2016 Mount Baker Mountaineers Preview

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Coach: Ron Lepper, 21st season with Mount Baker (146-67)

Home Field: Bob Tisdale Field at Mount Baker High School

Last Season: 10-2 (6-0 NWC)

Key Losses: OL/DL Chad Cohn; OL/DL Paul Lebedev; OL/LB Kolton Zender; QB/DB Mason Bass; RB/DB Vadim Kotsyuba.

Top Returnees: RB/LB Jed Schleimer; TE/DE T.J. Bass; WR/S Thomas Barbo; RB/CB Carson Engholm; K Jonathan Ehlers.


HISTORICAL COMPARISON: Carson Brandland & Galen Smith

Carson Brandland
Galen Smith

Brandland comes into this season as a junior two-way starter. Although he will be learning a new position on offense (moved from quarterback to wing back), he’s picking it up quickly. He played a lot last year at outside linebacker, and will likely have a bigger impact as a starter this season.

Smith landed on the scene as a junior, and led the Mounties in tackles that season from his strong safety “monster” position. As a senior he was moved inside to play next to Lee Stavik forming one of the best inside linebacker duos of the 90’s. Smith also took on more responsibility at running back as a senior, rushing for 498 yards and six touchdowns.


2015 RESULTS

Sedro Woolley 20, Mount Baker 7

Mount Baker 69, Oroville 14

Mount Baker 52, Cascade (Leavenworth) 0

Mount Baker 64, Nooksack Valley 30

Mount Baker 33, Meridian 28

Mount Baker 38, Lynden Christian 22

Mount Baker 57, Nooksack Valley 14

Mount Baker 36, Meridian 15

Mount Baker 27, Lynden Christian 15

Mount Baker 56, Sultan 7

Mount Baker 47, Kalama 42

Montesano 51, Mount Baker 21


2016 SCHEDULE

09/02 – at Roosevelt – 7 PM

09/09 – Kelowna (BC) – 7 PM

09/16 – Port Townsend – 7 PM

09/23 – Nooksack Valley – 7 PM

09/30 – at Lynden Christian – 7 PM

10/07 – Meridian – 7 PM

10/14 – at Nooksack Valley – 7 PM

10/21 – Lynden Christian – 7 PM

10/28 – at Meridian – 7 PM


The run that Mount Baker has put together over the past few seasons has been unprecedented in school history, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. Coach Ron Lepper brings back a lot of key performers from last year’s squad, but he’s also stressing that it won’t happen again unless you put in the work.

“We believe that you still have to earn it” said Lepper. “Sure, we have some players coming back, but we have to fill a lot of spots, too. Guys have to believe that when it’s their turn to fill a spot, that they can add something to the program.”

Kaleb Bass
Kaleb Bass

Sophomore Kaleb Bass will take over at quarterback for his big brother Mason, and it might be the ideal situation for a first time varsity player to step into. “He won’t be asked to go out and win games for us on his own,” Lepper said. “He has guys around him that can help.”

Jed Schleimer
Jed Schleimer

In 2015, Jed Schleimer decided to take out his pen and completely re-write the school record book, and the All-State running back is back for an encore. He will continue the Schleimer legacy left behind by his brothers; Joe, Jim and Jake. Collectively they have ran for almost 13,000 yards and 172 touchdowns while wearing the red and black. Oh, and here’s a number for you… 7.4. That number represents how many miles they have ran for under the Friday night lights, and it’s ALSO the average yards per carry between them. “Little” Jed will look to add to those totals in 2016.

Carson Engholm
Carson Engholm

He will be joined in the backfield once again by junior Carson Engholm, who’s 883 rushing yards last season broke Jed’s school record for rushing yards by a sophomore. Junior Carson Brandland will be the wing back, moving from the quarterback position. Junior Thomas Barbo had a big year last season at wide receiver, and he has all the ability to do it again.

