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Originally published June 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 22, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Prep Notebook | Lakes' Middleton already in spotlight

Even in a small room dotted with sizeable football players, Kavario Middleton stands out. At 6 feet, 7 inches and a muscular 250 pounds...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Even in a small room dotted with sizeable football players, Kavario Middleton stands out.

At 6 feet, 7 inches and a muscular 250 pounds, Middleton definitely passes the eyeball test. With 4.7-second 40-yard speed to go with the frame, he has passed most other high-school defensive ends on the national recruiting charts. Scout.com lists the Lakes senior-to-be as the No. 2 player at his position nationwide and No. 1 in the Northwest regardless of position.

But all of that means little to Middleton, one of six Lakes players who stopped by Qwest Field on Thursday to take part in media festivities for the fifth annual Emerald City Kickoff Classic, scheduled there on Sept. 1.

"I don't buy into that stuff," Middleton said of the hype sparked by recruiting services. "That doesn't really do anything for me. The only thing that can do is bring you down."

Middleton, who also plays tight end and is a terror on the basketball court, already has 15 Division I scholarship offers for football and said he has trimmed his list to Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Arizona State, Miami and California.

According to coach Dave Miller, he will be the first four-year varsity starter at the suburban Tacoma school. And Miller predicts Middleton ultimately will be the Lancers' second first-round NFL draft pick, joining receiver Reggie Williams, who starred at Washington and has played three years for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lakes, a perennial 3A powerhouse, plays 4A Gig Harbor at 3:30 p.m. as part of the five-game Kickoff Classic lineup. The other matchups: 1A Royal vs. 2A Eatonville at 9:30 a.m.; 2A Selah vs. 3A Franklin Pierce at noon; 4A Kentridge vs. 4A Inglemoor at 5:30; and 3A Liberty vs. 3A Newport at 8 p.m.

Also on hand Thursday were players and coaches scheduled to be part of the second annual Emerald City Volleyball Invitational at Eastlake High School on Aug. 31. That field features Eastlake, Eatonville, Eisenhower of Yakima, Franklin Pierce, Lakes, Liberty, Newport and Rainier Christian of Auburn.

Kesim joins Lynnwood girls

Daghan Kesim believes in fairy-tale endings.

As the new coach of the Lynnwood girls soccer team — one that lost every game last fall and has never made the state playoffs — Kesim takes over a program that will need some storybook magic to turn things around.

"It's more fun for me to take on teams that people don't expect to qualify," Kesim said. "I like being a part of a team that is completely ready to change."

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Kesim, 27, also coaches the Cascade of Everett boys soccer team, which he led to a third-place finish in state last season.

He hopes to have a similar impact at Lynnwood, where he was an assistant for the boys team in 2001.

"I want [the girls] to believe that things that aren't supposed to happen can happen," Kesim said.

Kesim played soccer professionally in Turkey as a teenager. An injury ended his playing career, but the 27-year old aspires to return to Europe as a coach.

"I want to build a career, but I really want to make a difference in these kids' lives," he said.

Notes

• Middleton isn't the only highly regarded Lakes player. WR Jermaine Kearse ranks No. 11 on Scout.com's "Northwest Hot 100" and QB Calvin Schmidtke, a senior transfer from Life Christian, is No. 30.

Miller said he expects five others to earn college scholarships, including WR-S Watson Togiailua, another key transfer, and said the 2007 team potentially could be the school's best. Togiailua started at quarterback for Auburn Mountainview the past two seasons, but moved back to Lakewood after the 2006 season.

• The Newport-Liberty game, the only league game on the Kickoff Classic schedule, will count in the KingCo 3A standings. Both coaches have high hopes going into the season and have put added importance on the early showdown.

"It's a must-win game," Liberty's Steve Valach said.

• Inglemoor coach Frank Naish brought five players Thursday, while Kentridge coach Marty Osborn attended by himself at the urging of his athletic director.

Naish said the incentive of playing at Qwest Field made in impact in Inglemoor's offseason workouts and his players agreed.

"We're pumped," senior lineman Brandon Washington said. "We're excited to show what we can do."

Kentridge has a pair of Division I prospects in QB Brandon Turner (No. 43 on the Hot 100) and C Le'Roi Edwards (No. 61). Turner, an outstanding all-around athlete who played on Kentridge's state runner-up basketball team, returns to quarterback after playing receiver the past two seasons.

• The volleyball tournament will feature round-robin play, with teams playing each other once. The two teams with the best records will play for the title.

Nate Burleson from the Seattle Seahawks and Joey Thomas from the Dallas Cowboys are offering a free football camp today at Highline Stadium in Burien for players ages 8-18 as part of what they are calling the first Annual Charity Weekend. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m., and the camp runs 4-6 p.m.

Other professional players expected to participate include Seahawks Marcus Trufant and Seneca Wallace, Cowboys Damarius Bilbo, Ab Elam, Jamel Richardson and Michael Jefferson, and Michael Bennett of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The event continues Saturday with a charity basketball game at Kennedy High School at 6 p.m. that will include Zach Randolph from the Portland Trail Blazers. Admission is $10, with proceeds going to the Friends of Children, a King County organization that caters to at-risk children, according to Thomas.

Sandy Ringer: 206-464-8294 or sringer@seattletimes.com. Freelancer Joshua Mayers contributed to this report.

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