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.”

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.”

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



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.




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.



Hawks lose to Lummi Nation in last regular season game, 45-58

By Tulalip News staff

LUMMI – Tulalip Heritage Hawks ended their regular season with a game against rival Lummi Nation Blackhawks on Thursday, January 29.  The Hawks, who made the trek to Lummi for the game, were banking on a win before entering district games.

Going into the second quarter the Hawks tied the game at 17-17 but quickly lost the lead going into halftime. Unable to secure a lead over Lummi the Hawks took a loss with a final score of 45-58, leaving them as the second place Northwest 1B league leader.

Both teams will enter the 1B league  2015 District 1 Boys Basketball Tournament on February 7, played at Mount Vernon Christian High School.



Hawks take easy win over Loggers, 49-0

Heritage Hawks defensive end #20 Willy Enick sets to make a tackle
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

MARYSVILLE – The game winner had been decided with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter during the Tulalip Heritage Hawks varsity football game against the Crescent Bay Loggers, 49-0, played on Saturday, October 4.

Hawks offense played a majority of the game as a result of the Hawks incredible defense, which prevented the Loggers from advancing past the 40-yard line. But in a surprising move, the Loggers, coached by Darrell Yount, discontinued the game in the second quarter with 8:21 remaining, making it the quickest win thus far in the season for the Hawks.

Robert Miles Jr. led the Hawks with four touchdowns and Ayrik Miranda threw for three touchdown passes.

Heritage Hawks   43 6 – 49

Crescent Bay   0  0 – 0

You can watch all Heritage Hawks home games on Tulalip TV or online at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;




Hawks take season opener win over Evergreen Lutheran, 56-46

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP –  Heritage Hawks welcomed the 2014-15-varsity football season Saturday with a win over Evergreen Lutheran Eagles, 56-46.

The Hawks, who added eight new players this season, battled the Eagles through fumbles, turnovers, and a few hard calls by the referees, before taking the win with a 10-point lead. The return of  Robert Miles Jr., and the addition of fullback Jessie Louie, who combined to rush for 329 yards and 8 touchdowns, boosted the Hawks offense.

Tulalip Heritage 24  12  14  6 -56

Evergreen Lutheran 8  14  16  8 -46

Tulalip Heritage defeats Mt. Rainier Lutheran

Dontae Jones with the rebound for Tulalip.
Dontae Jones with the rebound for Tulalip. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage Hawks crushed the Mt. Rainier Lutheran Hawks at tonight’s game at Heritage High School in the first tri-district championship game. Both teams opened strong, keeping up with one another. Then in the last minutes of the first quarter, Tulalip pulled away, building on a 7 point lead that ended in a win by nearly 20 points, 76-48 Tulalip.

Shawn Sanchey drives to the hoop for a lay up, passing Rainier defense. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News
Shawn Sanchey drives to the hoop for a lay up, passing Rainier defense. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

The win was hard earned. Tempers flared in the first quarter, leading to taunting fouls on both teams. The second quarter they tightened up, playing a clean game with minimal fouls. It seemed like the tables might have turned with Rainier sinking nothing but three pointers, but the hawks pushed on, relentlessly driving the ball to the hoop. The third quarter was all about the fouls with both teams showing signs of fatigue, lacking precision in the execution of plays, scored 71-47 Tulalip.

Rainier fouled Brandon Jones causing him to hit the court hard in the 3rd quarter. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News
Rainier fouled Brandon Jones causing him to hit the court hard in the 3rd quarter. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Both teams played hard, showing their fatigue in the fourth quarter. The starters, who had played the entire game, were pulled on both teams, as the fresh players took the court. Alan Enick scored an amazing three pointer in the final minutes of the game, further sealing the win for Tulalip.

Tulalip: 22, 17, 32, 5 Total 76
Rainier: 15, 9, 23, 1 Total 48

Dontae Jones 5, Brandon Jones 8, Bradley Fryberg 19, Robert Miles Jr. 12, Shawn Sanchey 9, Keanu Hamilton 20, Alan Enick 3.

Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188

District One 1B Champions: Tulalip Heritage Hawks advance to Tri-districts

Tulalip Heritage Hawks win District One 1B Championship. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News
Tulalip Heritage Hawks win District One 1B Championship. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Article and photos by Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

After a great season the Tulalip Heritage Hawks dominate the District One 1B Championships, taking home the second trophy for Tulalip. Facing rival Blackhawks from Lummi in the final game, Tulalip played an intense game. The Hawks only lost one game this season, their first game this season against the Lummi Blackhawks.

The first game of the championship series was to be played against Providence Classical Christian February 8th, but was forfeit by Providence Classical advancing Heritage to the winner’s bracket. Game two pitted the Hawks against Grace Academy on February 11th, with the Hawks leading the game by 10 points, winning 61-48.

