Seattle Times staff reporter
John Kanongata'a couldn't take standing on the sideline. After suffering a high-ankle sprain in a September game at Katy, Texas, and tweaking it again against Grant of Sacramento, he spent the following week on the sideline among the Wolverines' walking wounded.
"You're just looking at your teammates working so hard and you just feel left out and not useful," the 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker said.
The Wolverines' senior leader feels he's finally 100 percent again, heading into Friday night's home game against Juanita.
"He's important to our team, period," Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. "He's one of the kids that's truly a leader. He's one of the guys who is respected by everyone out here. He's a tough kid."
At the end of last season, Goncharoff said Kanongata'a was playing as well as anyone on the team. In Bellevue's second game this season, he was all over the field against Katy before the injury.
"Everyone looks up to John," offensive lineman Marcus Henry said. "He's our biggest hitter, a team leader on defense."
Kanongata'a is considered the heart and soul of Bellevue's defense, but while he was limited by the injury, his twin brother David stepped up and became the Wolverines' leader in tackles. Now that John is healthy again, he is determined to make the most of what's left of his senior season.
"It's good to have him back, because we're young in some spots and he does make plays," Goncharoff said. "He's a little undersized, but he's a heck of a football player."