By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
After the first game of the 2013 football season, making the West roster for the annual East-West All-Star football game didn’t seem likely for Mountlake Terrace offensive and defensive lineman Jevin Pahinui.
Pahinui suffered a slight fracture in his left foot in the season opener against Stanwood. Doctors told him he would miss six to eight weeks, which amounted to most of the remainder of the regular season.
Four weeks later, Pahinui was back on the field.
“To get that news that I would be able to get out there and come back maybe three or four weeks before I was supposed to, that was a great thing for me to hear,” Pahinui said.
Without Pahinui, the Hawks struggled, but when he came back, the season turned around and Terrace wound up earning a playoff berth.
“When he was able to play, he was very effective,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Tony Umayam said. “Once he returned from injury, it gave the team a big boost.
“He made a lot of big plays from his defensive end position. He’s a very difficult person to block. On the offensive line, because he’s so physical, he opened a lot of holes for our running backs.”
Despite missing almost half the season, Pahinui was named first-team All-Wesco on both sides of the football. His play also earned him a spot on the West roster for today’s East-West All-Star game in Moses Lake. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“To be part of the all-state roll and to part of the mention of even playing in the game is a real big honor,” he said.
Pahinui is joined on the West roster by teammate Brett Potter, a linebacker and offensive lineman for the Hawks.
“It’s a big honor to be out there, especially from Terrace, you know (we) don’t get much attention,” Pahinui said.
Pahinui plans to continue his football career at the College of Siskiyous, a junior college in Weed, California. He hopes to get his associate of arts degree and continue his football career at a four-year university.
“He’s about as good of a lineman as I’ve seen in the league in a while and is definitely the most gifted lineman that I’ve ever coached,” Umayam said.
Busy week for West roster
The players on the West team, which includes 15 players from Wesco, arrived in Moses Lake on Monday. They practiced once Monday afternoon before having two-a-day practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Kamiak coach Dan Mack, head coach of the West team, also had a walk-through practice planned for this morning.
When the players weren’t practicing, the week was filled with team dinners and various other activities.
Players and coaches from both teams stayed at Ameristay Inn and Suites in Moses Lake.
Big game for Gray?
There is no question one of the most athletic players on the West roster is Arlington wide receiver and defensive back Max Gray.
Before the team departed for Moses Lake, Mack said he wouldn’t make final decisions about who was going to start and how they would be used after the team arrived on Monday, but he did say the coaching staff would do everything it could to take advantage of each player’s skill set, including Gray.
“We know Max is an outstanding athlete and most likely we’re going to try to isolate him a little bit and use his athletic ability,” Mack said.
EWU-bound Belk excited
Mack’s lone representative from Kamiak on the roster is tight end and defensive end Henderson Belk.
Belk has played a key role on the Knights’ roster since he was a sophomore and in the past two seasons has become one of the best tight ends in the state, earning him a partial scholarship to Eastern Washington University, where he likely will redshirt in the fall.
Unlike the other players on the West roster, Belk is familiar with the head coach.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to play one last high school game and be able to represent Kamiak one last time,” Belk said. “It’s great that coach Mack gets to be the coach and good to have one last experience with him and kind of wrap up my high school career and get ready to go on to the college level.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.