As he begins his second season as Mercer Island’s head coach, Ogata is working on setting up the belief system that will make the Islanders competitive in KingCo 3A/2A, one of the toughest leagues in the state.
“I’m really trying to instill in these guys a belief system that we can go out every Friday night, have a chance to win that game and do well,” Ogata said. “I really think right now we’re on that right track.”
In 2009, Mercer Island finished 4-6, but showed the ability to score in bunches led by quarterback Jeff Lindquist, who returns for his junior season and will be the key to the Islanders’ offensive success.
Since Ogata took over the team, he has tried to build it from the ground up, starting with the youth program.
This season, the goal isn’t necessarily the KingCo title, but to secure a few important program-building wins that will set the foundation for a championship team in the future.
“We know that the bar is really high, so we’ve just got to keep getting better and better to reach that bar,” Ogata said. “Everyone always talks about beating Bellevue. Yeah, they’re good and they’re the state champs. They’re the best until someone knocks them off. But as a starting up program, I just feel like, right now, I want to be competitive. I want to be competitive every Friday night.”