Inari Roll Call (Click on highlighted names for links to pictures)
Blowouts are tough to watch if you’re a fan of the team getting whooped. Just ask any of the Raiders faithful (whatever’s left of them). Of course, blowouts are usually fun for the winning team and provide playing time for backups.
Sometimes you’re a backup because you’re not good enough. Other times you’re a backup because the guy ahead of you is more experienced, a little bit more seasoned. Whatever the reason, as a backup, when you get a chance to play, you make the most of your opportunities, looking to push that starter out of his spot.
Blowouts provide those opportunities. Look no further than Matthew Furuto, a sophomore quarterback attending Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Ala. for a man living carpe diem. Matthew capped off a huge 44-6 victory against Chelsea last week with an 89-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper with only 22 seconds left in the game. For both the skeptics and those who just like watching special plays alike, you can all check out the mad dash here:
Defense. Defense. Defense. Any good coach, in any sport, will preach the importance of defense. Nick Okano, a senior free safety at Harvard-Westlake High School, has helped his team to a 3-1 start with his Jack Black-like defense (that would be Tenacious D). Averaging over 10 tackles a game, Nick has already received offers from Air Force, Princeton, Columbia and Yale.
The impressive thing about Nick’s season thus far is that he’s suffering from a high ankle sprain that knocked him out of one and a half games. Injury and all, he’s recorded 31 tackles (17 solos), two picks, and four pass deflections and averaged a very respectable 13 ½ yards while returning punts.
While on the topic of injuries, senior Ohkii Murakami of Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, has been sidelined the entire season after starting last year at right guard. His injury? An inguinal hernia—which just sounds painful—that needed surgery.
Ohkii started playing football because his friends told him that Asians weren’t good at it. He not only proved them wrong, he also fell in love with the sport.
A high pain tolerance and a burning desire to refute his doubters will serve him well in the NAVY which Ohkii plans to join out of high school.
Ohkii hopes to return next week to the bright lights and atmosphere of the stadium, something he most definitely has missed while he’s been out of action.
“I’ve learned you cannot take anything for granted,” Ohkii told the Rafu Shimpo via Facebook, “because it can all be taken away from you before you know it.”
Versatility is an underrated skill in sports. Just ask Chone Figgins, arguably the MVP of the LA Angels this season. Or talk to Boris Diaw of the Charlotte Bobcats. Or check out last week’s addition of “Inari Roll Call” and look at what Dillon Corona does for San Dimas High School.
This week in volleyball, versatility is the name of Alyssa Yasuda’s game. Alyssa, a senior outside hitter representing for West Campus in Sacramento, has helped her team to a 6-2 record thus far. Having just kicked off the second half of their season, Alyssa has amassed a flood of numbers: 79 kills, 32 aces, 3 blocks, 325 digs, 3 assists, and 252 serves with a 92 serve percentage.
Her versatility comes in how many positions she’s capable of playing.
She started playing volleyball her freshman year and has been a jack of all trades since then. She began last season as a setter before an injury sidelined her for a stretch. When she returned, her coach had her play out the year at libero. This year, she’s an outside hitter.
And playing all over the court suits her just fine.
“I love the game in general,” she told the Rafu Shimpo via Facebook. “I like serving. I like passing. I like setting. I like hitting. Everything. Especially diving…Well, sometimes.”
As for post-high school plans, Alyssa wants to mosey on down to SoCal and attend a UC next year, though she isn’t sure which one yet, and major in biology so she can become a pharmacist. Don’t be surprised, however, if she learns how to be an allergist, dentist and optometrist as well.
If you watch any sports channel or the E Channel or MTV or pretty much any major network, you’ve undoubtedly heard the now quite clichéd slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Well, Makani Nakasone, a junior outside hitter at Robertson High School in Las Vegas, is certainly looking to change that catch phrase and we at the Rafu are trying our best to help her in her quest.
See, Makani lives in Las Vegas…New Mexico
Unlike its famous namesake, Makani’s Las Vegas is a really small town that doesn’t get a lot of pub, definitely not from us out here in L.A., and is a place that Makani hopes to leave, in her own words, as soon as possible. However, her vision is not limited to the just the United States.
Already having visited Spain, Okinawa, Denmark, and Mexico, Makani hopes to attend college out of the country. Preferably Europe.
“Maybe Italy or Swaziland,” she told the Rafu Shimpo via Facebook. “Italy because I’ve always wanted to go and Swaziland because I’m hoping to go to the world college there.”
Makani is interested in studying the liberal arts and political sciences. As for her volleyball exploits, Robertson is 4-1 on the season. On Thursday, in a four-set victory against West Las Vegas, Makani had a pair of kills and averaged around nine points serving per set.
She’s played volleyball for only five years, yet when asked what she loves about the it, her response reflected a maturity perhaps developed from time spent all over the globe.
“Being around people that have at least one thing in common, we all love volleyball and games,” she said. “I love the thrill and the support.”
Jordan Ikeda is the Rafu Sports Editor. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Rafu Shimpo. For those interested in contributing player names, pictures, scores or stats, e-mail Jordan at [email protected] or call him at (213) 629-2231 ext. 148. Fax (213) 687-0737. Jordan can also be contacted via Facebook at Rafu-Sports Man.