February 13th was game three, the final game for the championship title, was by far the most intense. The Hawks held a narrow lead throughout the game, and at times there was a fear of losing that lead. Driven by last year’s upset at this very game, the Hawks were not about to let their lead go without a fight.

Brandon Jones with a rebound for Tulalip. This led to a 3 point shot, maintaining their lead.
Brandon Jones with a rebound for Tulalip. This led to a 3 point shot, maintaining their lead. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Lummi won the tip off, then ten seconds into the game Bradley Fryberg with an amazing steal from the top of the key, ran the ball down the court for a lay up. Two points and Tulalip was in the lead. You can catch the replay on the Tulalip News Facebook page. The teams met as equals on the court, returning shot for shot keeping them neck and neck. It was a game decided by fouls, as are every rivalry game between the Hawks and the Blackhawks. The last three games of last year, including the championship upset, were lost within 2 points. This year, the Hawks prevailed, winning the title of District One 1B champions, advancing them on to Tri-Districts and hopefully the State Championships.

Senior Shawn Sachey said, “This is a great feeling. We worked hard as a team, Lummi was a hard team to beat, but we won. We have a good chance of going to state, but we’ll see. We haven’t played anyone from over the mountains yet.”

Brandon Jones, also a senior, said, “The game went excellent. Scoring first gave us a lot of momentum. I just want to thank God for the win.”

New addition to the team, sophomore Ayrik Miranda, said, “We came out with intensity, andwe kept that through the game.”

Head Coach Marlin Fryberg Jr. was very pleased with the way the team played, attributing the success of the game to crucial time outs he used to refocus his players.

“Anytime we lost momentum, I called a time out and regrouped the boys. We really played the way we wanted to, the way we practiced. The last four minutes of the game, three of their starters were on the bench. But it was really the foul shots, especially those last foul shots, that sealed the win.”

This is the second time the Tulalip Heritage Hawks have won the district championships, advancing to tri-districts starting February 18th.

For game times, stats, photos, and updates, checkout Tulalip News on Facebook or Watch the games live on

Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Prep boys basketball: Tulalip Heritage 56, Mount Vernon Christian 52

Source: The Herald, December 6, 2013

MOUNT VERNON — Keany Hamilton scored 20 points and added eight rebounds and five steals as Tulalip Heritage defeated Mount Vernon Christian in a nonleague game. Jonathan deHaan led the Hurricanes with 20 points and two 3-pointers in the loss.

At Mount Vernon Christian H.S.

Tulalip Heritage 12 18 14 12 — 56

Mount Vernon Christian 15 13 13 11 — 52

Tulalip Heritage–Dontae Jones 7, Brandon Jones 4, Robert Miles 7, Shawn Sanchey 13, Keanu Hamilton 20, Willy Enick 5. Mount Vernon Christian–Tyler Houtsma 11, Jonathan deHaan 20, James Hurd 7, Riley Hood 3, Andrew Graves 8, Joshua Twedt 5. 3-point goals–Hamilton 3, Sanchey 3, D. Jones, Enick 1, Houtsma, deHann 2, Hurd 1. Records–Tulalip Heritage 2-0 overall. Mount Vernon Christian 0-2.

High school football week 9 stories and photos

Jennifer Buchanan / The HeraldMarysville-Pilchuck wide receiver Chris Jones catches a long touchdown pass in front of Glacier Peak's Austin Hines during Friday night's game.
Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald
Marysville-Pilchuck wide receiver Chris Jones catches a long touchdown pass in front of Glacier Peak’s Austin Hines during Friday night’s game.
Source: The Herald

Championship week in high school football did not disappoint, with close games deciding Wesco 4A and the Cascade Conference, and Marysville Pilchuck steamrolling their way into the state playoffs. See Herald photos from MP’s and Lakewood’s victories in our photo gallery and catch up on all the action in our stories below:

Wesco 4A championship: Lake Stevens shocks Edmonds-Woodway late
Wesco 3A championship: Marysville Pilchuck runs away with Wesco 3A title
Cascade Conference championship: Lakewood holds on to take title
Kamiak clinches final 4A district berth
Mountlake Terrace earns final 3A district berth
Snohomish beats Mariner for first win of season
Cascade beats Monroe to wrap up district No. 3 seed
Oak Harbor beats Meadowdale to earn home playoff game
Archbishop Murphy 52, Granite Falls 10
La Conner 52, Darrington 20
Lummi 51, Tulalip Heritage 6
Marysville Getchell 47, Shorewood 12
Mount Vernon 52, Jackson 32
Sultan 54, Coupeville 21
Here’s a look at this weekend’s playoff matchups.

And look for more scores, schedules and stories throughout the season on our high school football page.