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SBLive Washington is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Here's an inside look at the Mount Baker Mountaineers of the 1A Northwest Conference - No. 49 in our countdown.

Editor’s note: Mount Baker is in the North Region of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The North Region is still in Phase 1 of the plan, which means moderate and high risk high school sports have not been cleared return to competition. The earliest they could move to Phase 2 - and start their season - is Friday, Feb. 12.

2019 IN REVIEW

11-2 overall, 6-1 in 1A Northwest Conference (shared league title); lost to Connell in 1A state quarterfinals.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Ron Lepper, 25th season
  • Overall record: 182-79
  • Coordinators: Tom Horsmon (OC); Brian Burdick (DC).
  • Base schemes: Wing-T offense, 4-3 defense

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

Waylon Kentner, TE/LB

Jason Lee, RB/DB

Mark Tikhonov, DB

Cody Saulsbury, OL

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense - 7. Defense - 5.

TOP PLAYERS

RB Toby Jefferson, 5-10, 195, jr.

LB Davin Beason, 6-0, 200, jr. 

QB Mason Jacoby, 6-3, 175, sr.

WR/DE Garrett Smith, 171, sr.

THREE TO SEE

Toby Jefferson, tailback

The lead ball-carrier in a multi-pronged rush attack, the all-league pick will have much of the same O-line clearing the way for him.

Mason Jacoby, quarterback

The Mountaineers don’t run the air raid, but Jacoby’s ability to flourish in the Wing-T adds another dimension in 2019. His work ethic throughout the offseason has stood out on a team where it’s contagious. 

Davin Beason, linebacker

Led the team in tackles (59), logging nearly five a game, and commanded the defense from the middle. He was an honorable mention all-state choice as a sophomore, per the Associated Press. "He's pretty special," Lepper said.

2021 OUTLOOK

The Mounties were counting down the days until they could step back on the gridiron and put an unceremonious 2019 playoff exit behind them. 

That count lasted much longer than expected. 

State playoffs are off the table for the 2021 season. But after 11 months without high school sports, there is so much more to play for than accolades and playoff wins.

“Probably the hardest part of not being able to compete in the fall was, I didn’t like the way things went for us last year,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “Our kids wanted to make up for us and didn’t get the chance. That was tough.”

After all, the Mounties know a thing or two about how a hot start can breathe life into a locker room. Lepper watched as a brand knew O-line fused into one in the face of a tough non-conference start to the 2019 season with the rare 1-2 punch of beating Lynden and Lynden Christian in the same season. 

“The way the OL came together early was so huge for us confidence-wise,” Lepper said.

It was a 4-0 start heard ‘round the state. And even in a condensed season, Mount Baker’s toughness may not be a secret — but the Mounties enter the season better equipped to replicate the magic once more. 

2020-21 SCHEDULE

To be determined.

Mount Baker is in the North Region of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The North Region is still in Phase 1 of the plan, which means moderate and high risk high school sports have not been cleared return to competition. The earliest they could move to Phase 2 - and start their season - is Friday, Feb. 12.