Happy Thanksgiving Eve (is that a thing?). Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because food, football and family are a pretty darn good mix. For the O’Dea football team, Thanksgiving means an early-morning practice. Of course, that is better than a post-dinner practice.
O’Dea is preparing for a rematch with Metro League Mountain Division rival Eastside Catholic in a 3A semifinal game at Tacoma Dome on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Our story from today’s paper discusses that game and what it means for the strength of the Metro League.
Here are more quotes from Eastside Catholic’s Elisha Pa’aga.
On last week’s game against Meadowdale: Defense wins championships. I didn’t play in the first half, so coming in the second half, kind of brightened up our defense, kind of gave us hope. Everybody kind of reeled it in. I know it was a closer game than we thought it’d be, but I’m glad that we all focused up and came together as a team, as a brother, as a unit. Just came out and came with the turnover at the end that won us the game. Glad that happened.
On his injury: I had a strained hamstring, so I wasn’t expecting to play. I couldn’t stand sitting on the sideline. Coaches asked me if I was ready to play and I said, ‘Yes, coach, put me in.’ I’m glad I got in there, try to help the team out in any way I can.
I came on offense, we needed to score. I came in, running back, we scored and went up another touchdown. Came in on defense and try to do anything I can to help the team win
On how it feels now: It feels all right. It feels a little sore. Just trying to lay off it right now, ice it. I’ll be fine.
On the rematch with O’Dea: Ever since that loss, we always wanted this. It was our goal to come back and get a round two with these guys. Just excited for the game, for the opportunity. Just ready to roll.
On if it’s a rivalry: I think it is a rivalry. I have a lot of respect for them, there’s a lot of good kids out there, good athletes. I guess it’s just O’Dea and Eastside Catholic. It’s always been at it. I think just that itself makes it more important.
On the Metro League: There’s a lot of good schools out there, there’s a lot of athletes out there in our division. It’s no joke. We like really simple stuff. A hard running football, O’Dea, us as our defense. I think it just says overall, it’s not a division to play around with. We’re coming up there.
On stopping O’Dea’s running game: I think it’s just everybody being where they have to be at. Fitting where you have to fit at. Just making sure your keys are right and wrapping up and fundamentals of football. They’re really a traditional run team. Just the little things that have to count in the big games. Fundamentals, wrapping up and getting the keys right.
On if he knows any O’Dea players: Not personally, but I do know a lot of them.
On the game in general: The fact that it’s in the Dome. Back at the Dome last year was a pretty exciting environment. Atmosphere was really crazy. I’m just excited to play again and get another chance at O’Dea round two.