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Interlake coach Jason Rimkus is a young guy, and so maybe his analogy for his team’s current situation is fitting. Interlake, formerly of 2A status, jumps into the 3A ranks of KingCo this year, a move that comes as Interlake’s football program is also looking to grow.
“We’ve been the little kids on the block, the little kid in the backyard playing with big brother and friends,” said the 30-year-old Rimkus.
“Now we’re grown up and playing with the big boys. Every game is a playoff now.”
If Interlake had to make the move to 3A, the timing couldn’t be much better. Interlake’s program is more equipped to handle the demands of a bigger classification now than even a few years ago. When Rimkus arrived three years ago, he said, he had five seniors. Last year he said he had eight or nine. And this year that number is up in the high teens.
Interlake will also feature its first JV team in Rimkus’ tenure, and the entire team is now consistently in the weight room. Before, only a handful of players were ardent weight room guys.
“The timing was really great,” Rimkus said.
Interlake returns an experienced team featuring plenty of weapons at the skill positions. For starters, there’s Kamana Adriano, who played quarterback out of necessity last year but will play his natural position of wide receiver this season.
“He was our quarterback last year because we didn’t really have a strong enough arm to throw him the ball so we put him at QB and put the ball in his arms,” Rimkus said.
That shouldn’t be a problem this year because Trevor Lyon, who started at Puyallup last season before getting injured, is back. Lyon, a 6-1, 180-pound senior, actually began his career with Rimkus and Interlake before transferring to Puyallup because, at the time, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with Rimkus.
“We made a point as a staff that we were going to overhaul and change the program, whether they had won games before or not,” Rimkus said. “We wanted to build it the way we wanted. Not everybody saw eye-to-eye with that. So Trevor and his family moved to Puyallup to play quarterback there.”
He kept in contact with his friends at Interlake and even attended games while he was injured last season. He decided to transfer back, and Rimkus said Lyon is one of the team’s leaders.
“Our relationship is pretty special,” Rimkus said. “It’s gotten a lot, a lot better, and we can communicate on much more levels than we could when he was younger.”
He’ll also have plenty of help around him. In addition to Adriano, Interlake returns running back Evan Thurman (5-7, 170) and his brother, Ryan, a 5-10, 190-pound receiver. That core group of skill players forms the heart of Interlake’s team.
“We have speed, but we won’t have size,” Rimkus said. “When people come see us, compared to the teams we play, we won’t be as big as most of them. But we do have speed so we’ll try to use that.”
Which leads Rimkus to say this about his team that advanced to last year’s 2A state quarterfinals but begins this season under new circumstances:
“It’s funny, when you actually have a lot of skill kids as a coach, I feel more pressure to do well,” he said. “I have no, ‘Well, we don’t have anybody.'”
Players to watch:
Comments from coach Jason Rimkus
QB Trevor Lyon, 6-1, 180: “He’s a good high school quarterback, but he’s a great high school runner. Not Mr. Burner, but he knows the game. If we had another quarterback, he’d be a tailback. He’d be a good one.”
WR Kamana Adriano, 5-9, 160: “He has a full ride from Northern Colorado. The only reason he doesn’t have any more is all the other schools want to see film of him playing receiver. He is the real deal. He can jump, he’s got amazing hands.”
OL Evan Prince, 6-1, 210: “He’s our everything on the offensive line. If we need to fill a hole because of an injury, we put Evan there. He just knows the game.”
RB/CB Evan Turman, 5-7, 170: “Evan is a track kid and a very physical player.
WR Ryan Turman, 5-10, 190: “He’s got good hands, good route runner, works hard at it.”
Game to watch:
@ Liberty on Sept. 14. If the Saints are going to be successful in 3A, they’ll have to win games like this one.
Can the speedy but small Interlake team compete against the 3A schools in games that now matter week-in and week-out?