Thursday, November 27, 2014

Countdown to Spirit Football: Linebackers

Countdown to Spirit Football: Linebackers

By Graeme Wong
Spirit News
June 25, 2072

Known as the playcallers of the defense, Leafa College's linebackers have had a reputation for being the most consistent players in Gridiron NSW. Playing in the NCAA Division I FBS will pose a unique, if more difficult, challenge, but linebackers coach Darren Jetta, a great-grandson of former Sydney Swans great Lewis Jetta, believes that there is no mountain too high for his group of players.

"As an athlete, you need to be up for a challenge and go with an intention to conquer it," Jetta said during camp at Houraisan Centre, which saw the players practice in pads and helmets for the first time. "The linebackers we have are a strong group of players and they are men built to take their lumps and dish it back to our opponents. We'll come into this year fearless and confident to get some good results."

The left outside linebackers are Nick Mikisugi and Leo Tatsumi. A native of Morwell, VIC, Nick Mikisugi is a run-stopping expert. Standing at 6'4, 237 lbs, Mikisugi is the grandson of Aikurou Mikisugi and is known for wearing his old man's shades everywhere he goes, giving him the slightly-pejorative nickname of "Thrill La Thrill" or "TLT" for short. Tatsumi comes from the country music capital of Australia, Tamworth, NSW. At 6'1", 229 lbs, Tatsumi is the son of Kanji Tatsumi and Naoto Shirogane.

Blake Tsunetsugu, Wes Narukami and Roy Hanamura are the middle linebackers. Tsunetsugu is 6'1", 247 lbs, is a native of Traralgon, VIC and is the son of martial arts master Jyuzumaru Tsunetsugu, Blake is the only member on the gridiron team to hold a black belt in karate. Narukami is the son of Yuu Narukami and plans to major in hotel administration. He is 6'3", 210 lbs and is a native of Geraldton, NSW. Hanamura is 6'2", 240 lbs and is from Orange, NSW. The son of Yousuke Hanamura and Rise Kujikawa, Hanamura plans to major in agricultural sciences.

The right outside linebackers are David Hazuki, Graham Ryugazaki, and Mark Matsuoka. Hazuki is 6'2", 224 lbs from Bowral, NSW and is the son of Nagisa Hazuki. Ryugazaki, a 6'3", 214 lb native of Mittagong, NSW, is the son of Rei Ryugazaki and is a sociology major. The son of Rin Matsuoka, Mark is 6'2", 250 lbs, born and raised in Dubbo, NSW and is a criminal justice major. Matsuoka plans to enter the police force if a career in the pros is not in the cards.