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Underdog Totems still fighting uphill in rough KingCo | 2013 Reporter Prep Football Preview
Two weeks before fall camp opens is never a good time for a head coach to receive breaking news about his football program.
So when Sammamish head man Brian Tucci was told his team would have to open the year at Bellevue's International School and its ad hoc football field instead of the newly-surfaced on-campus home the Totems opened just last season, his reaction was predictable.
Luckily for him, so was that of his players.
"It has been amazing," Tucci said. "We've had more kids committed this year than in any year past."
After being told the school's weight room would not be available during the summer because of the $125 million renovation taking place, Tucci's team took to local gyms and trained at their homes instead. When the team resumed weekly conditioning, a group of around two dozen was regularly on-hand.
"It's continued to grow and evolve," Tucci said. "That is the best thing about it: seeing that corps group of kids expand each year."
The Totems struggled to a mostly forgettable season in 2012, going winless and allowing more than 30 points in all but one game, a 28-0 loss to rival Interlake. Sammamish surrendered 50 or more points all but three times.
After spending 2012 admittedly searching for moral victories to keep his team invested during an immensely difficult campaign, Tucci hopes 2013 can revolve around more tangible evidence of success.
"Last year was a lot of mental victories, making improvements," Tucci said. "We're challenging the kids now."
With all but a few of its regular starters returning in 2013, the Totems are hoping the experiences of a painful 2012 spurn growth this year.
"We're just looking for that experience and knowledge from the past years to pay dividends," he said. "The biggest thing is that continued growth."
If his team is able to make strides on the field, it won't be an illusion.
Sammamish will face an identical schedule to its 2012 slate, with non-conference games against 2A Cedarcrest and Franklin Pierce preceding a run through 3A KingCo, where it will once again be one of two 2A classified schools, along with Lake Washington.
Junior lineman Jordan Sanders, an all-conference honorable mention selection in 2012, said the most pressing task for this year's squad is to create an identity of belief.
"We're moving forward, leaving what is in the past behind," he said. "We're moving on."
On the offensive side of the ball, Tucci said he believes another year of seasoning could make all the difference for senior quarterback Terrence Allen, who will lead a group that scored only 13 points combined in seven conference games last season and was shutout five times against KingCo opponents.
"We want to start measuring ourselves with the competition," Tucci said.
Senior quarterback Terrence Allen will lead the offense in 2013. JOSH SUMAN, Bellevue Reporter