Frank Workman on Sports: Rotary Cup game preview

Friday, September 25, 2015

Frank Workman
By Frank Workman

When our community's annual biggest gathering commences Friday night at Shoreline Stadium with the 7pm kickoff of the Rotary Cup Game, the focus will shift from the Booster barbecue and the bands, the color and the pageantry, to the two teams that will battle it out in the friendly rivalry that exists between the Shorecrest Scots and the Shorewood Thunderbirds.

Fans are advised to arrive early (6pm) to avoid long ticket lines, bring their appetites, seat cushions, blankets, and binoculars, and maybe even a neighbor kid or two. Do partake of the Booster barbecue's $5 Full Meal Deal and the concession stand's Best Popcorn In WesCo.

There will be no live video of the game this year, for the first time since 2008. If you want to see the game, buy a ticket.

For those fans wanting to focus on football, here's some of what you'll want to know.

Both teams appear to be improved from where they were last year.  

Shorewood is 0-3 but has played the more rigorous schedule in Everett, Mountlake Terrace, and perennial league champions, Glacier Peak.  

Shorecrest is 2-1, their wins coming over lightly-regarded Sultan and Sammamish; their loss was by a single point to Lynnwood.

The Scots won this game nine straight times from 2004-2012. But the T-Birds took the Cup back in 2013 with a thrilling 17-14 win, on an Isaac Whitaker field goal at the gun, and retained it last year with a 33-7 romp over the Scots.

Shorecrest leads in the series 23-13.

The best athlete on the field Friday night is Shorewood senior Ronnie Gary (#1).  He high-jumped 6' 9" this summer. From his wide receiver position, he can go up and catch almost anything thrown his way.

Last year the T-Birds had a big-but-young offensive line. They haven't shrunk any, and they're all a year older and more experienced. The Blair brothers (Andrew, #59, and Justus, #71) are the anchors.

SW's most versatile athlete is Isaac Whitaker (#24), now a junior. He'll run the ball out of the wing formation, he catches passes with aplomb, and he does all the kicking. 

Running backs Kaimana Aki and Justin Cho are small but quick. They're both a threat to squirt through the line and pile up big yardage whenever they carry the ball.

T-Birds' Head Coach Brandon Torrey is in his first season leading his team.

Senior QB Aaron Okamura will be starting his third Rotary Cup and gives his team a big experience edge at the position. He's a threat to run or pass on any play.

For the Scots, gritty junior QB Jack Koss is starting just his first Cup game. He has an array of receivers to choose from, in Brig Weaver (#1), Ian Prieve (#7), Race Treat (#3), and Aubry Victor (#22), who also handles the kicking chores.

Their offensive line features Isaiah Banks (#59) and Diego Fountain (#61), both seniors.

Their middle linebacker with the splendid football name, Jake Smotherman (#53) figures to have his name called over the PA frequently Friday.

Head Coach Brandon Christensen is in his sixth season at the helm for the Scots.

Who's going to win the 2015 Rotary Cup? The game could come down to a single play. Or the recuperative powers of a rivalry game that brings an injured player onto the field for the first time all season.

Most likely it will be the team that lifted the most weights over the summer, listened most intently to their coaches, practiced perfectly this week, and devoted themselves to the collective effort that's necessary to win a rivalry game.

Getting a favorable bounce of the ball wouldn't hurt, either.


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