Glimpse of Glory: Tulalip Hawks create legendary moments

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Twenty-one aspiring athletes recently returned from a once in a lifetime experience in which they not only represented their Tulalip community with pride, but did so while playing the sport they love, tackle football. For these boys, football is much more than just a game. It’s a passion that teaches discipline, perseverance and commitment. And for those fortunate to play at the highest level, they got a glimpse of glory on the national stage.

Such was the case with the Tulalip Hawks 12-u youth football team. With a loaded roster of thirteen talented Tulalip kids along with Anthony Najera (Port Gamble S’Klallam) and Michael Abbott (Alaskan Native), the Hawks squad made history all season. They went undefeated, being crowned North Sound league champs and Northwest Regional champs along the way, before receiving a highly coveted invitation to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship hosted in Canton, Ohio. The Hawks were one of only ten teams in the entire country within their age bracket to be invited to play for a national title. 

“This is a special place for football, where only the best are called to play,” explains Rich McGuiness, Director of the Hall of Fame World Championship. “We think football is the greatest team sport and more than that, it is the most democratic. Height and weight, speed and strength all have their value, but those qualities alone don’t win games. Football is a great equalizer that way, in that regardless of color or socioeconomic status athletes have to play as a team to create a game plan and execute it on the field versus quality competition.”

With team sponsorship covered by the Tulalip Tribes, and a devoted group of team moms that fundraised nonstop for weeks, the Hawks were able to afford the hefty price tag and ancillary costs that come with a national tournament.

“I was very impressed with our parents who went out of their way to help fundraise for the trip. In total, we raised $13,000 in a month’s time with a variety of fundraising events,” said Malory Simpson, one of two official team moms. “The community support we received was amazing! As parents, we’re so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel with the boys and support them on their Ohio journey.”

The team spent nearly an entire day traveling across three time-zones before arriving in Canton on the evening of Tuesday, December 11. They got a much needed night of rest ahead of their introduction to a national viewing audience at Media Day. 

At the team’s Media Day, the young athletes moved as one cohesive unit with coaches in tow while taking in a number of unique experiences. They glimpsed the custom championship belts that would be awarded to the winners of each age bracket before being put on stage and interviewed about all the hard work that got them to this point. In a random chance meeting, the boys got to meet and take photos with former NBA slam dunk champion and Seattle-area icon Nate Robinson. Another highlight of the day was getting a quick lesson by a Hall of Fame educator detailing the history of football. Nearly each Hawk player got their mind blown when viewing football equipment used in the 1920s through the early 60s.

“It was cool to see the history of football helmets and the evolution of footballs,” said 13-year-old wide-receiver Jayden Madison. “After seeing how small and different old school cleats, helmets and pads were, I think it must have been pretty hard to play football in that stuff.”

“When I first saw that old equipment I wondered ‘what the heck is that stuff?’” added 12-year-old Image Enick. “The first helmet didn’t cover the whole head or have a chin strap. I wouldn’t play football if that was the only gear we could play in.”

Luckily for youth playing today, they have loads of gear that can be considered revolutionary when compared to what was used at the sport’s inception. The boys’ equipment includes one-of-a-kind Native American designs that is only befitting of the first-ever tribal team to qualify for the Hall of Fame’s national tournament.

During the afternoon of Thursday, December 13 the undefeated and multi-championship winning Tulalip Hawks made their Hall of Fame tournament debut versus the Georgia Bulldogs. In near freezing temperatures, the Hawks were on fire early. As a team the boys were executing their game plan and playing with the same style that had garnered them national spotlight. Lead running-back Gio Hernandez rushed for a touchdown on the opening drive and the Hawk’s stifling defense came up with a 4th down stop on Georgia’s next possession. After running-back Gaylan Gray rushed for a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter, Tulalip jumped out to a 15-0 lead.

They say football is a game of adjustments. Georgia didn’t wilt after the early deficit and adjusted their game plan to make use of their near 6-foot tall pass catchers. In combination with a bunch of Tulalip penalties, including costly turnovers and some that were very iffy, Tulalip saw their lead disappear. Georgia would score 25 unanswered points to finish the game, handing the Hawks a 15-25 loss. The stunning defeat was the Hawks first ‘L’ in two years under Coach James Madison. 

“It’s tough because it was our first loss in two years, but we are using it as energy for the next game. I’m using that loss as motivation for sure,” insisted defensive end Ryelon Zackuse. “We’re representing Tulalip and that feels good because we’re a small tribe and we’re the only tribal team that made it here playing against teams from states like Georgia and New York.”

With a quick turnaround, the Hawks had no choice but to get over their disappointing first game ahead of an early morning matchup with the Las Vegas 49ers. The determined Tulalip football team did use the previous day’s loss as motivation to showcase their skill and game breaking ability. In 30-degree weather, versus a loaded Las Vegas squad, the Hawks earned an impressive 30-14 victory backed by a stellar defense that came up with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. They represented the Tulalip/Marysville community with pride, showing their resilience. With the ‘W’ the boys proved they can compete with the very best in the country.

“We stood tall, played hard, fought hard and gave both games everything we had. I couldn’t be prouder of any set of kids in my life,” beamed head coach James Madison. “The greatest thing I saw out of this whole trip is seeing these boys step up and play the best competition in the nation. To have the season we had, it’s beyond a dream come true. I want to thank everyone who has sponsored us and supported our kids all season long. It’s been one amazing achievement after another and we did it all as a family.”

Only teams that went 2-0 in their opening games continued to play. The Hawks’ 1-1 record left them out of the remaining tournament games, but even so they left the national platform with a top eight ranking among the best of the best. 

The boys had a lot of fun at Media Day, made memories galore exploring the Ohio area and Hall of Fame complexes with their family and teammates, and had their competitive spirits fulfilled with a historical win. The glimpse of glory allowed them to dream bigger and set loftier goals with their football futures. 

“It means a lot to me making it all the way to the Hall of Fame tournament and especially good when we were all on stage together at Media Day,” shared Hawks standout Gaylan Gray. “My goals are to return next year and win it all, then my focus will be to get good grades in high school and make it to the NFL.” 

“It’s been really cool to be in Ohio to play football and win a game with this team because we play as a family. We protect each other and always have each other’s back,” reflected 13-year-old cornerback Adrian Jefferson, who has played football since he was just 5-years-old. “What I’m going to remember most is how we worked so hard just to get here and experiencing Ohio as a team, but I’m ready to be back home. I’ve missed school, I mean football means a lot to me, but school is more important. Being gone a week means I have a lot of homework to make up.”

Joseph Davis and Jacoby James journey to Ohio

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The recent big buzz around the reservation surrounded the Tulalip Hawks 12-u team and their performance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship. However, they weren’t the only Tulalip tribal members vying for a national title. Youngsters Joseph Davis and Jacoby James were also in Canton, Ohio at the same time playing under the Marysville Tomahawks banner.

Marysville Pilchuck’s feeder team, the 11-u Tomahawks, won-out in their age bracket at Northwest Regionals and in doing so earned an invitation to the Hall of Fame tournament. The Tomahawks feature Joseph at lead running-back and middle linebacker, while Jacoby plays special teams and back-up safety. 

“It’s been really fun traveling with the team and just exciting to be here in Ohio,” said Joseph at his team’s Media Day. “We’ve been practicing in the cold weather back home to get ready for the games here. We’ve gotten used to it and I’m looking forward to having fun and kicking some butt.”

“It’s good to get our program on the map and make it so we get more good football players,” added Jacoby. “I’m excited because it’s a once in a lifetime experience to play football in Ohio.” 

From December 11-16, Joseph and Jacoby, along with their families, got in on the Hall of Fame experience both on and off the field. Their first game was played against the Louisiana Knights. The 1st half was all defense as neither team found the end zone, leaving the score tied 0-0 at intermission.

At halftime, Jacoby’s grandmother Verna Hill shared her thoughts on what Ohio meant to their family. “For both boys to represent their family name and their tribe is a wonderful thing,” she said. “I have twenty grandchildren and Jacoby is the only athlete out of all of them. Watching him play is amazing! He is one of the two smallest players on the team, but his energy and quickness give him an edge.”

Moments into the 2nd half, tragedy struck for the Tomahawks when their do-it-all player Joseph absorbed a helmet to helmet hit that knocked him out of the game with concussion-like symptoms. Without Joseph his team wasn’t able to compete at the level they are used to. The Tomahawks went on to lose to Louisiana, and struggled again without Joseph in their next game versus the Columbus Bucks.

  Off the field, the Davis and James families made the most of their time in Ohio, no more so than when together they toured the Hall of Fame museum and were awed by Native American sports legend, Jim Thorpe’s exhibit and bronze statue. 

“It was an amazing trip and I’m thankful to spend the time with my boys,” reflected Joseph’s father, Sam Davis. “Ohio was something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. It meant a lot to Joseph to travel with his team and play on the national level. It was a proud dad moment for me to watch my son lead his team because he works so hard all year round to be in that position. Football has allowed him to grow not just into a well-rounded athlete, but a leader as well. Even injured, he was on the sidelines with his teammates cheering them on and keeping his guys pumped as best he could.”

Joseph’s final message before departing Ohio was, “Thank you to everyone back home for all the support in getting us here.” He’s already looking forward to next season and coming back to lead his Tomahawks team to victory. 

Tulalip Hawks win NW Regional title, next up World Championships in Ohio



By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

“On offense and defense, this team is simply amazing!” boasts James Madison, head coach of the 12-U Tulalip Hawks youth football team. “It’s been an honor to coach this team. From the coaches and players, to the parents and extended families, there is a strong sense of pride we all have representing our tribe. We’ve stuck together all season as one big family, and the results really show that.”

The results have been impressive, to say the least. A brand new team playing in the competitive North Sound Junior Football League for the first time, the Tulalip Hawks ‘Bantams’ received high praise as they dominated their competition during their (8-0) regular season. Then in the postseason they made quick work of their first two playoff foes, posting back-to-back 50-0 and 40-0 shutouts. 

It wasn’t until the league championship game vs. Lynnwood that the soaring Hawks finally played in a competitive game. But even then, after being tied 19-19 early in the 2nd half, they would close out the game with two impressive touchdown drives to seal their first-ever North Sound league championship.

Led by a core of talented Tulalip youngsters, the Hawks to this point were undefeated and scoring on average a whopping 40.7 points per game while only giving up a paltry 5.5 points to their opponents. Those impressive numbers on both sides of the ball, plus the league title qualified them to participate in a Northwest Regional tournament with a chance to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s World Championships, hosted at Canton, Ohio in mid-December.

“The vision of the Hall of Fame was to create the little league world series of football, a postseason tournament that stacks up the best programs in the country to crown a true national champion ,” explained Gary Howard, Pro Football Hall of Fame’s national scouting director. Each winner of the fourteen regional tournaments automatically qualifies for the national tournament.

The Northwest Regional tournament kicked-off for the Hawks on November 24, when they hosted the Bellingham Knights at the Tulalip Youth Complex. In front of a raucous home crowd, the Hawks continued to showcase their skyrocketing potential on both sides of the ball with a 39-6 dismantling of Bellingham. The win catapulted the young Hawks into the Regional championship game played at Archbishop Murphy High School. Their opponent was the Sedro Woolley Cubs, a team who hadn’t lost a game in two years.

  With two undefeated teams set to matchup for a regional title, the game was expected to a barnburner. However, as they’ve done all year, Tulalip made quick work of previously unbeaten Sedro Woolley with a series of game breaking athletic plays and timely defensive stops. The Hawks won the highly anticipated matchup 34-12. With the victory they were crowned Northwest Regional champs and earned the opportunity to play in Canton, Ohio for a national title. 

If the team success wasn’t enough, individual accolades were achieved by five stand-out Hawks players. 00 Ignacio Vega-Hillaire, 3 Gaylan Gray, 7 Ryelon Zackuse, 13 Jayden Madison, and 48 Gio Vega-Hernandez each received a hand delivered invitation to participate in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s elite three-day training camp. This invitation-only training camp features the best of the best in their age division, while offering a once in the lifetime opportunity to develop and train under the guidance of former NFL coaches and players. 

7 Ryelon Zackuse, 3 Gaylan Gray, 48 Gio Vega-Hernandez, 00 Ignacio Vega-Hillaire, and 13 Jayden Madison all received hand delivered invitations to participate in an elite three-day training camp sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“This year is the first of many yet to come. We strive to get the most exposure at the National level for all youth in the Northwest,” said Board of Director Marlin Fryberg, Jr., who also serves as a Pro Football Hall of Fame regional scout. “Having teams and players represent us in Canton, Ohio will be a great thing for our youth football programs. It’ll be a once in a lifetime experience for the kids and their parents.”

Junior Hawks crowned North South champions

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The North Sound Junior Football League is the most competitive and officially coordinated league in the area for youth eager to showcase their skills on the gridiron. This season North Sound welcomed five new teams into the league; Pee-Wees, 89ers, Juniors, Bantam, and Seniors all proudly represented the Tulalip Hawks program over the last several months. 

The Bantam (12-u) team, coached by tribal member James Madison, separated themselves from all other teams thanks in part to an explosive offensive and lockdown defense. Loaded with talented, young Tulalip athletes, the Junior Hawks Bantam squad had Championship or bust expectations from the get-go. 

“Our kids are out here representing Tulalip the best way they can,” said Coach Madison prior to the season opener’s kick-off. “They all know each other, most are family, and they get out on the field and just play hard. We know, as a program, we’re brand new but we’re determined to show every week that we’re Tulalip and proud of it. These kids have set a goal from day one to win a championship, and we expect to do just that.”

With lofty expectations, this group of youngsters played at a championship level by steam-rolling their competition week after week. During the regular season, they routinely exploited defenses with their overpowering running game, while stifling their opponents’ best players. Producing blowout victory after blowout victory, these Junior Hawks outshined everyone in the Bantam division. 

Going into the postseason they averaged 40.8 points on offense, while giving up just 5.1 points on defense. That whopping margin of victory increased after a 50-0 victory in their 1st round playoff game, followed by a 40-0 win in the semi-finals. The pair of playoff Ws setup the North Sound championship game between the Tulalip Hawks vs. Lynnwood Royals on Saturday, November 10 at Arlington High School.

The kick-off temperature was around 40 degrees, which made the 200+ fans in the stands layer up with winter coats and blankets galore. But on the field, the boys’ blood was running hot with excitement knowing they were just one more victory away from reaching their championship goal. 

In the opening quarter, Tulalip scored first when running back Gio Hernandez took a direct snap from center and scored on a 25-yard run. Lynnwood quickly countered with a score of their own, which Tulalip then topped with another Gio touchdown, this time off a 38-yard run and score. 

Lynnwood again matched the Junior Hawks with a running touchdown of their own, marking the first time since their first game of the season that Tulalip gave up multiple scores to their opponent. It was obvious that Lynnwood had brought their A-game and Tulalip would have to take their play to another level in order to win.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, running back Gaylan Gray added to his highlight reel with 37-yard touchdown run that included a sweet spin-move to break a tackle. The touchdown put Tulalip up 19-13 going into halftime.

To start the 2nd half, Tulalip coaches watched from the sidelines as Lynnwood was again moving the ball well against their defense. The Royals tied the game at 19-19 after a punch in from the 1-yard line. The game tightened up from that point, with both teams’ defenses coming up with multiple 4th down stops. The score remained 19-19 for the remainder of the 3rd quarter and most of the 4th. 

With only minutes left in the title game, Tulalip marched down the field with an impressive drive. Lynnwood’s defense finally buckled when running back Gaylan took a 14-yard hand off to the left sideline, broke two tackles and dove towards pay dirt. His touchdown put Tulalip up 26-19 with three minutes left to play. The Junior Hawks defense came up huge on Lynnwood’s subsequent drive when they forced a fumble and several Tulalip defenders jumped on the loose ball.

With the ball back in the hands of their explosive offense, the Junior Hawks iced the game with another direct snap to their running back. Once again it was to Gaylan who followed his blockers up the right sideline for a 29-yard score. With a mighty 32-19 advantage and just two minutes remaining the game was all but over. Moments later, a pair of quarterback sacks by Gio and Ryelon Zackuse sealed the Junior Hawks victory. Tulalip had achieved their preseason goal and was crowned North Sound division Champions!

“The 1st half was a real battle between two good teams. When we were tied up, the coaches kept telling us to keep playing hard and stick to the game plan,” reflected 12-year-old Gio following his two-touchdown game. “In the 2nd half our defense really stepped up and set the tone, which got us fired up on offense.”

“Last time we played Lynnwood we shut them down, so we were surprised they played so well to start the game,” added Gaylan, who also scored two touchdowns. “But we came together as a team during halftime and hyped each other up. It was a great game and I feel really good because this is my first football championship.”

Looking forward, the Champions from Tulalip will be playing in a Northwest Regionals tournament Thanksgiving weekend. That will be their final test before they travel to Canton, Ohio where they’ve been invited to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s World Youth Championship. This is a once in a lifetime experience for these boys who are making memories they’ll never forget.  

 

Jr. Hawks make list for best teams in WA State

Junior Hawks 89ers

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

We’re midway through the North Sound Junior Football season, and two Tulalip Junior Hawks teams are garnering state-wide attention. The latest update to the Western Washington Junior Football power rankings have the fourth-grade level 89ers (4-1) ranked 8th in state, while the seventh-grade level Bantams (5-0) are all the way up to 4th. 

Both teams excellent play on the field and growing hype, as far as championship expectations go, has led to extra attention from opposing coaching staffs. It’s often the case lately that coaching staffs of soon-to-be opponents are coming out to video record the Junior Hawks’ games in order to scout formations and particular players. It’s respect of the highest honor really; youth football teams playing so well that extra time and attention is being given to them like a high school or college program. 

On Saturday, October 6, the Tulalip 89ers hosted Oak Harbor in a week six matchup. Coming into this game, the 89ers defense has been tremendous. In fact, they’ve only allowed one team to score all season. That level of defensive play would continue and overwhelm Oak Harbor.

The 89er defense was relentless, putting a lock on Oak Harbor’s offense in every way. Meanwhile the 89er offense was focused on using their ground game to move the ball up and down the field. In the red zone, running back Jesse Voss ran in a touchdown to give his team their first lead at 6-0. Later in the game, once again in the red zone, quarterback J.J. Gray scrambled for a touchdown of his own to push their lead to 13-0.

The defensive would hold it down from there. Once again holding their opponent to zero points, the Junior Hawks’ record moved to (5-1) with the 13-0 victory. Bryson Fryberg, one the leaders on defense, had several QB pressures and several key tackles during the game. Bryson shared it felt good to hold Oak Harbor scoreless, but that his favorite moments were the hard tackles he dealt out. 

Following the victory Coach Omar Gray said, “Our kids stepped up big against a quality opponent. Offensively and defensively our players are really focusing on playing as a team and that allows us to play great football.”

 

JR Hawks Bantam

Later that Saturday, the undefeated Junior Hawks Bantam squad took the field in a matchup with Arlington at Arlington High School. The Bantams are led by a high-octane offense that averages nearly 45 points per game, while their opponents only average a single touchdown.

“The most important thing for us as a coaching staff is to make sure our boys play for each other and as a family,” shared Coach James Madison prior to kick-off. “We’ve had several key players go down with injury, but it’s up to our players to step up and show the quality of our depth.”

Tulalip took it to Arlington early and often. At halftime they led 26-0 and piled on several more offensive highlights in route to a 34-0 victory. Wide receiver Jayden Madison led the Junior Hawks with three touchdowns. After the win he said, “I thought it would be a closer game, but our passing attack was just too good. My favorite play was when Gaylan threw me a perfect pass in the corner of the end zone and I caught it over two defenders.” 

With two more regular season games before playoffs start, both the Junior Hawks Bantam and 89ers teams are playing great football and keeping their eyes on the prize: a Junior Football League Championship.

Tulalip Jr. Hawks make statement with dominant Ws

89ers Bryson Fryberg and Derek Wilson forcing a QB sack.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Last year, for the first time in nearly fourteen years, Tulalip began an initiative to have its own youth tackle football program. Under the careful guidance of Youth Services employees Lonnie Enick and Josh Fryberg, the Junior Hawks program kicked off with a single team of 9-12 year olds who played during the 2017 season. That lone team was the spark that ignited a flame, attracting many more aspiring Tulalip football players for the 2018 season.

Now in its second season, the Junior Hawks youth football program has grown from having just the single team to having five teams, each separated by age level; Peewees, 89ers, Juniors, Bantams, and Seniors. Each team is comprised of mostly Tulalip tribal members. These youth, who before were only able to play football under the banners of Marysville or Everett, now proudly sport stylish uniforms that read Tulalip Hawks.

Tulalip sought and received acceptance into the North Sound Junior Football League, legitimizing the program as a whole and establishing themselves as the official feeder program for the reservation’s Heritage High School. 

“We have a lot of very dedicated players, coaches, parents and volunteers who are ready for football season to start,” noted Junior Hawks president, Bantam team coach, and Tulalip tribal member James Madison. “It takes a lot of hard work for it all to come together, but we’re ready and we’re excited.”

89er coaches reviewing the game plan at halftime. Right – Bryson Fryberg and Derek Wilson forcing a QB sack. Below – J.J. Gray throwing for a TD.

This season’s campaign kicked-off on Saturday, August 25, with four of the Junior Hawks teams playing home games at the youth center versus Lake Stevens teams.  

The 89er division got things started with a 9:00am game. Quarterbacked by tribal member J.J. Gray and coached by his father O’Mar Gray, the Junior Hawks executed their game plan flawlessly by dictating tempo on both sides of the ball. Offensively, J.J. looked like a young Mike Vick running quarterback options and routinely juking multiple defenders as he left the pocket for long runs. Meanwhile, the defense was giving up nothing on the ground or through the air. Several Junior Hawks players, like Bryson Fryberg and Derek Wilson, were able to overpower their Lake Stevens counterparts and come up with multiple quarterback sacks. 

At halftime the Jr. Hawks were up 21-0, giving the home crowd much to cheer about. They would tack on another touchdown for good measure in the second half on their way to a well-earned 27-0 victory.

“For this being our first game, I thought it went great,” reflected Coach Gray after the season opening win. “For them to play in front of their families and friends, here in Tulalip, was a big energy booster for the team. All of the kids stepped up and you could see each player was hungry for a win.”

Bantam squad’s Gio Vega-Hillaire shreds Lake Stevens with the ground game.

Following the 89er game, the Junior Hawk Bantam squad took to the field. Prepared by long-time coach James Madison and led by a crop of highly talented 12-year-olds, this team walked on the field with high expectations.

They set the tone early unleashing a variety of offensive formations that Lake Stevens was unprepared to defend. Players Gaylan Gray, Gio Vega-Hillaire, and Jayden Madison all scored touchdowns early as their team took a commanding 26-0 lead. Their defense would force several 4th-down stops and the offense never let off the gas, eventually winning with a lopsided score of 57-14.

“Our offense came easy because our O-line did a great job blocking for us and opening up running lanes,” said do-it-all player and tribal member Gaylan Gray. He accounted for five Jr. Hawk touchdowns on the day. “My favorite play was catching a pass and going for a 50+ yard touchdown.”

“Both our defensive and offensive lines did good,” added lead running back Gio Vega-Hillaire, who chipped in four touchdowns himself. “It was a lot of fun winning the way we did at home.”

Jayden Madison coming up with a clutch interception.

The dominant victories by both the 89ers and Bantam teams give the Junior Hawks program high hopes for the season and expect to see a champion crowned at the end of the season. All in all, the program consists of five teams, over 125 athletes, and thirty volunteers. 

“Our kids are out here representing Tulalip the best way they can,” said Coach Madison. “They all know each other, most are family, and they get out on the field and just play hard. We know, as a program, we’re brand new but we’re determined to show every week that we’re Tulalip and we’re proud of it. These kids have set a goal from day one to win a championship, and we expect to do just that.”

To follow the Junior Hawks progress over the season visit www.northsoundjrfootball.org 

Football University: technique by position

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

During the hottest weekend of the year, the mid-80 degree days of May 27 and 28, six inspiring athletes from Tulalip were having their athletic prowess put to the test at Football University’s two-day camp. Hosted at Eastside Catholic School, located in Sammamish, the intense football skills camp delivered by the heralded Football University provided an intense, no-nonsense offseason training experience for 200+ student-athletes.

Among that pack of talented athletes were Tulalip’s own Shoshone Hollen, Noah Fryberg, Arnold Reeves, Quinton Yon-Wagner, and brothers Jeremiah and Jacob Diaz. All eager and ready to become better players, Football University was their primary destination for the best coaching from a staff of NFL-experienced coaches.

Since 2007, Football University has seen 40,000 student-athletes improve on the field and in the film room, learning position-specific techniques and fundamentals from the best and brightest. Promising prospects from grades 6-12 learn how to be better football players at a FBU camp, unlocking their potentials and eventually playing at the highest levels in high school, college, and the NFL.

“We believe every football player, at least once in their football lifetimes, should be coached by someone with NFL-level experience,” says Eric Medeiros, Pacific Northwest Scout for FBU. “Every single one of our FBU coaches possess a true passion for teaching elite technique to the younger generation. The fundamentals all FBU athletes learn are the same being practiced at all 32 NFL minicamps and in the film rooms of all 32 NFL teams, the same techniques on display every Sunday in the fall.”

Football University is built on the truth that technique plus talent beats talent alone. A truth the Tulalip youth learned by experience, as they were led by coaches and scouts in a variety of drills and trainings on the scorching hot gridiron. The camp tested their mental and physical football ability on the field and in the film room with an intense curriculum of technique training and film study.

It is a proven belief that the competitive difference-maker at high levels of football is technique. Every weekend in the fall, positional battles are won on the field with superior technique.

For their impressive showing at the camp, Noah, Shoshone, Quinton, and one of the Diaz brothers were recipients of a very exclusive FBU Top Gun Showcase invite.

“It was a privilege being by their side at this FBU Combine Camp. I see these young men every day here at the Teen Center working hard in the weight room, practicing drills outside on the field, and just pushing themselves every day to improve themselves,” says Lonnie Enick, Youth Services Activities Specialist. “I’m glad they got this one-of-a-kind experience because they benefited big time. I’m so proud of them all!”

Friday Night Lights Brings Communities Together

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By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District kicked off Tulalip/Marysville Unity Month (#TMUnityMonth) on October 7, 2016, with Friday Night Lights. The event, hosted by Youth Services, is a flag football tournament that sees over 60 participants on the field every Friday.

