Sports

Football kicks off for FWay athletes in college programs

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The University of Washington football team has officially entered the Tyrone Willingham era. The Huskies, whose roster includes 2004 Decatur grad Darin Harris and 2003 Thomas Jefferson grad Jared Bronson opened fall camp Tuesday on the school’s Seattle campus following last year’s disastrous 1-10 finish.

“Obviously there are some question marks that we don’t know right now,” Willingham said at the team’s annual media day Monday. “But that is why we start to practice, and that is why we play the game.”

Washington opens its 2005 schedule Sept. 3 with a non-leaguer against the Air Force Academy at Qwest Field. They start their Pac-10 season the following week against Cal at Husky Stadium.

Harris is currently listed as the second-string free safety behind Deshon Goldson, who started all 11 games last year. Goldson had 64 tackles and led the team with five pass breakups.

But Harris (6-foot, 204 pounds) should see plenty of playing time during the 2005 season. Last year, he was one of only six first-year players out of a class of 18 not to redshirt, as most freshmen do. Harris played in 10 of the Huskies’ 11 games on special teams as a true freshman, compiling two tackles. He was on the UW’s kick off, kick-off return and punt return teams and forced a fumble in the Huskies’ second game of the season — a loss to UCLA.

Bronson, who transferred to UW as a walk-on after playing one season at Pima Community College (Ariz.), redshirted last year and enters the ‘05 season as a sophomore. The 6-5, 235-pound tight end spent most of last year on the scout team offense running routes against the Huskies’ first-team defense.

Bronson is currently one of five tight ends on Washington’s roster, but there are only two who saw the field last year. Robert Lewis had five catches in limited play and Dash Crutchley appeared in four games and didn’t have a reception. Last year’s starter, Joe Toledo, has moved to offensive tackle for his senior season. Toledo had 19 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington’s annual Picture Day will be held today at Husky Stadium from 1 to 3 p.m. Picture Day allows UW fans a chance to meet the Huskies, collect autographs and get personal photos of the players and coaches.

Free food and drinks will be available while supplies last. Husky Stadium gates will open at 1 p.m. Fans are encouraged to enter through the southeast gate. Parking is free at Husky Stadium starting at noon.

Other Federal Way school district football players at four-year colleges:

Shaun Bodiford — Portland State

The 6-1, 185-pound wide receiver returns for his second year with the Vikings after earning second-team All-Big Sky Conference honors last season. Bodiford, a Federal Way grad, started all 11 games for PSU after transferring from Butte Junior College. He led the Vikings in receptions (40), yards (587) and touchdowns (five). Bodiford also rushed the ball six times for 52 yards and two touchdowns and was the team’s leading kick returner.

“As good as he is, there is still room for improvement,” said PSU coach Tim Walsh. “(He) won’t be outworked on the field, which gives him a great future in the game.”

The Vikings opened practice Wednesday and start their season Sept. 3 on the road against Oregon State. PSU finished 7-4 last year and are picked to finish third in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll behind Montana and Eastern.

J.C. Ronnfeldt — Oregon State

The former Decatur offensive lineman is currently listed as the third string left guard for the Oregon State Beavers. The 6-4, 347-pounder is in his junior year for the Beavers entering fall practice, which started Monday. Oregon State finished fourth in the Pac-10 last season with a 7-5 record and beat Notre Dame in the Insight Bowl.

Brandon Keeler — Eastern Washington

The safety led the Eagles with 114 tackles and also broke up five passes as a sophomore last year. The 6-2, 210-pounder was named first-team All-Big Sky Conference and should be an All-American candidate this season.

“We have a lot of players back with game experience, but they have to come back and be better players,” said coach Paul Wulff. “Everybody has to be a better player than he was a year ago to fill-in for the very talented seniors we lost.”

Eastern is ranked fourth in The Sports Network preseason NCAA Division I-AA rankings released Monday. The preseason recognition is the highest-ever for the Eagles, who finished 9-4 last year and advanced into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs.

Eastern kicked off their fall practice Thursday in Cheney and open the season Sept. 3 at San Jose State.

Antonio Lindsey

After redshirting last year during his freshman season at the University of Idaho, the 2003 Federal Way High School grad has left the program. Lindsey is a 6-2, 275-pound defensive tackle.

Nate VanderPol — Idaho

The 6-6, 312-pound Federal Way High School grad enters the 2005 season as the starting left tackle for the Idaho Vandals. The junior started eight games last season at Idaho and helped the Vandals to a 3-9 record in the Sun Belt Conference. He missed four games because of injury.

Idaho opened fall practice last Saturday and play their first game Sept. 3 at Washington State.

Anthony Dotson — Eastern Washington

The 2003 Federal Way grad is entering his sophomore year for the Eagles. The cornerback will enter the 2005 season as a backup at Eastern, which is loaded at his position.

Aaron Gilbert — Central Washington

The massive offensive tackle returns from a leg injury that cut short his season last year for the Wildcats. The 6-4, 306-pound TJ grad was starting after spring practice before tearing a pair of ligaments in his knee.

C.J. Green — Western Washington

The all-state defensive back last fall at Federal Way might see some playing time at Western as a true freshman. The Vikings started practice Thursday after finishing 6-4 last year.

Chris Corey — Western Washington

Corey (6-4, 275) redshirted last season for the Vikings and should be in the mix for playing time on Western’s offensive line. He is a 2004 Decatur grad.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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