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Originally published October 14, 2009 at 8:24 PM | Page modified October 14, 2009 at 11:16 PM

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Football notebook: John Kanongata'a ready to deliver hits again

The Bellevue senior linebacker believes he's finally back to 100 percent physically again, after being nagged by a high-ankle sprain.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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John Kanongata'a couldn't take standing on the sideline. After suffering a high-ankle sprain in a September game at Katy, Texas, and tweaking it again against Grant of Sacramento, he spent the following week on the sideline among the Wolverines' walking wounded.

"You're just looking at your teammates working so hard and you just feel left out and not useful," the 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker said.

The Wolverines' senior leader feels he's finally 100 percent again, heading into Friday night's home game against Juanita.

"He's important to our team, period," Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. "He's one of the kids that's truly a leader. He's one of the guys who is respected by everyone out here. He's a tough kid."

At the end of last season, Goncharoff said Kanongata'a was playing as well as anyone on the team. In Bellevue's second game this season, he was all over the field against Katy before the injury.

"Everyone looks up to John," offensive lineman Marcus Henry said. "He's our biggest hitter, a team leader on defense."

Kanongata'a is considered the heart and soul of Bellevue's defense, but while he was limited by the injury, his twin brother David stepped up and became the Wolverines' leader in tackles. Now that John is healthy again, he is determined to make the most of what's left of his senior season.

"It's good to have him back, because we're young in some spots and he does make plays," Goncharoff said. "He's a little undersized, but he's a heck of a football player."

Bothell's toughest test in practice?

When a team has outscored opponents 270-24, sometimes it becomes necessary to create a little extra competition in practice.

At Bothell, coach Tom Bainter is "running our No. 1s with next best."

With plenty of depth up front, the Cougars' scout offense and defense is loaded with starters. They are able to match defensive standouts Evan Hudson and Dallas Gosselin against UW-bound offensive lineman Colin Porter and the starting backfield.


It creates a daily challenge, and the team is responding.

"We have made an environment where we'll get better on a daily basis through effort and competition," Bainter said.

Enumclaw warm-ups over

Enumclaw is sitting pretty at 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the SPSL 3A with three regular-season games to go.

But there's nothing cushy about the rest of the Hornets' schedule, starting with Bonney Lake (4-2, 3-2) Friday night. Then come games against Peninsula (5-1, 4-1) and White River (4-2, 4-2).

Those four teams are fighting for the league's remaining three playoff berths behind top-ranked Lakes, which has already beaten each of them.

"We don't have anything but big games the rest of the way," Enumclaw coach Don Bartel said. "We're done with our warm-ups. This is it ... We're starting the playoffs now, really."

Bartel and Chad Barrett, Bonney Lake's first-year head coach, are good friends. Bartel was an assistant coach at Eastlake when Barrett was on Steve Gervais' staff at Skyline.

Young invited to Offense-Defense Bowl

One night last week, Chris Young was talking with his dad about postseason all-star games and how great it would be to play in one.

The next day, he received an invitation to the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Jan. 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"I was kind of shocked," Young said.

Young, a running back/defensive back who has committed to Washington, is a key reason the Trojans are unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 4A.

"He has been a great leader this year on the field and has consistently made big plays for us on both sides of the ball," Auburn coach Gordon Elliott said.

All in the family at Rogers, PLU

There are some interesting father-son dynamics at Rogers High School and Pacific Lutheran University.

Rogers' Gene Bowen is coaching Kellen Westering, a junior receiver and defensive back who is the son of PLU football coach Scott Westering. Bowen's oldest son, Tyler, plays at PLU.

And coach Bowen has another son on his Rogers squad, Shawn, a junior who plays receiver and outside linebacker.

Kellen Westering, the grandson of legendary PLU coach Frosty Westering, leads Rams receivers with 29 catches for 260 yards and three touchdowns.

Double does of almighty Bruce

Cascade's Bruce brothers have a lot to do with the Bruins' 5-1 start.

Junior quarterback and defensive back LaQuondis Bruce has scored four touchdowns and is the team's third-leading rusher (283 yards). It takes two hands to count the number of times he's fumbled, that's due largely to timing issues after he switched from running back only three weeks ago.

"He's a dynamic player," Cascade coach Jake Huizinga said.

LaQuondis Bruce also has made 26 tackles, two behind his brother Larry.

Larry is the first freshman to start at Cascade in Huizinga's memory — and the Bruins' coach has been there since the school's glory days in the early 1990s. Not even Torry Hollimon (WSU), Toure Butler (UW) or Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore can stake that claim.

"I've never seen a ninth-grader play like him," said third-year defensive coordinator Nick Clovsky, who joined Cascade's staff eight years ago. "And he's hardworking, great in the classroom."

Strong words for West Seattle

West Seattle (5-1, 4-0 Metro Sound) has recorded two straight shutouts and is one win from clinching a return trip to the Metro League championship game. On Tuesday, the Wildcats had a special guest talk to the team: ex-Seahawks fullback Mack Strong.

Coach Davis Lura said the father of one of his players set up the visit.

"[Strong] talked to the kids about the game of football and how it relates to life off the field," said Lura, whose team travels to Rainier Beach (4-2, 3-1) Friday.


• Spanaway Lake's 29-9 victory over Kent-Meridian last week came without leading rusher Shey Patton (847 yards, seven TDs), who had a high-ankle sprain. Coach John Robak said he hopes Patton can play Friday at No. 5 Curtis.

• West Seattle senior Jordan Turpen and sophomore George Edwards suffered injuries last week against Cleveland and will be game-time decisions Friday at Rainier Beach.

• Cascade DB Spencer Hancock (neck) will likely miss Friday's game against Shorewood. He left last Friday's game on a stretcher after a collision while trying to make a tackle. "He was perfectly fine on Saturday. It was just a precautionary thing," Bruins coach Jake Huizinga said.

Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer and freelancers Joshua Mayers and Darren Fessenden contributed to this report.

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