High School Sports

Drama-free signing day for area prep stars

The national letter of intent signing day drama at Lincoln High School wasn’t exactly made for TV.

Jusstis Warren showed up committed to the University of Washington, and there was no reason to believe he had made a last-minute switch — not with his mother wearing a T-shirt that read, “Keep calm, my son is going to UW.”

His two sisters had them, too: “Keep calm, my brother is going to UW.” Even his 3-year-old nephew: “Keep calm, my uncle is going to UW.”

Warren, who played six games his sophomore year, missed his junior year with a knee injury and said he didn’t have an NCAA Division I offer at the start of the season, was among six players on the Abes football team to sign with colleges Wednesday.

Lincoln principal Pat Erwin said he believes this is the most student-athletes signing to play football in one year in the school’s history.

Fellow linebacker BJ Hawthorne, wearing a Washington State sweatshirt, signed with the Cougars. Defensive back Dehonta Hayes, offensive lineman Ben PuaPuaga and wide receiver Jayson Williams signed with Eastern Washington. Running back Marcus Johnson will head to Central Washington in Ellensburg.

Former Lincoln coach Jon Kitna, who accepted a head coach position at Waxahachie High School near Dallas two weeks ago, stood along the right side of the auditorium watching his former players sit at a table set up on the stage. But they wouldn’t let Kitna stay in the shadows.

Before the players signed, Warren surprised Kitna by presenting him with the REAL Man Award, an acronym Kitna and his staff created that stands for Rejects passivity, Empathizes with others, Accepts responsibility and Leads courageously. Kitna accepted it and gave a brief speech.

“You guys are carrying the torch,” Kitna said. “A torch of a lot of kids who are going to come to Lincoln and you’ll never meet, but they are going to have an opportunity because of what you guys do from this point forward.”

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland was on hand, as well.

“Six kids who all got recruited to play college football somewhere, and I think most of these kids have GPA’s above 3.0,” Strickland said. “It sets a high bar and raises the standards of what we can expect from student athletes.”

While proud to see six of the Abes 15 seniors sign to play college football, Kitna said there should have been more.

“They are still underrecruited,” Kitna said after the ceremony. “Eastern knows they got a steal. Central knows they are getting a steal.

“But the best thing is these schools they are going to, they are getting great young men who are going to help shape their schools’ cultures.”

As the photo-taking died down and the players had hugged most of their friends and family, Hawthorne found Warren for some parting words.

“I’ll see you in the Apple Cup,” Hawthorne said.

MCCLATCHER: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The undramatic day continued at Federal Way. Chico McClatcher, The News Tribune’s All-Area Player of the Year who was committed to the Huskies before signing day, walked into the school lunchroom already wearing a UW T-shirt for everyone to see. His mom had a small purple “W” on her right cheek.

“Both my aunties and my mom went there. Really, it was just nothing is better than staying home,” said McClatcher, who set Federal Way records for career all-purpose yards and total touchdowns. “I made my decision about three months ago. I just already had it in my mind that this was the spot for me to spend my next four years.”

He said he isn’t sure exactly what his role will be with the Huskies, but he’s looking forward to getting touches in a variety of ways.

“I’m just going to try to bring a lot of speed, especially on offense and special teams,” said McClatcher. “I just want to join a good brotherhood, be comfortable where I’m at and hopefully grind to get some national championships.”

McClatcher sat to the far right on a table as David Tiumalu signed with the South Dakota School of Mines, Jared Pulu signed with Air Force, and Charlie Taumoepeau with Portland State.

TOBECK WRITES HIMSELF INTO HISTORY

No player in Cascade Christian High School history did what Mason Tobeck did Wednesday.

The News Tribune All-Area tight end and standout linebacker signed with Utah State. Tobeck is the first from his school to sign to play a team sport for an NCAA Division I school, said Cougars coach Randy Davis.

And he’ll go to a school that also produced Seattle Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner and running back Robert Turbin.

“I’m just excited — I’ve been in Washington my whole life, I’m just excited to go out and experience new things,” Tobeck said. “I’m excited to go out and meet new people and make new friends.”

He had a proud father in former Washington State and Seahawks lineman Robbie Tobeck.

“I mostly just congratulated him on reaching a goal,” Robbie Tobeck said. “Today’s the culmination of his dreams and hopes and the hard work he’s put in. I just told him, ‘Now it’s time to set another goal.’ Knowing Mason like I do, I know he’s already set himself a new goal.”

PENINSULA QUARTET SIGNS

Robert Kvinsland won a lot of games in four years at Peninsula. And helped the Seahawks win three consecutive 3A South Puget Sound League titles, including the past two as their starting quarterback.

Idaho State liked that. And they hope he can lead the Bengals to similar things.

“They love pocket quarterbacks,” said Kvinsland, a second-team News Tribune All-Area selection. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me.”

In addition, Peninsula running back Major Ali signed with Carroll College (Montana), and offensive lineman Hayden Smith went with Montana Tech.

The Seahawks’ Lauren Mercuri signed to play soccer at Central Arkansas, and Josie Self with Eastern Washington.

NW NUGGETS TO PAC-12

A pair of News Tribune Northwest Nuggets selections stuck with the Pac-12 Conference schools they had committed to.

Lakes standout defensive lineman Benning Potoa’e, with UW and Lakes mini-helmets sitting in front of him on a table, signed with the Huskies in the morning and celebrated with friends and family after school.

“(He’s) one of the best we have ever had,” Lakes coach Dave Miller said. “Underrated in my opinion.”

