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SBLive’s 2023 all-state Washington high school football award winners: O'Dea RB Jason Brown Jr. is player of the year

Lake Stevens QB Kolton Matson is state offensive MVP, and Yelm LB Brayden Platt in state defensive MVP after big seasons

There were first-time state champions, repeat winners - and some of the craziest games you will ever seen played anywhere on a football field this fall.


And now it is time for SBLive to release its individual award winners, including the all-classification player and coach of the year honorees, as well as the ones in each classification:



Player of the year: Jason Brown Jr., RB, O'Dea, sr.

2023 Washington high school football: Eastside Catholic at O'Dea

Jason Brown Jr. was meant to star at O'Dea High School.

His first birthday gift as a young boy was a Fighting Irish football jersey - given to him by his father, Jason Sr., who played for the school in the early 2000s.

Every year during his upbringing, Brown Jr. would attend at least one O'Dea football game.

And when he got here, it is safe to say the teenager left his mark as one of the school's all-time greats.

Brown Jr. had a fantastic season in the toughest 3A league in the state - the Seattle-area Metro League - by rushing for 1,897 yards on 159 carries and scoring 34 touchdowns as the Fighting Irish made it all the way to the WIAA state semifinals, losing to Bellevue.

His career numbers - 6,281 rushing yards and 89 touchdowns - were record-breaking, eclipsing the previous program gold-standard marks of Myles Gaskin, who is currently in the NFL. He holds or shares seven school records.

"I knew I was going to O'Dea the second I put on pads," said Brown Jr., who has signed with Arizona State University. "I grew up watching their games from afar - watching all those great guys play here. I knew this is something I wanted to be a part of."

Brown Jr. was the breakout start during the spring COVID-19 season in 2021, even though he did not receive a single carry in the Fighting Irish's first game at Eastside Catholic.

After after he broke off a 75-yard touchdown run in the closing seconds of the first half against Ballard in Week 2, there was no going back.

He ended up rushing for nearly 1,000 yards in a shortened season, and tied Gaskin's single-game touchdown record with five scores against Bishop Blanchet.

"That (COVID season) was one of the things that helped me, too, because there was no big pressure," Brown Jr. said. "In a normal year, I would have come in during the fall to play - and I wasn't that big. But I got bigger with the extra time by putting on 15-20 pounds by working out all day."

Brown Jr. said he has established a good relationship with Gaskin through Team FSP workouts. In fact, when he reset the career rushing marks, Gaskin texted him a congratulatory message.

"He has always been a big mentor for me," Brown Jr. said. "He told me, 'You are built for pressure, and made for more than you have right now.'"

Brown Jr. said he was satisfied with his senior-year production, and is proud of the mark he has made on one of the state's storied programs.

"I am proud of the season I had," Brown Jr. said. "I feel like I matured a lot as a player, and a leader. That is what I want dot do.

"I worked my butt off and had the best offseason that I had so far. ... Success was for me this year."


Offensive player of the year: Kolton Matson, QB, Lake Stevens, jr.

2023 Washington high school football, Class 4A championship game: Lake Stevens vs. Graham-Kapowsin

The biggest piece of Lake Stevens High School's run in 2022 to the WIAA Class 4A championship graduated last spring.

So, the natural question arose after Jayden Limar left for Oregon - who would be the centerpiece of the Vikings' offense?

It ended up being an easy selection.

Despite losing his top three receiving options from the previous season, quarterback Kolton Matson had a season for the ages in the 4A Wesco - completing 224 of 335 passes for 3,388 yards and a program-best 49 touchdowns (and six rushing scores) in leading the Vikings to back-to-back 4A titles.

In the final three games of the WIAA playoffs, Matson went off on a blistering pace, totaling 832 yards and 12 touchdown passes against Kennedy Catholic, Kamiakin and Graham-Kapowsin.

"We are an RPO (run-pass option) team, and to be able to read defenses and make quick decisions with the ball, it takes a while to learn it," Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri said. "And he had that down this year."

Matson said as soon as Limar left, he wanted to be the playmaking leader the Vikings leaned on this fall.

"As soon as summer camp came, it was at that time we bonded together and started to understand each other's tendencies," Matson said. "As soon as we played Garfield (in the season opener), we blew through the roof as an offense."

Matson said his season goal was to break 3,000 passing yards, which he did. But 49 touchdown passes? Never in a million years.

"I never expected that," he said.


Defensive player of the year: Brayden Platt, LB, Yelm, sr.

2023 Washington high school football, Class 3A semifinals: Eastside Catholic at Yelm

As bullish as Yelm's Brayden Platt was at running back on offense, it is plainly obvious that at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, he was built to play defense.

And before he became the state's best linebacker - and overall player - Platt, a University of Oregon signee, was placed in a number of roles on defense, and flourished in all of them.

"For me, it's been about the players, not plays," Yelm coach Jason Ronquillo said. "And during his freshman year, he had such a unique ability, we played him as an edge rusher in our blitz package ... and in our heavy front, he became the safety."

As the Tornados' defensive linemen pool improved, Platt was able to slide into a more permanent position at inside linebacker.

"He has a natural instinct for finding the ball," Ronquillo said. "With his elite speed and ability to sprint sideline to sideline, and his physicality, he became such a sure tackler. He was always going to make the tackle."

Despite being plagued by an early-season hip injury, Platt registered 99 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss. He had six sacks, and picked off a pass.

On offense, he rushed for 1,328 yards and 22 touchdowns, and had another receiving score.

"He is so lean and muscular and explosive," Ronquillo said. "He works for a lot of that, but he has been blessed with so many gifts."


Two-way player of the year: Brock Beaner, RB/LB, Anacortes, jr.

2023 WIAA 2A championship: Anacortes vs. Tumwater

The secret is officially out of Anacortes.

Junior Brock Beaner can play just about any position - and at any level of football in Washington.

The 2022 Northwest Conference player of the year, Beaner backed that up by being an all-league first teamer at linebacker and running back - and leading the Seahawks to their first WIAA Class 2A title earlier this month.

On offense, Beaner had 138 carries for 1,209 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding 17 receptions for 327 yards.

On defense, he had 95 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss. He registered nine sacks (and 11 quarterback pressures). He collected two interceptions and one fumble recovery - and blocked three punts or kicks that were recovered for touchdowns.

In the Class 2A title game against Tumwater, it was Beaner's scoop-and-score return off a blocked punt that gave the Seahawks a two-score lead they would never relinquish.

"What stuck out was his level of effort - whether he had the ball or not," said first-year Anacortes coach Travis Anderson.

And after dealing with a hamstring injury for much of the season, Beaner had reason to take plays off. But he never did.

"He is the kind of kid who would not tell you if he was tired," Anderson said. "I'd have to reach his body language ... or ask him to be honest with us."

And while his offensive workload was reduced, he never took a snap off at outside linebacker.

"He is a leader by example," Anderson said.


Lineman of the year: Demetri Manning, DT/LT, Bellevue (3A), jr.

Central Catholic Oregon vs Bellevue Washington football September 2 2023 Ken Waz 68

Based on potential alone, Bellevue coach Michael Kneip thought Demetri Manning had the look and talent to be as good a lineman that has ever come out of this storied program.

And in 2023, Manning - the long-armed, fast-twitching 6-foot-7, 340-pound tackles - backed up the promise.

Holder of a dozen NCAA Division I offers, Manning was voted an all-3A KingCo first-team offensive lineman (LT) and defensive lineman (3-tech) this fall, helping the Wolverines win their second Class 3A title in three seasons.

"He is really special," Kneip said. "I am so proud of him. He did everything we asked."

A transfer from Kent-Meridian in 2022, Manning certainly has the college-ready frame to play immediately, but had no background in Bellevue's Wing-T offense. So, he just played on the defensive side of the ball as a junior.

"The expectation of the way we play is different," Kneip said. "The tempo we played at is challenging for a big guy like him."

After he lost 20 pounds last offseason, Manning was a breakout star on the camp circuit, collecting offer after offer.

