Eastlake looking to build consistent contender under Bartel | Prep spring football

The Wolves return from a 4A state quarterfinal trip in 2013, and hope to build on that momentum, even with the loss of a few key figures

Spring football practices are wrapping up around the region, with coaches preparing to take their teams to summer camps, passing leagues and training, with the fall season just over the horizon.

The Reporter caught up with each of the four prep football coaches in Issaquah and Sammamish to take a look ahead to 2014 and some of the stories that will play out in the fall.

4A KingCo changes in a major way in 2014, as Garfield, Roosevelt and Ballard leave the league, while Mount Si joins Class 4A. The conference will not feature two separate divisions, and will use a round-robin schedule in football.

2013 season: The Wolves reached the state quarterfinals after finishing second in the division, and ended the season with a loss to eventual state runner-up Camas.

The regular season was a bit of a mixed-bag, as Eastlake beat Plateau neighbor and eventual 3A state runner-up Eastside Catholic 27-21, but lost lopsided games to Skyline (21-6) and division foe Bothell (45-18).

Seven straight wins, including a 50-14 blowout of rival Redmond and a tour de force performance in a 52-7 playoff victory on the road against Kentwood, helped the Wolves reach the the 4A state quarterfinals for the sixth time in school history.

2014 non-conference schedule: 9/19 VS. Gig Harbor

Early outlook: Quarterback Blue Thomas and wide receiver Jeffrey Feinglas give the Wolves a solid option through the air, but the task of replacing the production of Troy and Drew Lewis is a sizable challenge. The defense also lost some major pieces, especially along the line, most notably co-Lineman of the Year Brandon Kaufman.

All-KingCo losses: First team offense: Carson Iraola, OL; Cody Scheffels, OL; Second team offense: Brandon Kaufman, OL; First team defense: Kaufman, DL (Lineman of the Year); Drew Lewis, DB; Second team defense: Garret McCorkle, DB; Joe Longcore, DB     All-KingCo returners: Second team offense: Blue Thomas, QB; Jeffrey Feinglas, WR; First team defense: Eric Uhlar, LB; Feinglas, DB

Summer camp: Steve Gervais Academy team camp

Biggest question: With no Lewis brothers, who carries the mail for Wolves?

Eastlake coach Don Bartel is confident in the abilities of the players he has returning to man the skill positions on both sides of the ball.

The next task is turning those skills into Friday night production.

Bartel inherited a talented group in 2013, but will be without his main offensive threat in Troy Lewis, and a host of first team All-KingCo lineman in Cody Scheffels, Carson Iraola and Brandon Kaufman, when the Wolves take the field in 2014.

Jeffrey Feinglas is one of the most experienced returning players on the outside for Bartel, and will likely see more focus from opposing defenses as Thomas and the rest of the offense look to him even more this year.

“Jeffrey is a big one for us in terms of experience, a ton of success, and his leadership,” Bartel said. “Plus, he’s hungry.”

Feinglas’s lack of satisfaction stems from missing his team’s final game of 2013 after suffering an injury in the win over Union the previous week, and Bartel said this year’s team is eager to prove last year’s playoff run is the new norm.

“If we don’t focus on getting better every day,” Bartel said. “We’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”