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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

August 28, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Thank you for making the past two years worth seeing

On my first night of work for The Seattle Times, I saw a tall, athletic running back, smoother than a milkshake, score five touchdowns with the ease of a warm-up drill. His name was Johri Fogerson. I knew I’d see him again.

I saw the first start by a quarterback no one had heard of, and with one 60-yard bomb to his best friend and receiver, he beat Bellevue. His name was Jake Heaps. He hasn’t lost a game since.

I saw one boy who, despite never having hearing, refused to stay away from the sport he loved, football. He played in two state football championship games for Bothell, and his name was Thomas Guidon.

I saw the snow fall on a Saturday afternoon in Spokane, just as Guidon’s Bothell team stood in its own end zone with Ferris a yard away from a tying score. With just 17 seconds left, Ferris fumbled and Bothell recovered in one of the most unbelievable endings I’ve ever seen. Oh, by the way, it came in the state semifinals.

I saw Fogerson run for 297 yards — that’s two hundred and ninety-seven — and put his team ahead 28-7. Then I watched Heaps, a sophomore, lead four second-half touchdown drives. Skyline won 42-35 with a touchdown in the final two minutes, and if you have seen a better football game, let me hear about it.

I saw a team grieve as its legendary coach died. His name was Terry Ennis, one of the best the state has ever seen and a man who was preparing the next scouting report on his deathbed. The team was Archbishop Murphy, and several weeks later, a small oversight would cost the team its undefeated season in the most unfair way.

I saw the much-anticipated debut of the top freshman basketball player in the country. I watched the walls sweat as a capacity gym watched his every move. His name was Tony Wroten, and you might have heard of him. He’s been in the news once or twice since.

On the same night, I saw, for the first time, a bright-eyed point guard with springs for legs and 20/20 court vision. His name was Peyton Siva, and I still count him as the best high school basketball player I’ve ever seen.

I saw more than 50 kids on one island form perhaps the most dominant swim team in the country. The team was from Mercer Island, and one year after setting the record for points in a meet, they would demolish that record.

I saw two kids refuse to let a near-fatal turn with cancer keep them away from playing the sports they love. Their names were Jamieson Jones and Kristen Webb, and they inspired me more than they know.

I saw a boy lose not only his older brother but his greatest inspiration and best friend. One year later, with his brother’s initials on every player’s chest , that team would survive a high-speed bus crash. Just a week afterward, his teammates lifted him on their shoulders as he held the state championship trophy above his head. The team was Bellevue, and the player was named Taylor Anderson, who dedicated his season to his brother Chase.

I saw a 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore make the single-greatest catch I have ever seen in person. With one foot precariously holding on in the end zone, he laid out his entire body and, with one hand, held onto a pass thrown six feet out of bounds. His name was Kasen Williams, and I can’t wait to put him on my fantasy team one day.

I saw a basketball team trail by 11 points with 52 seconds remaining, and then it unbelievably tied the game as time expired. Then the underdog team from Vancouver, with its lead lost and no momentum, remembered it had nothing to lose, and went out and won in overtime. The team that came back was Bellevue, but the story of the night was Columbia River’s gutsy semifinal victory.

I saw, on the next night, a Lilliputian team, without a starter taller than 6-foot-3, play the best pressure defense I had ever seen and end Columbia River’s string of upsets. That team was Franklin.

I saw a grown man sit on the verge of tears after he and his son won a state baseball championship. The team was Richland baseball, the coach was Ben Jacobs, and I have rarely seen a man look so fulfilled.

I saw all of this in two years, after which I can list all of this without one look into our archives. For two years, covering the area’s high school sports teams and people who make them worth watching was a fantastic job.

Now I’m moving on to something new. I’m walking out of The Seattle Times’ doors for the last time on Monday, but I’m leaving the high-school sports blog in very capable hands: Mason Kelley, a former Steilacoom QB who walks into the job with more experience than I did.

The good news: you no longer have to see my mug in the paper anymore.

The bad news: well, there’s really no bad news with that.

But before I leave, let me extend a thank you to everyone who made two years of high-school sports worth seeing.

Thank you,

Tom Wyrwich

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