Interlake Saints football players participate in a tackling drill during a spring football practice session on June 19 in Bellevue. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Interlake Saints football players participate in a tackling drill during a spring football practice session on June 19 in Bellevue. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Building for a promising future on the football field

Saints are striving for improvement in all facets of the game.

Flashback to 32 months ago: The Interlake Saints football program hosted a playoff game against the Gig Harbor Tides in Bellevue.

The Saints lost, 14-13, in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game in November of 2016 on their home field. The past two seasons the Saints missed the playoffs and didn’t garner a winning record.

Interlake Saints senior wide receiver/defensive back Tyler Zumek is determined to see the program turn a corner this fall.

“I just want to see us come together as a team. We haven’t really had that the past few years. I just want us to bring it all together again and get some big wins,” Zumek said.

The Saints, who had an overall record of 2-7 during the 2018 season, captured victories against the Sammamish Totems (Crossroads Cup) and Lynnwood Royals in the season finale. Interlake Saints head football coach Shawn Hartline, who will be in his second season leading the football program this fall, is adamant about seeing his squad blossom into a contender.

“Building the program is the No. 1 priority. We want to bring football back to the community and make it fun. We’re at almost 50 players in our program (all four grades). Our target is 60 players,” Hartline said.

The Saints return a plentiful amount of talented athletes to the starting lineup this fall. Hartline said Jack Hirsch (defensive end/tackle), Grady Fleming (running back/linebacker), Luke Hirsch (wide receiver/free safety) and Zumek will make significant contributions on both sides of the ball.

One of the things the Saints football program has always been known for is its grit. That reputation gives Hartline an immense amount of pride.

“It is one of the greatest things about our team. Even if we’re down by a lot of points at halftime and it doesn’t seem like we have a fighting chance, we come out and win the second half of games over and over again,” Hartline said with a smile. “Every quarter is a building opportunity for us. Our freshmen and sophomores get a lot of playing time on Friday nights.”

Luke Hirsch, who roams the secondary with passion at his safety position, is optimistic about the 2019 campaign.

“We’ve been lifting (weights) a lot during the offseason. We’re getting bigger, stronger, faster and more conditioned. I love playing safety, I’m back there patrolling the passes and I’m the last person (on defense) if someone breaks out a long run,” Hirsch said.

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