<ul><li style="text-align: left;">Islanders head coach Ed Slezinger talks to his team during practice. Benjamin Olson / staff photo</li></ul>

Islanders head coach Ed Slezinger talks to his team during practice. Benjamin Olson / staff photo

Islanders buying in

Mercer Island football taking shape in third year under Slezinger.

In his third season at the helm of the Mercer Island High School football team, Ed Slezinger is starting to see his program take shape.

“There’s been a change of mindset in year three,” Slezinger said. “Players are starting to buy into what we want the program to look like.”

It was an up and down season for the Islanders last year, winning their first six games before dropping their last three games by a combined score of 95-2. They finished with a 6-3 overall record and missed the playoffs.

This year, there will be a mixture of new faces and returning starters on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Islanders are replacing nine starters from last year’s squad. Gary Shavey, the defensive coordinator, has high expectations for his veteran players like Owen Baebler, a 6-foot, 220-pound senior middle linebacker.

On the offensive side, they will be returning key starters on the offensive line from last year: 6-3, 220-pound senior Bryce Fitzwilson and 6-4, 255-pound junior Derek Osman.

At the quarterback position, senior Clay Dippold is the favorite to win the starting job over junior Liam Rogan, but nothing is set in stone.

“Clay is the front-runner right now, but you never know,” offensive coordinator Kyle McKenna said. “We like to have a very competitive atmosphere.”

Slezinger said the Islanders have good team speed and he hopes to use that to increase the tempo on offense.

“I call it mixed tempo,” Slezinger said. “At times, we’ll go into the huddle and slow things down, but we will pick up the speed this year and use some no-huddle stuff.”


Sept. 6 home vs. Mountlake Terrace, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 home vs. Issaquah, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Newport, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 home vs. Sehome, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Interlake, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Juanita, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 home vs. Lake Washington, 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Bellevue, 7 p.m.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Linemen perform a drill during their first official practice. Benjamin Olson / staff photo

Linemen perform a drill during their first official practice. Benjamin Olson / staff photo

More in Sports

Islanders boys golfers qualify for state

MIHS finishes even at the top with Interlake at districts.

Mercer Island High School boys cross country 3A KingCo champs: From left to right, top row, Owen Powell, Brooks Enge, Ryan Koopman, Clark Koopman and Alex Levin; and bottom row, Luke Sandmaier, head coach Susan Empey and Kai Zettel. Courtesy photo
MIHS boys notch 3A KingCo cross country championship

Mercer Island High School’s Ryan Koopman raced to first overall and the… Continue reading

Islanders boys golfers notch 3A KingCo title

The Mercer Island High School boys golf team powered through 18 holes… Continue reading

LW defeats Mercer Island in football action

Lake Washington defeated Mercer Island, 28-13, in 3A KingCo football action on… Continue reading

Bellevue defeats Mercer Island on the gridiron

Bellevue’s Matt Yamamoto tackles Mercer Island’s Addison King while Mercer Island’s Davis… Continue reading

Senior Evans leads the Islanders’ boys golf squad

He’s headed to Duke University next year.

The Mercer Island High School football team warms up for its Sept. 24 game at picturesque Stadium High School in Tacoma. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District
Mercer Island defeats Stadium, 38-6

Bellevue is next up for Islanders on Oct. 1.

‘Playing for your school provides a lot more pride’

MIHS senior Waterman is enjoying life on the soccer pitch.

Mercer Island knocks off Hazen on the gridiron

Quarterback Eli Fahey threw three touchdown passes and ran for one during… Continue reading

Mercer Island Girls Basketball tryouts are set for tip off

The Mercer Island Girls Basketball Booster Club recently announced tryouts for the… Continue reading

‘Fireball’ is one of the Islanders’ leaders on the tennis court

Manhas plays No. 2 singles for stellar squad.

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading