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 Squalicum Storm of the 2A Northwest League - No. 47 in our countdown. (Feature photo courtesy of the Lynden Tribune.)
Editor’s note: Squalicum 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
8-3 (second place in 3A Wesco North); lost to Eastside Catholic in the 3A first round.
- Nick Lucey, seventh season.
- Overall record: 52-15.
- Coordinators (base scheme): Offense - Nick Lucey (power spread). Defense - Brian Young (3-4).
DB Elliott Aslan
OL Brandon Gimse
OL/DL Adam McCluskey
OL Ben Paz
DL Cesar Vasquez
Offense - 5. Defense - 6.
QB Mason Binning, 6-1, 185, sr.
OL/LB Bryson Lamb, 6-3, 225, jr.
DB/ATH Steven Owens, 6-0, 180, sr.
WR/DB Kai Posey, 6-2, 160, jr.
OL/DL Jayden Raymond, 6-2, 230, sr.
LB/TE Billy Scammell, 5-10, 190, sr.
RB/LB Djouvensky "Ben" Schlenbaker, 6-1, 215, jr.
OL/DL George Vanos, 6-3, 265, sr.
DL Aiden Weston, 6-3, 215, sr.
THREE TO SEE
Mason Binning, quarterback
High-IQ athlete can really thread the needle on passes, and has enough savvy as a run-pass option threat.
Billy Scammell, linebacker
Squalicum's best all-around defender is undersized, but zips to the ball and rattles bones once he arrives.
Djouvensky Schlenbaker, running back
Dubbed a "man-child" by his coach, the 2,000-yard rusher already has offers from Cal, Colorado, UW and WSU.
These days in Bellingham, a tempest (some would mischievously refer to it as a "storm") is brewing on the Squalicum football field.
It is specifically headed for any defender in a front seven who dares to stand in its way.
It is called Ben.
Schlenbaker, a native of Haiti, is that make-a-mess-of-a-defense tailback you see once every generation. The 3A Wesco North first-teamer as a sophomore hit his stride midway through the 2019 season, and never slowed down - finishing with 2,148 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns.
"He got scary," coach Lucey said. "To me, he is the full package - speed, power and patience."
Schlenbaker's backfield presences opens up a ton of opportunities for Binning, a baseball standout who can make all sorts of passes from different arm angles - and gets the ball out quickly.
Last season, Binning struggled out of the gates finding a rhythm with a young receiving corps. That should not happen this season with three returners, led by Kai Posey.
If the Storm can find the right blocking combination up front, it should win shortened-season games, and extend Lucey's streak for producing winning seasons to seven consecutive years (with five state playoff trips during that span).
"On a positive note, this is the most our guys have worked out outside (the school) and have been together, and that has been neat to see. On the flip side, it has been a challenge because we have not done our offseason program like we'd want to." - Nick Lucey
2020-21 SCHEDULE - SQUALICUM TEAM PAGE
- Feb. 20 at Sedro-Woolley
- Feb. 26 at Mount Vernon
- March 5 vs. Lynden
- March 12 at Sehome
- March 20 vs. Oak Harbor