Coach: Kemal Vejo, seventh season
Last year: 5-11-1 overall, 3-6-1 league; bi-district playoffs
Player to watch: Angel Hernandez, jr., MF
X-Factor: Alan Luff, sr., F
Outlook: The Scotties are going to continue what they always do: play good defense and possession soccer. Kemal Vejo’s are always among the most disciplined in Cowlitz County, but struggle against the Vancouver schools in league play. Defenders Hunter Sweider and Jesus Vidal graduate but the offense and midfield should be in good shape for Kelso.
Mark Morris (2A)
Coach: Harold West, 17th season
Last year: 2-13-1 overall, 1-11 league; missed postseason
Player to watch: Ethan West, sr., MF
X-Factor: Tino Cemulini, jr., MF
Outlook: A last-place league finish last year wasn’t entirely indicative of the team’s talent. They lost five games by just one goal, a couple bounces going the other way sending the Monarchs into summer break early. Ethan West and Tino Cemulini return, but the absence of talented forward Schuyler Garcia up top could leave MM lacking in the scoring department this season.
R.A. Long (2A)
Coach: Max Anderson, third year
Last year: 12-8-1 overall, 6-6 league; state playoffs
Players to watch: Amilyonno Puc, sr., MF
X-Factor: Andrew Casillas, sr., DEF
Outlook: Graduating the likes of the Cabrera twins, defender Zach Chesley, midfielder Gerardo Negrete and midfielder Arturo Blanco will leave the Lumberjacks in an uncomfortable position to start the year. But there’s still plenty of talent left to make this group a playoff team. It will just take some time to find their identity.
Coach: Bryan Vogel, seventh season
Last year: 14-6 overall, 9-3 league; state playoffs
Player to watch: Aidan Thrall, jr., MF
X-Factor: Brooks Massey, jr., DEF
Outlook: Woodland should be a favorite to return to the state playoffs, as the core of the team returns. A battle royale with Columbia River atop the league is in order and the Beavers stealing a league or district crown could be in the works with the Thrall kids adding another — Treyson — in net. Woodland may lack the depth of the perennial power Chieftains but their top-end talent is among the best in the state.
Coach: Horst Malunat, 17th season
Last year: 10-4-2 overall, 10-1-1 league; state quarterfinals
Player to watch: Gustavo Barragan, sr., F
X-Factor: Alan Contreras, sr., GK
Outlook: The Toledo/Winlock combined program slipped in the district championship last year, but came back stronger than ever, winning their first state game since 2002. The core of the team returns, with Gustavo Barragan a dynamite forward aided by talented midfielders Isaac Garibay and Andreas Malunat. Goalkeeper Alan Contreras is the best around. Every team in the Trico League is gunning for the champs, so they’ll have to bring it every night.
Castle Rock (1A)
Coach: Darren Daniels, 13th season
Last year: 1-13-1 overall, 0-10-1 league; missed playoffs
Player to watch: Jayden Behrendsen, jr., MF
X-Factor: Coleman Guerrero, jr., DEF
Outlook: The lone win last season was a long time coming for the Rockets and a point of pride for a long struggling program. They graduated just three from last year’s roster, two of which were all-league picks. Jayden Behrendsen is the lone all-league returner.