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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history
Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history

Budda Baker, 24, was winning at Bellevue High School before he was with the Arizona Cardinals.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities
No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces
There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.

Vikings earn all-league honors on the basketball court
Vikings earn all-league honors on the basketball court

Both boys and girls Bellevue Christian basketball teams were well represented on… Continue reading

Athletic practices and competitions cancelled through April 24 due to coronavirus outbreak
Athletic practices and competitions cancelled through April 24 due to coronavirus outbreak

By Andy Nystrom and Benjamin Olson Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March… Continue reading