But he also picked up how the Wolverines do things. Kneip called him the team's "most improved player."

And by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was a dominant force on both sides.'

"He is one of the best defensive linemen and offensive linemen in the state, and did an amazing job," Kneip said.


Breakout player of the year: Lance Allred, QB/LB, Royal (1A), jr.

2023 Washington high school football, Class 1A championship game: Royal vs. Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls

Folks got a glimpse of Lance Allred in 2022 when the wide receiver had a huge WIAA Class 1A championship game performance for Royal, which held off Mount Baker for its third consecutive state title.

But under-center Allred was even better this fall.

The 1A SCAC player of the year passed for 2,958 yards and 35 touchdowns, and carried the ball 132 times for 636 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Knights' first-year quarterback. He also had 86 tackles and five interceptions at linebacker on defense.

But at the end of last season, longtime coach Wiley Allred was uncertain who the starting signal caller would be.

Allred, Ben Jenks and Ezra Jenks all took turns at quarterback of the freshman team in 2021. But after Allred had success at a new position - receiver - last fall, the coach was hesitant moving him.

"He ran routes and did a good job," Wiley Allred said. 

But after the coach saw how much Lance Allred's passing accuracy improved during summer ball, and how much bigger he was than the other two contenders - it became clear who would be the guy.

"As the season went along, he more consistent," Wiley Allred said.

In the Class 1A title game against Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, Lance Allred was a one-man wrecking crew - 12-of-16 for 182 yards and three touchdowns, 23 carries for 169 yards and three scores and two interceptions on defense in the Knights' victory.


Comeback player of the year: Leyton Martin, QB, Arlington (3A), jr.

2023 Washington high school football: Arlington-Monroe

Arlington coach Greg Dailer thought Leyton Martin was well on his way to a breakout last fall at quarterback before the teenager's season came to an abrupt end at the end of September.

In a game against Marysville-Pilchuck, Martin was injured during a scramble. He immediately grabbed his had. He had broken his wrist, ending his season.

But in 2023, Martin came back better than ever.

The 3A Wesco first-team quarterback led the Eagles' stress-free march through the league season, and into the WIAA playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals as the No. 3 seed before losing to eventual champion Bellevue.

Martin was fantastic all season, completing 204 of 316 passes for 2,747 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also had 269 rushing yards and another six scores.

"He is an unbelievable playmaker," Arlington coach Greg Dailer said. "He is best when it is unscripted. He scrambles to throw and make big passing players - and he has. phenomenal arm."

Martin is also a standout guard on the boys basketball team.


Coach of the year: Keith Terry, Mount Tahoma (3A)

Keith Terry, Mount Tahoma football coach 2022

As an alumnus, Keith Terry knew the long stretch of football futility at Mount Tahoma High School.

After winning back-to-back Class 4A titles in 1979 and 1980, the Thunderbirds had not won a state playoff game since then. In fact, their only other appearance was 1984.

They had not won a league championship since 2004, or had a winning season since 2011 (with eight no- or one-win seasons during that span).

In his second season, Terry, 35, changed all of that ancient history by winning the 3A PCL, defeating Ferndale in the opening round of the WIAA Class 3A playoffs and playing reigning state champion Yelm tough in the quarterfinals to cap an 8-4 campaign.

"It was fun and rewarding," said Terry, a 2006 Mount Tahoma graduate. "Seeing the joy of the kids and knowing they would have these memorable moments was so fun."

In high school, Terry's leadership skills were so prevalent, teammates dubbed him, "Coach Keith."

After a short playing stint at Feather River College in California, Terry returned to join Leon Hatch's staff at Decatur before going to Auburn Riverside as an assistant for Bryant Thomas and Marcus Yzaguirre.

Terry returned to Mount Tahoma as the offensive coordinator in 2020 = and was hired two years later to take over as Hatch's replacement.

"Last year was a lot of putting in the foundation of what we wanted our program to be," Terry said. "We thought that would pay off (in 2023). And even though we started 0-2, it felt different. The response of the kids and coaches was ... we knew we'd be right there."