Football to no longer play other NSD high schools


Jackie Su

Coach Christian Hanna instructs players how to block during a drill on June 2.

Jackie Su and Arushi Sharma

Since 1998, Inglemoor’s football team has played competitively at the 4A level in the KingCo conference. Schools placed in the 4A level have at least 1,300 students in grades nine to eleven. Starting this fall, the football team will switch from the 4A classification to an independent schedule, which means that they will not be put into a bracket according to school size. Switching to an independent schedule means that as of the coming fall season, Inglemoor will not be competing in football against the other 4A high schools in NSD like Bothell, Woodinville or North Creek, nor will they play against other 4A schools in the area. 

According to Athletic Director Lance Gatter, based on the current number of students at Inglemoor, the school should technically be considered 3A, but NSD previously chose to opt all athletics at Inglemoor up to 4A. 

Gatter said that the decision to switch to an independent schedule for only football was made to ensure the safety of the team. Compared to other 4A schools in the area, Inglemoor’s football team is significantly smaller, both in terms of the number of players and in the size of players. 

Head Coach Steve Hannan said that while Inglemoor has around 65 kids in the program, the other 4A football programs have around 100 to 120 kids. He said that weight was another significant factor. While Inglemoor has no players weighing 250 pounds and only two kids at 200 pounds, all the other 4A schools have multiple players weighing 200-250 pounds. 

“When you look at our roster compared to all the other 4A schools, we don’t resemble a 4A school—we resemble a 3A school,” said Hannan. “When you look at Juanita, Mercer Island and Lake Washington, they’re all 3A schools, and our roster looks just like theirs.” 

Gatter said that you can also see the size difference between Inglemoor and the other 4A schools in the number of teams at each high school. While 4A schools such as Bothell High School and Eastlake High School each have three teams — a freshman, junior varsity and varsity team — Inglemoor only has a freshman and varsity team. 

“Yeah, I think size was the biggest thing. Like Bothell — you see them for the national anthem, they cover the whole field and we’d cover like 30 yards or whatever,” said junior Jack Detmon, who plays center. “I don’t think we were conditioned as well — we weren’t lifting as much as the other teams. I think those all contributed to why we weren’t super successful.” 

The difference in weight and number of players was reflected in the number of injuries during the 2021 football season. Gatter said that in games against five other KingCo schools of similar size, the school’s record was 2-3, with no season-ending injuries. 

However, in the games against the 4A high schools in NSD, Inglemoor lost 7-41, 0-42 and 6-41, and in those three games, there was one fractured clavicle, two fractured legs, a fractured wrist and one ACL tear. 

“When we’re playing the bigger teams like Bothell, they just put in new guys and then nobody’s tired, but they’re playing our tired guys, so people get hurt easier,” said Detmon. “And when I feel like everyone’s the same level of tiredness, I guess it’s easier to not get hurt. It’s more even, or fair.” 

The football program will also undergo a coaching change. Hannan said that he will be retiring from coaching the football team. Hannan has been coaching football for over 25 years, six of which were at Inglemoor. Hannan said that the experience has been a lot of fun for him.

 “I mean the kids, the football team, they came out everyday for practice, worked so hard, listened, and tried. Just minimal issues and problems,” Hannan said. “Just a great group of kids and a great bunch of coaches that tried really hard, too.”

 Although Hannan is stepping down from the head coach position, he said that he has great faith in Coach Marcus Carr, who will be replacing him. 

Carr previously worked as head coach at Coupeville High School on Whidbey Island for four years. He has also coached at the semi-pro level. 

“I spent some time with Coach Carr. I think he really has a clear vision of what he wants the program to look like,” said Hannan. “And he’s been successful where he’s been.”

 Detmon also expressed excitement about Carr and said that his arrival will be a good thing for the football program. 

“Yeah, I’m excited for the new coach. I’ve seen some of his plays, and he’s already got us working more,” said Detmon. 

Gatter said that his hope is for the team to increase in size, so that in a couple years, they can then decide if the school should be designated as a 4A or 3A school. “I hope we can build our numbers up,” said Gatter. 

“I’m hoping that when we play like-sized schools, we will be more competitive versus when the schools are bigger than us.” Hannan said that he hopes the new independent schedule will lead the football program to success on the field. He said the players work hard and put time and effort into football, but that their hard work has not been reflected by the scores of games because of the unequal 4A schedule. “It makes building the culture a lot easier when you see the success,” Hannan added. 

Hannan said that he has seen the schedule for this coming season, and the team will be playing tough schools, so winning those games will not be easy. 

“But that’s what makes football so great. It’s that — you know — it’s 14 to 14. It’s in the fourth quarter, it’s gonna be a close game!” said Hannan.