Sammamish Totems head football coach Rylen Akana said middle linebacker Hikaru Aoyagi (pictured) will anchor his team’s defense on the gridiron during the 2019 season. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Sammamish Totems head football coach Rylen Akana said middle linebacker Hikaru Aoyagi (pictured) will anchor his team’s defense on the gridiron during the 2019 season. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Manning the middle for the Totems

Sammamish middle linebacker Hikaru Aoyagi runs the show on the defensive side of the ball.

Controlling the action from the middle linebacker position is the perfect milieu for Sammamish Totems senior football player Hikaru Aoyagi.

Aoyagi, who has played football since his freshman season in 2016, is an avid weight room attendee and studies game tape meticulously.

“I’m a student of the game. I have been watching football for forever. I’m always studying,” Aoyagi said. “Our goal this year is to win as many games as possible and try to have a season that we are proud of. At the end of the day, we’re going to just go at it one game at a time and one snap at a time. We will just do our best. I think we got a great group of hard-working guys. I’m really excited for this year.”

Aoyagi is a fan of third-year Totems’ head coach Rylen Akana’s approach to his players’ lives on and off the field.

“He is a great person. He talks to us like he is our dad and is a father type of figure. It’s great for us to play for a guy like him,” Aoyagi said.

The responsibility that comes along with calling the shots from the middle linebacker position is something Aoyagi cherishes.

“It is all about just gritting it out through the entire game. Being a backer, you have to stop the run and you’ve got to cover guys. We’ve got to do everything and are the core of the defense,” he said.

Recently the Bellevue Reporter had an opportunity to ask Aoyagi some questions about his life away from the football field.

Bellevue Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant in Bellevue?

HA: Probably one of the sushi places. I’m a Japanese guy. I love sushi.

BR: What is your biggest pet peeve?

HA: Probably Styrofoam being put together. It gives me goose bumps.

BR: What is your favorite movie of all time?

HA: “Forrest Gump.”

BR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?

HA: It would be Russell Wilson. It would be nice to talk with him about football and life. He is an inspirational person and a role model.

BR: What is your favorite hobby away from football?

HA: I would say lifting weights. It is addictive. It is so much fun.

BR: Where do you see yourself in five years?

HA: Hopefully I will be done with college, have my own place and have a good job that I’m having fun in.

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