship game against the Bellevue Wolverines. Mercer Island defeated Bellevue 14-6 on May 25 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography
Islanders win 3A state lacrosse championship

Mercer Island finishes 2019 season with 18 victories.