Just call Neah Bay’s Rwehabura Munyagi Jr. the accidental quarterback.
When Munyagi began his ninth grade season in August, he had no idea he would help lead the defending Class 1B state champions back to the title game.
“I don’t think anybody expected us to come back,” said coach Tony McCaulley, who graduated a core group of seniors. “But we’ve got some young guys who are playing really well.”
At the top of that list is Munyagi, who is as surprised as anyone that he will be at the helm of the offense for the 13-0 Red Devils in the biggest game of the year Saturday against Liberty Christian (13-0). The schools played for the 2012 state title, won by the Patriots.
“It feels real good considering I’m only a freshman,” Munyagi said. “I honestly didn’t think I would be a starting quarterback.
“Sometimes it is intimidating.”
It would be, considering he’s filling the shoes of graduated Josiah Greene, the reigning Class 1B state player of the year (1,720 passing yards, 28 touchdowns; 1,463 rushing yards, 19 TDs as a senior). Greene is now at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas.
Munyagi was named the starter in the third week — and was struggling to complete passes in the middle of the field, especially after daylight dimmed.
McCaulley had a hunch on what the reason was — and it paid off.
“We’re doing a lot better since I got contacts,” Munyagi said.
Munyagi completed just one pass in the 26-20 1B semifinal win over Lummi last weekend — but it was one that counted. His 28-yarder to Cameron Buzzell with 5 minutes, 42 seconds remaining put the Red Devils ahead for good.
He has passed for 904 yards and 21 touchdowns this season.
“He has played well,” McCaulley said. “He’s really taken over control of the game.
“I think the bright lights (in the semifinals) jittered him a little, but I think he’s over that now.”