Mike Cane, Herald Writer
My day began at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett, where top-notch athletes from across the state converged to kick off East-West All-Star Football week.
Many of Washington’s best Class of 2009 high school players — including 10 local athletes — are in town this week for the annual East-West All-Star Game, which is set to kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Everett Memorial Stadium.
After checking in at the Holiday Inn this morning and getting acquainted, players from the East and West teams had a busy day that included flexibility testing, team photos and their first practice. West team head coach John Ondriezek was pleased with how the practice went.
“The kids showed a lot of spirit and enthusiasm,” said Ondriezek, Mariner High’s longtime football coach. “They’re knowledgeable athletes and they’re just nice kids. They worked hard.”
“What impressed me too was there was a lot of team unity there,” he added. “It’s important to these kids to do well.”
Both teams practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts today but did not do full-contact drills. West players will don their full gear on Tuesday and get more intense, said Ondriezek. But in Monday’s limited drills, coach Ondriezek liked what he saw from the West squad.
“We got accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished today. Everything that was on the schedule, we got done,” he said. “And I think it’s because the coaches were organized and the players responded.”
Asked if any players stood out, Ondriezek named T.J. Lee, a running back/defensive back from West Seattle, and massive Issaquah lineman Dillon Reagan. Lee sprinted along the left side and caught a long pass from West team/Lake Stevens quarterback Nick Baker near the end of practice. “He has a lot of speed and he is a game-breaker,” Ondriezek said.
Meanwhile, Issaquah’s Reagan (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) showed good technique and impressive quickness for a huge lineman. “He just moves really well,” Ondriezek said. “He stays low.”
Team practices at Everett Memorial (3721 Oakes Ave.) are open to the public. The schedule is…
*Tuesday: 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
*Wednesday 9-11 a.m.
*Thursday 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
*Friday 9-10:45 a.m. and 2-4:30 p.m.
Tickets for the 2009 East-West All-Star Football Game are $7. They will be sold before the game Saturday at Everett Memorial.