TUMWATER — Longtime Tumwater High School football coach Sid Otton knows a good pass rusher when he sees one.
Speedy, athletic, quick off the ball. A quarterback’s nightmare.
If a coach were to select the optimal defensive end that fits all those qualities, Tumwater’s Nick Foerstel fits that mold.
“People are aware of him,” Otton said. “They have to account for (how) they’re going to give their quarterback time to throw.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Foerstel anchors the Thunderbirds’ fast yet physical front four, which also features fellow senior Korye Trejo and juniors Daniel Dickason and Logan Hedin-Baughn.
Getting after the quarterback will be the key for Tumwater (13-0) during Saturday’s Class 2A state title game against Lynden (13-0) at the Tacoma Dome. Sophomore Sterling Somers took over as the Lions’ starting quarterback in Week 7 after Lucas Petersen broke his wrist in practice.
“I feel like the more pressure we can get on the quarterback,” Foerstel said, “the less our (defensive backs) are going to have to make up that slack. If there’s too many big plays in the game, that’s not on the DBs. We share that.
“Our D-line as a whole has been terrific,” Foerstel said. “There’s no weaknesses. We’re not individuals. We play as one.”
Otton said Foerstel and his in-game motor and energy remind him of Jamie Land, an all-state tackle from Tumwater’s first state championship team in 1987. Land is all over the Thunderbirds’ record board for sacks, holding single-game (five), single-season (10) and career (16) marks.
Foerstel is on the cusp of breaking some of Land’s records.
With a sack on Prosser’s Mason Schutt during last Saturday’s 45-40 state semifinal win in Pasco, Foerstel recorded his ninth sack of the season and tied Land’s career mark of 16. Two sacks Saturday would
give him the single-season record of 11. Foerstel had a team-high seven sacks last year while playing alongside tackle Jaimie Bryant, who went on to the University of Washington.
Foerstel’s versatility has shown, too, in other phases of the game.
Of the Thunderbirds’ school-record 11 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season, Foerstel scored three of them: on a blocked punt, a fumble recovery and a 48-yard interception return. He also ran a fake punt 39 yards to set up an eventual Tumwater touchdown in the first quarter against Prosser.
For Foerstel, the sack records would pale in comparison to a victory Saturday, which would set a school record for wins in a season. That’s priority No. 1, but Foerstel is still focused on Lynden’s front five and its sophomore quarterback.
“We have to get pressure on him (Somers),” Foerstel said.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick