Kamiak senior, in his first year playing football, catches 2 TD passes in loss to Bethel
By JOHN McDONALD
TACOMA — Mike Boyle just might have a future in football.
But the 6-foot, 175-pound Kamiak wide receiver/safety waited until his senior year of high school to reveal his hidden talent.
Boyle finished his first and only season of high school football by catching seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns Saturday in Kamiak’s 28-21 loss to Bethel in a Class 4A semifinal game at the Tacoma Dome.
"My friends finally talked me into it," Boyle said of his one-year venture on the gridiron. "I was always afraid I’d get hurt."
A fine basketball player, Boyle didn’t want to lose his hoop career to a football injury. But the Kamiak coaching staff knew he’d make a fine receiver.
"We knew before he came on the field that he was a terrific athlete," said assistant coach Mike Wheat, who was Boyle’s position coach. "We needed to get him out for football. He had the athletic ability, the speed, the jumping ability. We knew he’d be a player and he certainly didn’t disappoint. I wish we had him for a couple more years."
So does Boyle, now.
"This was the funnest experience ever," Boyle said. "I’m so glad I tried out. I’ll never forget it. Not everybody can say they made it to the Tacoma Dome and we did.
"Everybody said I should have played last year and I wish I would have. This was the funnest experience."
Boyle kept Kamiak in the game in the first half, scoring both of the Knights’ touchdowns. He had four catches overall for 110 yards.
With Kamiak behind 14-0, Boyle caught a pass from quarterback Ryan Jones over the middle and threaded his way through the Bethel defensive backs to score from 33 yards out on the ninth play of an 80-yard drive.
"I just try to see the hole and go for it," Boyle said.
With Kamiak behind 21-14, he ran a fly pattern down the left sideline, went up in a virtual jump ball with the Bethel defensive back, made the catch and ran the remainder of the 66-yard touchdown play uncontested after the DB fell down.
"I thought he tipped the ball," Boyle said, "but it went through his hands, came down to me and I just happened to be there."
He also had a 6-yard catch on Kamiak’s first play from scrimmage and a 5-yard catch on the first play of the Knights’ first TD drive.
Bethel began to double-team Boyle in the second half. He had no catches in the third quarter, although he was the intended receiver on a halfback pass which was intercepted and on an incomplete third-down pass into double coverage.
In the fourth quarter, he had a first-down catch for 11 yards on Kamiak’s first possession. He then made a key tackle from his safety position to hold Bethel short of a first down and force a punt. He caught a pass for 10 yards on Kamiak’s ensuing possession, which ended on downs when the Knights came up 2 yards short of a first down on a hook-and-ladder play that began with a catch and lateral by Boyle.
"I just went out and played my game," Boyle said. "Jones knows if he throws it, I’ll do my best to catch it and we connected tonight."
"He does great things every game," Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. "He’s a terrific young man with a tremendous attitude. He comes out to practice every day with a smile on his face and his work ethic is second to none. As a senior he encourages the underclassmen. I’m so proud of his effort. He’s a terrific player."
And one with a future in football.
"Hopefully, I’ll play college football," Boyle said. "That’s one reason I turned out."
"He’s a fine basketball player, too," Wheat said. "I’m not sure what he’s thinking now, but after a season like this, you’ve got to feel positive."
Only a win would have made it sweeter.
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