What a difference a year has made for Interlake Saints junior quarterback Duncan Varela.
Varela, who has passed for 15 touchdowns in six games this season, has emerged as the Saints team leader on and off the field. Varela split time at the quarterback position as a sophomore in 2014, but is running the show as a junior. Varela said he’s thrown for more than 1,200 yards and rushed for 700 yards thus far this season. Interlake’s third-year head coach David Myers is impressed with Varela’s transformation.
“Duncan has made that transformation and jump from his sophomore to junior year. It has been a huge boost to us. He is taking a lot on his shoulders and has done really well with it,” Myers said.
Varela said he’s benefitted from the addition of quarterbacks coach Ry Akana to the Interlake coaching staff this season.
“Coach Akana is our new quarterback coach and he has helped me out a lot. He has helped me improve with my footwork, which is something I didn’t do well with last season,” Varela said.
Myers agreed with Varela’s assessment.
“He has done wonderful work with him. He has been great,” Myers said of Akana. “This is the first year where we have been able to have a quarterback coach. He has just done a tremendous job with Duncan and the other quarterbacks.”
Varela missed Interlake’s loss against Bellevue with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, but expects to return to the starting lineup for his team’s matchup against Juanita on Oct. 30. Varela said he suffered the injury on the final play of Interlake’s 48-41 win against Mercer Island on Oct. 9. Varela said the triumph against Mercer Island was a landmark win for his squad. The Saints avenged a lopsided 46-13 loss during the 2014 season to the Islanders.
“Last year (2014) we got killed by them. This year we went into that game wanting revenge for what happened the year before. The Mercer Island game is where we finally put it all together,” he said.
The junior signal caller enjoys being a team leader on and off the field for his squad.
“I’m not the most vocal person in the world, but I try to lead by example on the field and in the weight room. If someone ever needs help studying, I will be there to help them out. One of the things I focus on is the weight room. We are not the biggest team and we are definitely not the fastest, so we constantly have to keep working hard and have a great work ethic,” Varela said.
Shaun Scott: 425-453-5045; email@example.com