Meanwhile, more than 70 people at Steilacoom High School watched as star linebacker Fotu T. Leiato II put on an Oregon hat.

Leiato, whose Hudl video is a bit of an internet sensation, became the first football player in Steilacoom’s history to sign to play for a Pac-12 school — that after having no Division I offers at the start of the school year.

High School Name College
Archbishop Murphy Mason Bradley Fresno State
Arlington Connor Bovard Linfield
Arlington Cameron Scrimgeour University of Jamestown-North Dakota
Auburn Riverside Marcus Atafua CWU
Ballard Jacob Ta'Ase CWU
Bellarmine Prep Matt Philichi Air Force
Bellevue Mustafa Branch Stanford
Bellevue Ross Connors Air Force
Bellevue Christian Pankey Cornell
Bellevue Henry Roberts UW
Bishop Blanchet Jack Sendelbach EWU
Bonney Lake Riley Miller Colorado School of Mines
Bonney Lake Baily Sulfridge Montana Tech
Bothell Ross Bowers Cal
Bothell Cole Ford UTEP
Bothell Jackson Keimig Yale
Bothell Sam McPherson EWU
Camas Bryan Kelly CWU
Camas James Price Wyoming
Camas Alex Walker CWU
Capital Mason Manning Cornell
Cascade Christian Mason Tobeck Utah State
Central Kitsap Brion Anduze Arizona
Central Kitsap Eric Ledumsa CWU
Cheney Keenan Williams EWU
Chiawana Dre Sonte Dorton EWU
Chiawana Juan Noyola CWU
Chiawana Christian Penny CWU
Chiawana Isaiah Richie Eastern Oregon
Chiawana Deion Singleton WSU
Eastside Catholic Cody Baker New Mexico
Eastside Catholic Deion Fetui Air Force
Eastside Catholic Anthony Masaniai Air Force
Eastside Catholic Alex Neale UNLV
Edmonds-Woodway Nick Morales Amherst
Edmonds-Woodway Nick Venema Western Oregon
Evergreen (Vancouver) Kobey Eaton Montana
Evergreen (Vancouver) Justice Murphy Wyoming
Evergreen (Vancouver) Billy Nelson Weber State
Evergreen (Vancouver) Jerrin Williams Montana
Davis Ketner Kupp EWU
Emerald Ridge Wain Clarke Hillsdale (Mich.)
Emerald Ridge Jake March South Dakota School of Mines
Emerald Ridge Brett Rankin South Dakota School of Mines
Enumclaw Tarik Hagen CWU
Federal Way Chico McClatcher UW
Federal Way Jared Pulu Air Force
Federal Way Charlie Taumoepeau Portland State
Federal Way David Tiumalu South Dakota School of Mines
Foss Chris "Scooby" Reynolds Idaho State
Glacier Peak Mason Braun CWU
Glacier Peak Mosese Fifita Air Force
Gonzaga Prep Jack Bamis Idaho
Jackson Keynan Foster Florida A&M
Kennedy Dartanian Henry Scottsdale CC
Kennedy Manase Kamoto Scottsdale CC
Kennedy Jr. Njauamo Scottsdale CC
Kentwood Josiah Bronson Temple
Kentridge Braiden Beckman Idaho State
Lake Stevens Tevin Gray CWU
Lakes Benning Potoa'e UW
Lakeside Erik Rottsolk Fordham
Lincoln BJ Hawthorne WSU
Lincoln Dehonta Hayes EWU
Lincoln Marcus Johnson CWU
Lincoln Ben PuaPuaga EWU
Lincoln Jusstis Warren UW
Lincoln Jayson Williams EWU
Lynden Lucas Petersen CWU
Lynden Bryce Sterk UW
Marysville-Pilchuck Austin Joyner UW
Marysville-Pilchuck Bryce Vitcovich Colorado State-Pueblo
Meadowdale Caleb Tingstad Western Oregon
Monroe Andrew Zimmerman WSU
Mount Si Jonathan Hillel CWU
Mount Si Chris Schlichting EWU
Mt Spokane Roy Hyatt EWU
Newport (Bellevue) Calvin Throckmorton Oregon
O'Dea Majid Firoozi UC Davis
O'Dea Myles Gaskin UW
O'Dea Dylan Ledbetter EWU
Okanogan Jim Townsend EWU
Peninsula Major Ali Carroll College (Mont.)
Peninsula Robert Kvinsland Idaho State
Peninsula Hayden Smith Montana Tech
Richland Mason Jackson Idaho State
Rogers Kyler Ooley CWU
Rogers Justus Portmann Southeastern (Fla.)
Sehome Tyler Haggen CWU
Shadle Park Zachary Price CWU
Shadle Park Brett Rypien Boise State
Skyline Riley Griffiths Montana State
Skyline Cameron Saffle Cal
Snohomish Nathan Jacobson UNLV
Steilacoom Fotu T. Leiato II Oregon
Squalicum Christian Jorgensen EWU
Todd Beamer Christian Stafford CWU
Tumwater Addison Barrett Eastern Oregon
Tumwater Trevor Davis Jr EWU
Tumwater Kaden Prosser Eastern Oregon
Union Tyler Dionne CWU
Wenatchee Trey Adams UW
Wenatchee Chase Resch CWU
Wenatchee Cy Sirmon Montana
West Valley (Spokane) Jace Malek Idaho
West Valley (Yakima) Shane Lemieux Oregon
Wilson Billy Greer CWU
Wilson Jack Springer Benedictine College
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