Totems football program is steadily improving

Sammamish junior Coby Akana will be in his second season as the starting quarterback.

The Sammamish Totems football program is determined to build on a respectable 2017 season on the gridiron.

Totems’ head football coach Rylen Akana, who will be in his second season of leading the program this fall, is focused on cultivating a winning culture on and off the field. The Totems finished with an overall record of 4-5 in Akana’s first year at the helm during the 2017 season.

“We got a lot of guys returning this year and now we are able to really focus in on the (offensive and defensive) schemes. The guys are used to it. It has been really good because there has not been so much of a learning curve,” Akana said.

Akana’s son Coby will be in his second season as the Totems’ starting quarterback. Key returners include offensive lineman/linebacker Cameron Arsenian, defensive/offensive lineman Victor Tobias and receiver/defensive back Brandon Zanders.

“Coby is developing and we’re depending a lot on him this year leadership-wise on and off the field. Cameron, Victor and Brandon were all-league players in the KingCo 2A and they are all returning. They are going to be huge contributors,” Akana said.

Akana said tight end Ryan Hervey and sophomore running back Tony Oliva will also be stalwarts on offense for the Totems.

“Tony is going to be something special. He is a scatback and has a lot of speed. With the guys we have on this team, we are going to be able to compete. That is what it’s all about,” Akana said.

The Totems’ signal caller under center is thrilled to be surrounded with a bevy of talented athletes.

“There is a lot of good guys to throw to. We are going to grit through everything,” Coby said. “This team just loves being in each other’s company. We have a lot of fun out here. I love seeing how we compete as a team. We have that bond that is really special to us.”

While Akana wants to see his team win as many games as possible, it isn’t what is most important to the second-year head coach.

“In building this football program, football is really going to be secondary. We are taking care of other things. This spring we instituted a series called student first, athlete second that focuses on academics. The program helps with getting our kids help in the classroom with a focus on time management, study skills and organization. We’ve been practicing Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and on Tuesday and Thursday we are in the classroom,” Akana said. “We want to make sure they are prepared and ready for college.”