And it’s cool-looking, especially the way JK Kaminanga pulls it off. Wherever Kaminanga runs, whoever he blocks, that bushel of hair sticks out from the bottom of his Timberline High football helmet, flowing behind as he moves.
Coach Nick Mullen doesn’t mind Kaminanga’s look one bit – not that it would matter if he did.
“He won’t cut it,” Mullen said. “Wants to be like Samson.”
Now, with a year of wrestling under his belt, Kaminanga is stronger, more agile and more closely resembles that Biblical strongman.
The Blazers will need the contributions of Kaminanga this season playing in the new Olympic Western League if they are to get one of the league’s four playoff spots.
Mullen monitors his players’ offseason activities – and future eligibility – through a points system. Players can earn points by participating in a set workout program, or they can play other sports.
In Kaminanga’s case, the coaching staff left the decision up to him, but strongly suggested he go out for wrestling and track and field.
“He said he’d do that, because he wanted to get better athletically,” Mullen said.
Not before Kaminanga researched the idea.
“I looked up a few professional linemen,” he said. “And their backgrounds were in wrestling.”
What Kaminanga learned immediately in wrestling, being a smaller participant in the 285-pound class (he was 5-foot-8, 230 pounds) required that he have the superior footwork on the mat.