Juanita High School hosted the first annual spring football scrimmage between the Rebels and Lake Washington Saturday. The event was organized so that the two teams could hit, tackle and run past players from another squad of the same skill level.
“It’s good experience to just play against someone else,” said Juanita head football coach Shaun Tarantola, who came up with the idea. “It is a good chance to evaluate what we have and what we need to work on.”
Originally, the spring football scrimmage was to include Newport High School and Evergreen High School, but the two teams had conflicting schedules. Not all the players for both teams were in attendance either.
“There are a lot of conflicts during spring football cause you have guys that play baseball and other stuff,” said Tarantola. “But the guys who are out here will get some good work in.”
Many of the players know each other off field as the two schools have the only Kirkland high school football teams. The word rivalry was thrown around more than the pig skin. Juanita is a class 3A school and Lake Washington is a class 4A team. The two squads don’t face each other very often and are not on each other’s schedule this year. But pride is a factor when facing a cross-town team.
“We won’t play them this season so it is nice to have this,” said Juanita quarterback Derek Kaufman. “Going against your own defense gets a little old. It’s good to get looks against players you don’t normally (practice against).”
The structure of the scrimmage pit the different teams within the high school programs against one another. The varsity offenses took on the other program’s varsity defense for 10 plays and then switched possession. Then the junior varsity teams got their shot to run some plays.
“Hope we get a better offense (out of this),” said Lake Washington’s Marc Wythes, who caught a 30-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Cody Livingston for a touchdown. “It is a lot more challenging to have a starting offense play a starting defense.”
With cheerleaders roaming the sideline, a drum band in the stands and the crowd at 20 percent of capacity the hot spring air still had a little bit of the excitement that comes with the Friday night lights.