Before the Gig Harbor Tides hosted the Bellarmine Lions last Friday in the Narrows League 4A championship football game at Roy Anderson Field, I had a chance to catch up with University of Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a Gig Harbor High alumnus.
Here’s my question-and-answer session with the projected early round NFL draft pick:
The Tides went 3-7 last year. How would you assess the job that head coach Aaron Chantler has done to turn this team around?
I think Chantler’s done a phenomenal job. Going from 3-7, and now 7-1 in a league championship game, I don’t think Gig Harbor’s been in for almost 10 years, it’s a pretty phenomenal job of where they came from. I think it’s kudos to the coaching staff and the players believing in the system. The sky’s the limit. Coach Chantler’s a young and up-and-coming coach in the state of Washington.
You came back from Seattle for the game tonight. What does this community and this school mean to you?
This community means everything to me. Gig Harbor, Fox Island, that’s where I grew up. This football team, all the guys out here, they all have dreams to go play football and win a championship, and they have that now, and to be able to watch that and be a part of that is pretty cool. Myself, not being out there and playing, but watching a coach and all these players believing in something, and work really hard and following their progress, it’s pretty phenomenal what they’ve done here. This community means everything to me.
Switching gears to UW, your targets have been down a little bit this year. What have you been working on in the bye week to try to get more involved in the offense?
All I’m worrying about is blocking, and when the ball comes to me, it comes to me. I’ve had one drop this year, one opportunity I didn’t make, but besides that, all my opportunities, I’ve made them. I don’t really worry about numbers or anything like that.
The tape never lies. I play hard when I’m out there. When I get targeted, I get targeted. I can’t control that. That’s out of my control. All I want to do is just be the best football player I can be, and just get better every single day. Numbers are irrelevant to me.
You’re projected as an early round pick for the NFL draft. Is that something you focus on during the season?
All I worry about is just winning a championship. Right now, that’s probably not looking right for us to win a championship, but all we can do is definitely win out and work hard and play the rest of our games.
All I care about is being the best football player I can be, and being the best teammate I can be, being the best student and person I can be, and just being there for my community.
Sports Editor Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.