Prep Notebook: Shorecrest RB quits football to focus on soccer

One of the area’s best running backs won’t play football this season.

Last year as a junior, Michael Harris led Shorecrest High School in rushing yards (701) and earned All-Western Conference 3A first-team honors. But the senior was absent Wednesday when Shorecrest held its first practice.

Harris, who rushed for seven touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per carry last year, wants to focus on soccer, Shorecrest football coach Mike Wollan said. Wollan realized there was a strong chance Harris would quit football but didn’t know for sure until Harris shared his decision in a voice message on the coach’s phone on Wednesday.

“It’s certainly not going to help losing a kid like that,” Wollan said, “but fortunately we’ve got some depth.”

A versatile ball carrier who made 11 catches for 161 yards a year ago, Harris was also an outstanding defender. He was all-league first team and Herald All-Area second team at defensive back.

Harris’ main sport is soccer. He led Shorecrest’s boys soccer team to the Class 3A state title in May. The midfielder/defender won the 2008-09 Gatorade Washington Boys Soccer Player of the Year award and was named the 3A all-state MVP. Harris has verbally committed to play soccer for the University of Washington.

“That’s his goal,” coach Wollan said of Harris’ soccer aspirations, “and he’s really good.”

Meadowdale RB Moore-Taylor returns

Naji Moore-Taylor, who in 2008 led the Wesco 3A with 1,183 yards rushing (7.3 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns, plans to re-enroll at Meadowdale High School and play football. He left Meadowdale this past winter early in the second semester, said Dan Taylor, Moore-Taylor’s adoptive father. Taylor did not say why his son left.

But on Friday Meadowdale football coach Mark Stewart said Moore-Taylor, a 2008 All-Wesco 3A first-team pick, has been practicing with the Mavericks this week. Moore-Taylor is sorting out eligibility issues and could be cleared in time for the team’s first game on Sept. 4 against Edmonds-Woodway.

“He’s working some things out,” Stewart said.

Murphy lineman has offer from UW

Tani Tupou, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound lineman, has not even started his junior year at Archbishop Murphy High but he already has a football scholarship offer on the table from the University of Washington.

Tupou, who plays defensive end and tight end for Murphy, received the offer — his first — in June. He said several other colleges have shown interest, including Oregon, UCLA, Brigham Young, Utah and Notre Dame.

It’s time to hit

After completing the mandatory three days of practice without shoulder pads, high school football players can finally put on their full gear and conduct full-contact drills today. Kamiak running back/defensive back Nic Cooper couldn’t wait.

“Everybody’s going to be flying around, hitting hard and just going full-speed. It will give us better looks,” Cooper said Friday.

It will be a revealing day. “When the pads get on, you find out who’s ready to go and who’s not,” Kamiak coach Dan Mack said.

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