Seattle Times staff reporter
Cameron Elisara and Desmond Trufant grew up in households where rooting for the Cougars in the Apple Cup was just part of the deal.
Now, each is on the other side, members of the starting Washington defense that will take on the Cougars at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
And each has a chance to do something their famous Cougars relative never did — win an Apple Cup.
Elisara's father Matt was an all-conference defensive lineman at WSU as a senior, lettering from 1979-81 during a time when the Cougars lost eight straight to Washington. Trufant's brother Marcus played cornerback at WSU from 1999-2002 during a time when the Huskies won six in a row, several as the underdog.
"I did notice that, that he never won," said Desmond Trufant, a freshman. "So I'll try to get a win for my family for the first time."
Elisara, a junior, has played in the past two Apple Cups, each UW losses.
"It's pretty rough, going back to Spokane, hearing it from all my friends," said Elisara, who attended Ferris High in Spokane.
Elisara has missed the past 3 ½ games due to a stinger, but expects to be back in the lineup. He made it through practice again on Wednesday and could resume his starting role at defensive tackle. He says he's glad he's able to make it back for the Apple Cup.
"It does have a special meaning," he said. "I've got a lot of family ties, a lot of friends that go to Wazzu."
For a long time, Elisara figured he'd go there, as well. But he said the staff of coach Bill Doba didn't recruit him as avidly as the Huskies, and by that point, he had begun to think of branching out.
"They didn't recruit me real hard, no," he said. "I think it was maybe mutual disinterest, possibly. I don't really remember that well now. But I've got no bitterness toward them."
His parents, WSU grads, wear purple and gold to all the games, having also changed sides, at least as long as their son is a Husky.
Trufant's family also made the switch after he turned down the Cougars (and schools such as Arizona State) to stay close to home.
"My dad got a purple Camaro," Trufant said. "So he kind of switched over when I came here."
The family will be at the game Saturday, though Marcus will be traveling with the Seahawks to St. Louis.
But if his brother has a chance to follow the game, Desmond figures he'll be rooting for the Huskies.
"He'd better," Desmond Trufant. "He's got his blood out there."