"Samoan Surprise" ready to step up
Junior defensive tackle Freddie Koloto key to both offense and defense
Posted Fri Oct. 7, 13:34:56 PDT 2005
By Robert Tian of the Campanile
It's fourth-and-one on the Palo Alto High School one-yard line, with Paly leading by four points. There are only two seconds left in the game and Freddie Koloto lines up opposite of the opposing team's center and guard. The ball is hiked and the play is a run, but Koloto pushes aside the double-team and levels the running back with his 6'4", 270-pound frame, saving a touchdown.
This is the situation that junior Freddie Koloto, Paly's defensive tackle and left guard dreams of. He wants to be the person that the team can count on to come through during the most critical times."I'm still working on making that perfect ending," Koloto said. "But I think I'm getting there."
Koloto first started playing organized football during his freshman year at Paly. Since then, he has quickly advanced and joined the top players on the Varsity football team.
The next step for Koloto is becoming the dominant player the team needs him to be and the player he knows he can be.
"We need Freddie to be that player where opposing teams need to double-team him when he's on defense," coach Steve Foug said. "We also need him to be the person who we can run behind when we need those critical three yards."
Koloto appears to be more than on his way after his performance against Gunn High School. Gunn routinely double-teamed Koloto, but to no avail. Koloto was frequently in the backfield, disrupting plays and preventing Gunn from getting in an offensive rhythm.
"Freddie has the potential to be a dominant player at this level," Foug said. "He's definitely getting there by working hard and listening to coaches."
In the offseason, Koloto spends two hours in the weight room after school. On weekends, he gets to together with fellow linemen and works on technique. In the past year, Koloto has added 100 pounds to his bench press.
Koloto hopes all of this hard work will pay off and earn him an athletic scholarship to a Division I school. Koloto has already received letters from Notre Dame, UCLA and San Jose State University notifying him that they will be sending scouts to watch him play.According to Foug, Koloto will make a good impression.
"Freddie has great height and reach with his arms, which makes him appealing to scouts," Foug said.
In addition, Koloto is a selfless teammate who will do whatever the coaches want. During games, Koloto is always intense, which helps his teammates get fired up.
"Normally, Freddie's a pretty quiet guy," junior quarterback Nick Goodspeed said. "But when games come around, he's really pumped up. Sometimes he's so pumped up that he starts speaking Samoan." Koloto was born in the United States, but he was raised in American Samoa. Football has become one of the most popular sports on the Samoan islands and Koloto prioritizes football as one of the most important responsbilities in his life, after family and school. Koloto plays on both sides of the ball, which means that he stays on the field for most of the game. However, Koloto does not mind, and says that sacking a quarterback or pancaking a defender is the same to him. In fact, Koloto has given opposing quarterbacks concussions many times throughout his high school career.
"There is no doubt in my mind that if Freddie continues to work as he has so far, he can become one of the best linemen that has ever come through this school," Head Coach Earl Hanson said. "And we've had some pretty good linemen come through here."
This story originally appeared in The Campanile on October 10, 2005.