Experience plays a pivotal factor in success on the gridiron.
Players who have been through battles in the past typically rise to the occasion when adversity hits. The Totems football team, which finished with an overall record of 4-5 last season, have one of the most experienced squads they’ve fielded in years this fall.
“We’re senior heavy this year. A lot of our players back were our main guys last year. They’ve gotten a lot better over the offseason and have gotten a lot stronger. The man thing that we need to do is keep everybody healthy,” Totems head coach Rylen Akana said. Akana’s son Coby will be in his second season as the starting signal caller. Last year Akana didn’t give Coby much freedom at the quarterback spot but said that will change this year.
“I am going to cut him a loose a little bit this year. I kind of was a little cautious last year even though he understood the defenses he was facing. I didn’t let him run much last year but I’m going to give him a little more leeway to take off with the ball if he has the opportunity to do it. He has put in a lot of time during the offseason and is ready to go,” Akana said of Coby.
The Totems have a bevy of key returners, including Brandon Zanders (wide receiver/defensive back), Daniel Sushkin (slot receiver, defensive end), Ryan Hervey (tight end), Tony Oliva (running back), Cameron Arsenian (linebacker) and Aman Anwar (defensive end).
“Harvey is going to add a lot to this offense this year. He has worked hard in the offseason on his speed and strength. Oliva is a really shifty running back. We should be able to put points on the board and move the ball,” Akana said of the offense. “The real surprise on defense last year was Aman Anwar. He was really undersized but was so quick and strong. This year he has put on a lot of weight and has developed his speed. He just gets after it and understands leverage.”
Since Akana accepted the Totems head coaching position in February of 2017, he’s been focused on community involvement with his players just as much as fine tuning their skills on the gridiron. This past July, the Totems volunteered their time at the Lake Hills neighborhood association picnic, where players got to know members of the community.
“We do community service projects during the year. This year we helped at the Lake Hills picnic that was held in July. The guys set up football drills for the kids. It was really great to see them out and really give back to the community. I think the community really appreciated that,” Akana said.
Aug. 31 CEDARCREST, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Interlake, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Bellingham, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at ROOSEVELT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Lakeside, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 CLEVELAND, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Chief Sealth, 7 p.m.