An all-ages event, Friday Night Lights participants get to play live, fast-paced football, while bonding with family and community members of Tulalip, Marysville, Everett, and Arlington. The event consists of four teams that will play each other every Friday night during the months of September to November.

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Youth Services provides snacks on the busy Friday nights to participants playing football, the young adults skateboarding the new skate park, and also caters to additional people taking part in indoor events such as open gym and movie nights.

Friday Night Lights is held 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Friday night during the first few months of football season. Josh Fryberg, Youth Services Activities Coordinator, believes that building relationships is a major key to growing together as a community.

 

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He states, “We have people coming from neighboring communities to play football and to have some fun. The main objective of Friday Night Lights is bringing the community together, that’s what it’s all about.”

For more details about Friday Night Lights and #TMUnityMonth, please contact Youth Services at (360) 716-4909.

 

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Hawks run over Bruins, 51-26

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By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage Hawks (0-1) held their home opening football game on Saturday, October 1, when they hosted the Bruins out of Clallam Bay (2-1). The game was played at the newly built Alpheaus “Gunny” Jones, Sr. ball field.

These two teams previously faced off on September 9 at Clallum Bay. That was a highly competitive game in which the Bruins pulled out a 28-26 victory.

The Hawks were determined to get their first win of the short season and did what they could to show off for their home crowd. Everything seemed to go the Hawks way on both sides of the ball. The offense was clicking and had no trouble moving the ball. Meanwhile, the defense came up big by forcing three interceptions and a couple fumbles.

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After four quarters of solid play, the Hawks won by the score of 51-26.

The twenty-five point victory is sure to be a shining spot on a season that has seen two games cancelled thus far. On Monday, October 3, it was announced Tulalip Heritage has forfeited its next game against the Lummi Blackhawks.

Saturday, October 29, is the next and last home game on the schedule for the Hawks.

 

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Tulalip Hawks lit up by the Neah Bay Red Devils, 12-72

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by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Coming off their first win of the season, a 78-48 victory over Crescent High School, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks (1-3) were looking forward to a competitive game against one of their rivals, the Neah Bay Red Devils (3-0). The Red Devils are the back-to-back WA State 1B champions, currently ranked #32 in the nation, and ranked #1 in the state. The Red Devils have been destroying teams by an average margin of 37 points per game and appear prime to repeat again as 1B champions.

The game was played at Quil Ceda stadium on Saturday, October 10, where clouds opened up to rain showers just before kick-off.

On the opening kick-off the Red Devils scored on an 87-yard kick return, completed the 2-point conversions, and took an 8-0 lead over Tulalip Heritage less than 15 seconds into the game. On the Hawks ensuing possession they went 3 and out, but their 4th down punt attempt went awry as the snap was low and the ball was fumbled. The Red Devils took over on downs at the Hawks 22-yard line and on 1st down scored an easy touchdown to take a 14-0 lead.

 

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It would be that kind of day for the Hawks, as the Red Devils were just too good, took advantage of every Hawks miscue, and continued to pile on the points.

Down 0-44 with 90 seconds left in the 1st quarter the Hawks got on the board. From their own 45-yard line, quarterback Willy Enick dropped back and connected to Robert Miles on a 15-yard throw. Miles shed a would-be tackler and was off to the races for a 55-yard touchdown.

The Red Devils would add another touchdown right before the end of the 1st quarter, giving them a 50-6 lead over the home team after the opening quarter.

Early in the 2nd quarter Willy Enick again connected with wide receiver Robert Miles for a 74-yard catch and run touchdown for the Hawks. This time it was a well-timed throw by Enick that caught Miles in stride and led him past the Red Devils secondary for the score. The 12-50 score was the closest the Hawks would get unfortunately.

The Hawks would be held scoreless for the remainder of the game and would go on to lose 12-72. It was definitely a humbling experience for the home team who with the loss now sit at 1-4 on the season. Next up is an away game at Clallam Bay on Friday, October 23.

 

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