Gene Fleming
Gene Fleming

It’s rare when the biggest player on your offensive line is an eligible receiver, but this will be the case with senior tight end T.J. Bass. At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds he supplies quite the target for his younger cousin. Senior Gene Fleming returns at left tackle after filling for the injured Paul Lebedev in 2015. Junior Luke Steeves takes over at left guard for the currently injured Will Hunter, and junior Michael Barton will start at center. The massive senior combination of Maxwell Tolman and Braxton Shannon round out the line at right guard and tackle, respectively.

T.J. Bass
T.J. Bass

The defensive line will be led by T.J. Bass, who was an All-State 1st Team selection last year and had 10 quarterback sacks. Fleming will be the other defensive end with Tolman and Shannon filling out the interior of the line. The inside linebacker spots will be rotated by Schleimer, Barton and sophomore Noah Rathjen. Brandland saw a lot of action last year as an outside linebacker, and will head up that group that welcomes junior Hayden Linderman and sophomore Jay Allen.

Thomas Barbo
Thomas Barbo

William Pilat is diminutive (5-5 136) but has shown significant flashes at camp over the summer, and he will be Baker’s main cover man. Engholm will also start at cornerback with Barbo at safety. Senior Jonathan Ehlers returns at kicker, and senior Jesus Torrero is back at punter.

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The Mountaineers have a lot of tools in place to make some special things happen in 2016. Even though I’m a former Mountie, with family members on the team, I will remain objective. However, I hear Tacoma is pretty nice in late November/early December.

Prediction: 9-0


2016 Roster

NO.    NAME          POSITION  HT. WT.    YEAR

3 Kobee Malone  RB/DB  5-7 141 10

4 Jed Schleimer  RB/LB  6-2 203 12

5 Zandy Zender  WR/DB  5-10 144 11

9 Carson Brandland QB/LB  5-11 154 11

11 Sergey Fandalyuk  WR/DB  6-0 136 12

12 Kaleb Bass  QB/DB  5-10 146 10

19 Michael Kentner  WR/DB  6-2 167 10

20 Colten Harkness  RB/LB  6-0 142 10

21 Jonathan Ehlers  RB/DB  5-7 152 12

22 William Pilat  WR/DB  5-5 136 12

24 Carson Engholm  RB/DB  6-0 156 11

26 Junior Camacho  RB/DB  5-8 156 11

32 Thomas Barbo  WR/S  6-2 194 11

33 Sam Barrett  RB/LB  5-9 162 10

39 Jay Allen  RB/LB  6-1 176 10

41 Alex Kotsyuba  RB/LB  5-10 156 10

44 Hayden Linderman TE/LB  5-10 173 11

47 T. J. Bass  TE/DL  6-5 266 12

50 Ethan Miller  OL/DL  5-8 186 11

52 Luke Steeves  OL/DL  5-10 185 11

53 Michael Barton  OL/LB  5-9 187 11

55 Noah Rathjen  OL/LB  5-7 210 10

56  Braeden Shannon  OL/DL  5-8 225 10

57 J.J. Kalsbeek  OL/DL  5-9 191 10

58 Owyn Alvino-Vance OL/DL  5-7 175 10

59 Wyatt Marsing  OL/DL  6-0 183 12

60 Roberto Garcia  OL/DL  5-10 224 11

61 Will Hunter  OL/LB  6-0 182 12

66 Gene Fleming  OL/DL  6-0 196 12

67 Kyler Steeves  OL/DL  5-11 166 11

73 Jordan Mitchell  OL/DL  5-11 278 11

75 Maxwell Tolman  OL/DL  5-11 236 12

77 Braxton Shannon  OL/DL  5-10 231 12

79 Logan Sanday  OL/DL  5-11 226 10

80 Chase Barter  WR/DB  6-0 150 11

81 Noah Armstrong  WR/DB  5-7 142 11

84 Jesus Torrero  RB/DB  5-7 145 12

87 Chase Craiger  TE/DE  6-0 174 10