As Lake Washington High head coach Andy Arena shuffled through some players’ paperwork before practice, the motto “Always Rising” emblazoned on the pages stuck out like a stellar pass spiraling down field toward the welcoming hands of a wide receiver.
The Kangs’ LW clearly dominated part of the message and Arena noted that former head coach AJ Parnell devised the positive slogan.
The Kangs finished 7-4 overall last season with a 3-2 mark in 3A KingCo. The squad’s season ended with a 27-10 loss to Mountain View in the 3A district playoffs at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. They’ll kick off this year on the road at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at Steilacoom.
Arena believes his players are executing at a higher level since this is the second consecutive season LW has run the RPO — run-pass option — pistol-type offense.
“We’re gonna try and keep teams honest. If they pack the box, we’ll throw it, and if they don’t, we’ll try and run it,” Arena said of his no-huddle formation.
Senior Zeke Pelluer (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) will lead the way at quarterback and is a solid athlete, said Arena, noting that his signal caller threw a touchdown pass, caught a touchdown pass as a wide receiver and played some defense in the Kangs’ spring scrimmage against Monroe.
Other top players include senior inside linebacker/running back Brady Gockel (6-0, 200); senior Nick Anderson (5-11, 185) at outside linebacker-safety/halfback; senior Taylor Rickels (6-0, 160) at slot receiver and cornerback; senior Levani Eneliko (6-1, 245), a first-team defensive lineman last season who will also play offensive line; and senior Hudson Jones (6-4, 190), a wide receiver who had 13 catches in his first two games last year before sustaining a season-ending broken foot.
Former Seattle Seahawks and Redmond High offensive-line coach Bill Laveroni will fill that position at LW this season and two of his top players are juniors David Dean (6-2, 235) and Ryan Thomson (6-2, 230), both of whom started last year.
Arena feels comfortable in his spot for the second year and is impressed with the LW football culture.
“Our kids have learned to lead each other and care about each other,” said Arena, noting that while the social media world is so me-focused, “I told our guys let’s try to learn how to be unselfish, let’s try to learn how to give to our teammates and help them.”
Aug. 31: at Steilacoom, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7: EASTLAKE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14: at Redmond, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Marysville Pilchuck (Quil Ceda Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: MERCER ISLAND, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19: at Interlake, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26: JUANITA, 7 p.m.