By CHRIS McMULLEN
EDMONDS — After spending his entire junior year as an outside linebacker, Edmonds-Woodway’s Landon Hall moved to running back this season.
Talk about your quick transitions.
Hall rushed for a school-record 1,565 yards on 197 carries and scored 17 touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown.
It was a success story that earned Hall recognition as The Herald’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Anyone who has ever seen Hall play knows he treats every play like it will be his last. He takes no plays off and his reasoning is simple.
"My philosophy is that God is watching over me when I play, so I play like I know he is watching," Hall said.
Heading into the season’s final game, it didn’t appear likely that Hall would break the school season rushing record. He needed to gain 250 yards against Mountlake Terrace to set the mark.
"The week of the Terrace game, my linemen and I got together and talked about what we needed to do to beat it," Hall said.
The plan worked.
Running behind linemen Jon Goodwin, Keith Grennen, Tom Sullivan, Evan Huri, Tom Standard, tight end Gavin Riach and fullback Chris Stokes, Hall finished the game with an astounding 318 yards on 35 carries.
When Hall talked about his accomplishments this year, all he wanted to do was recognize his teammates.
He got most of the publicity, though, and that bothered him a bit.
"He came into my office about week five or six and was really frustrated. He did not think he deserved all the attention," said Edmonds-Woodway head coach John Gradwohl. "He thought his teammates deserved more."
"They were just awesome this year. It would be hard to run without them and it was hard getting through the press without seeing their (his linemen) names in there. Every interview I mentioned how well they did. But they never had it in there," Hall said.
Hall had three goals for this season. The first was for the Warriors to make the playoffs. He also wanted to rush for 100 yards in every game and he wanted to make every day count in his senior year.
Hall knew he had set the bar high, so he dedicated himself last summer to being in shape before the season started.
"Total dedication. I did not want to take any plays off so this summer I kind of dedicated myself to get into the best shape of my life," Hall said.
The Warriors narrowly missed the playoffs, falling to Kamiak in overtime in a game that sent the Knights to the playoffs instead of the Warriors.
"If there was ever a chance for the team to fall apart, it would have been after the Kamiak game. Instead they came together and he was a big part of that." Gradwohl added.
He rushed for 100 yards in every game except the Kamiak game, where he finished with 98.
His favorite game was not a game where he broke an individual record, however. It was a game that was characterized by teamwork, a game in which the Warriors defeated the Cascade Bruins for the first time ever.
Although Hall carried the ball 22 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns against Cascade, he did not mention those statistics.
"We gave our best game effort against Cascade and came up big," Hall said.
That says a lot about Hall, who is always putting the team first, rather than his own personal agenda.
"He is a consummate team player, a great athlete who understands the big picture," Gradwohl said.
Hall is looking to continue his playing days in college next fall.
"I will definitely make my choice around football, either by walking on or hopefully getting a scholarship," he said.
The University of Reno, Idaho and Western Washington have all contacted Hall. He has yet to decide where he will go.
Wherever Hall ends up, it’s a good bet that his positive attitude will carry him far. A player who sets goals, works hard to meet them and then is modest about accomplishing them would be a great addition to any team.
Hall, after recognizing his teammates’ efforts, had one more thing to say. "Playing for coach Gradwohl is great. He is basically a father figure, always having something positive to say. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great too," Hall said.
Hall would like to coach one day after finishing his degree.
"He can do a lot of things," Gradwohl added.
If dedication means much, count on seeing Hall on the sidelines.
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