Discover more from The Journal 425
More Viking iphone video, week four pick/preview, and a look at the line play
Viking Video: A look at Thursday's walk-through, courtesy of the magic iphone. (Remember to change the youtube resolution to 720p for best viewing)
Snohomish Panthers, the historic rival of Lake Stevens Vikings, continue to suffer from the brutal effects of the addition of Glacier Peak and the subsequent splitting of the Snohomish player pool. The Panthers continue to compete in 4A - and aside from the on field action, they are losing in several other areas as well. Snohomish continues to run a 1950's style Dick Armstrong program. Five yards and a chunk of dirt has become half a yard and facedown in FieldTurf as the Panther triple option offense has failed to operate at a high level. It's easy to see why the Panthers have suffered the amount of attrition and disinterest in their historically strong program: Glacier peak's Rory Rosenbach runs a player-friendly program with college-level strategy and facilities. The majority of the talent in the Snohomish Valley has, one way or another, made its way up to Glacier Peak.
Which leaves Snohomish Panthers in an unenviable spot. Sitting winless (0-1, 0-3) with the undefeated rival Lake Stevens Vikings visiting tonight. Here are the details:
What: Lake Stevens Vikings (3-0) @ Snohomish Panthers (0-3)
Where: Snohomish Veterans Memorial StadiumWhen: 7:00 pm kickCoverage: Live Game Blog here @ 6:30 pm, radio play-by-play on 1380am 7:00 pm, post game video here at 10:30.
So far have the Panthers fallen, that their 42-7 home loss to Marysville-Pilchuck actually rates as their best performance of the year: they scored! Prior to week three, Snohomish was outscored 95-0. Now, they sit at a more respectable 135-7. It's worth noting that Inglemoor (whom the Vikings defeated 37-30) destroyed Snohomish at Snohomish to the tune of 48-0.
With that said, we're not going to get into the Xs and Os this week. Either the Vikings are the undefeated power that many think they are...and they will easily handle a team that has been outscore 135-7...or...well, let's not think about that.
We like the Vikings to assert Wesco North dominance tonight, blowing past the Panthers in Snohomish by a 49-6 margin.
Dominance on the Line:
Instead of breaking down the game, I'd like to take a moment to highlight an aspect of the game that often goes overlooked here and elsewhere. However, it is evident to any studious fan, player or coach that the offensive.defensive line unites represent the greatest strength of the 2010 Viking squad. Much of the credit for the success of this position group - and the team as a whole - must be given to Viking coach (and Husky legend) Jeff Pahukoa.
I had a chance to speak with Coach Pahukoa yesterday for a while, and he made a few interesting points (as always...if you get a chance to speak with Coach Pahukoa, value the opportunity. The man is a wealth of knowledge on all sorts of subjects, from on the field strategy to team building and leadership...all backed up by a Ring of Honor UW career and a NFC Championship ring earned under the legendary Dan Reeves). Speaking of the LSHS line, Pahukoa noted that the offensive line group is unique in as much as it is the only position group that consists of five player interacting together on the field. There are one or two backs, sometimes as many as five WRs, but even then - these positions operate independently, running different routes and performing different duties. The line must work together, enmeshing into an organic group with a single purpose: run block, or pass block. As such, a successful line group often forms the emotional heart of a team - in addition to setting the physical tone at the line of scrimmage. It is no surprise to students of the game that the performance of the offensive line produces a direct correlation in wins and losses.
This year, the Vikings have been blessed with a powerful and talented line group. Here's a look at tonight's projected starters:
- Senior tackle Gunnar Eklund (6'6, 285) is set to become the first Viking player in recent memory to receive a Division One football scholarship.
- Senior guard Taylor Metzger (6'3, 265) is a returning starter with experience at tackle and guard - and while he was inelligible earlier, he has worked his way into a starting role at right guard and was named the fourth captain this week.
