Northwest NEWS

September 16, 2002

Sports

Bird's eye view of the Falcons

by Russ Paris
   Special to the Weekly
   Will new head coach Mark Leander be able to lead the Woodinville High football team back to the state playoffs?
   One of the Kingco 4A most dominant teams in the 90s under Coach Terry Agnew, the Falcons have not been to the state playoffs since the class of 1999.
   "I plan on emphasizing defense. That is what got us there before," Leander said.
   The new coach brought in Lindsay Hughes, who was defensive coordinator for the Washington State Cougars, to direct the Falcon stop unit. Leander also promoted from within by moving coaching veteran Doug Sage to offensive coordinator.
   In this reporter's opinion, the Falcon nest is full of good players for both new coordinators to work with.
   The key two-way player is Matt Tuiasosopo, a 6-foot, 200-lb. second team All Kingco safety who will anchor the defense, as well as being the key man in the wing-bone option attack and the decision maker in deciding whether to give the ball to the fullback or keep it himself and roll down the line to run or pitch to a trailing tailback.
   This decision-making takes place in a split second and Tuiasosopo's ability to make the right decision will determine how productive the offense will be.
   Matt's football blood lines run deep. His oldest brother, Marques, plays for the Oakland Raiders and his brother Zach is the starting fullback for the University of Washington Huskies. His father, Manu, played professionally for the Seattle Seahawks and the 49ers.
   Other key Falcons are lettermen Michael-Ryan Pattison, Casey Priseman and Mark Thompson. Besides this talented secondary, the defense returns senior linebackers Jared Todesco and David Ronning.
   The defensive line consists of tall, athletic players, most weighing in at 200+ pounds, including Tyler Hancock, Austin Pratt, Kurt Meckling, Wells Jackson, Ryan Trite and Tyler Hillard.
   The offensive backfield is made up of experienced, explosive runners including powerback, Michael-Ryan Pattison, scatback, Brady Galloway and fullback Nick Acker.
   To take the pressure off the wingback option running attack, the Falcons are loaded with proven, sure-handed wide receivers in Mark Thompson, Casey Priseman and veteran Austin Matasui.
   Widebodies David Lambo and Casey Bulyco both weigh in at 290 lbs. They will be flanked by Andy Griggs, Ryan Tittle and Tyler Hancock, all well over 200 lbs.
   My prediction: Tuiasosopo will mature early, and the Falcons will develop into a well-oiled machine offensively and will be stellar on defense.
   The team should give new head coach Leander a winning first year and advance to the state playoffs for the first time in four years.