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Washington’s Top 50 high school football teams: Experience, depth give No. 34 Mountain View a leg up in the 3A GSHL

“You hope ... we can be on autopilot and still succeed. Go through motions because the motions work.," Thunder coach Adam Mathieson says.
adam mathieson, mountain view

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school teams in Washington ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Mountain View Thunder of the 3A Greater St. Helens League – the No. 34 team in our countdown.


5-2 in 3A GSHL (first place).


  • Adam Mathieson, 14th season.
  • Overall record: 96-46.
  • Coordinators: OC - Ben Matthias (spread); DC - Tyson Bjorge (odd front).


DB Kevin Chen

WR Davis Delmage

WR Austin Lee

QB/LB/DB Riley McCarthey

K Jude Mullette


WR/DB Kyle Chen, 6-1, 190, jr.

RB Porter Drake, 5-9, 180, soph.

OL/DL Gavin James-Dues, 6-3, 265, sr.

WR/DB Jacob Martin, 6-0, 175, jr.

OL/DL Jurell McDade, 5-10, 190, sr.

TE/WR Aiden Nicholson, 6-2, 190, soph.

OL/DL Alexis Plummer, 6-0, 200, sr.

RB/DB JJ Thompson, 6-0, 160, soph.

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Offense - 8. Defense - 10.


Kyle Chen, cornerback

There’s a reason he was the second ninth grader to ever start for Mathieson ( Ferndale's Jake Locker was the first). He’s a proven lockdown cover man with linebacker size - and a Penn State offer to show for it. Also plays free safety.

Gavin James-Dues, offensive tackle

Ever since starting as a sophomore, he’s worked his way into a leadership role in the weight room and locker room with his work ethic and development - and onto the recruiting board of NCAA Division II programs. Also plays defensive end.

JJ Thompson, free safety

Started as a ninth grader against Union in the second week of the spring season - his first varsity action more than a year after the onset of the pandemic - and kept the job. Will also shoulder carries as a running back.


Adam Mathieson compares this group favorably to his 2018 team, which was senior-heavy, without a NCAA Division I recruit and a team that reached the Class 3A semifinals.

And for good reason.

Hear him out: Coming off of a league title in the spring, the Thunder returns 18 starters, including junior cornerback and Penn State prospect Kyle Chen, as well as a strong senior class.

“You hope as a program, you’re at a point in the organization when we can be on autopilot and still succeed,” Mathieson said. “Go through motions because the motions work.”

Point well made by the man in charge of the winners of four of the past five 3A GSHL titles.

The Thunder went 5-2 in the spring. Mathieson said he treated the shortened season as an opportunity to tinker, move players around a little more and rotate young players. He probably would have played a talented crop of underclassmen anyway, starting five ninth graders (a first for Mathieson), which was both evidence of “tinkering” and a signal of how much Mathieson likes his 2024 class.

Sophomores Porter Drake (400 yards in the spring) and JJ Thompson will rotate in the backfield, and have a physical, experienced offensive line paving the way for them, headlined by senior offensive tackle Gavin James-Dues.

Junior Mitch Johnson and sophomore Cash Cook will battle for the top quarterback spot, and whoever wins will have weapons in front, behind and to his side.

The Thunder enter as the favorite to repeat as league champion - and hope to mount a playoff run.


  • Sept. 3 vs. Kentlake
  • Sept. 10 at Union
  • Sept. 17 vs. Wenatchee
  • Sept. 24 vs. Heritage
  • Oct. 1 at Kelso
  • Oct. 7 vs. Camas
  • Oct. 15 at Prairie
  • Oct. 22 vs. Battle Ground
  • Oct. 28 vs. Evergreen of Vancouver