- Junior right tackle Cody Tupen has arguably been one of the top three players on the entire Viking squad this year - surprising many onlookers with his incredible work ethic and fierce determination on the field. It shouldn't be a surprise, as his brother Colton is the all time leading Viking receiver (Class of 2008), but Cody is a different athlete all together. Checking in at a muscular 6'2 225, the still-growing Tupen leads the team in sacks, is third in tackles and has dominated at the point of attack on the offensive line.
- Senior guard Kody Dinh (6'2 230) also brings a wealth of experience - having started for a good portion of last season as well. Dinh has teamed with Eklund to provide an impenetrable and physically dominating left side of the Viking offensive line.
- Finally, senior center Spencer Smith (6', 235) has provided a steady presence at center, dealing effectively with the added responsibility of line calls and controlling the cadence. Remember all the high snaps from the past three seasons? Pretty much a thing of the past thanks to Smith.
Aside from the physical domination, the line group has effectively merged into the emotional core of the team. Coach Pahukoa instills a sense of responsibility in his starters: they are to be the protectors of their teammates on and off the field. They are to take their job seriously, and to operate as an instructor with the younger Vikings during practice time. Because of Pahukoa's gravitas, or perhaps just because it's the right thing to do, this attitude has become status quo.
Watching the line group run through reps during practice reveals the leadership qualities instilled by Pahukoa. See how Dinh and Eklund pull aside a sophomore and earnestly demonstrate the correct application of a technique? Notice how the typical high school hi-jinx, toilet humor and class hierarchy seems to have disappeared as Eklund and Dinh speak to the youngster? Notice how the sophomore frowns in concentration, and then fires out of his stance on his next rep, eager to please his mentors, as the older players look on with a critical eye? Take a look at film study - see how Eklund and Dinh make sure that there are enough chairs collected for all of the linemen to study film together - in the front row but on the side (in case they need to discuss a point without distracting the team)? This is leadership blossoming, and this is the hallmark of a great coach, and the base of a good team.
I'm not the only one to notice the success of the Viking line...after last week's Herald Athlete of the Week performance, junior QB Jake Nelson demonstrated the innate skills of a born football politician - showing up at school with gift certificates to Subway for all of the "big uglies" that cover his ass while he runs and passes. Nelson knows that without the work of Pahukoa's line, he would be unable to do his job - or worse, he could be injured. This is a violent sport, after all.
It's early in the season, and while the Vikings are 3-0, they've yet to play a league game. Past Viking squads have surged out of the gate, only to stumble as state rankings inflated locker room opinions, details were overlooked, and penalties, turnovers, and ineligibility resulted. This year, things are different so far. While Tom Tri's Vikings once again have a star QB in the making, a game-breaking RB and a stable of skill position players...this team - for once - will live and die in the trenches. And because of the steady hand of Jeff Pahukoa, it appears that the line unit will perhaps be immune to the ups and downs that often befall other position groups. And this steadiness, this leadership does permeate the rest of the team. After all, do we really think that any receiver is going to want to face five huge men, hands on hips and stern looks on faces, as he returns to the huddle after deciding to take a play off, after skipping a block or not completing a fake? It's called accountability, and the adults on the sidelines can only provide so much.
When the accountability comes from within, when it comes organically...that is when championship seasons are born.
Notes: Junior WR/S/P Brady Pahukoa is out for the season after breaking his right ulna during last week's victory. Senior Duke Dolphin will take over the punting duties - a task he performed as a sophomore...Speaking of sophs, Andrew Elgean (QB of the Soph team) will likely get reps at LB tonight, as will junior Ryan Enyeart. Both have performed extremely well at practice over the last few weeks according to Viking staff...Coach Tri has assigned a member of his staff to scout and film the Arlignton vs. M-P game tonight, as the Vikings play the Eagles in Lake Stevens next week...As mentioned earlier, junior QB Jake Nelson was the Herald Athlete of the Week after his 17-25 260 yard 2 TD passing, 7-79, 2TD rushing performance...Senior OT Gunnar Eklund is reporting heavy interest from the University of Wyoming and staff indicates that an official offer is forthcoming. Eklund has also been in contact with Boise State, UNLV and the University of Washington...Senior Brandon Preslar is hearing heavily from Central, but also is receiving interest from Fresno State...