Indoor Football League team’s roster stocked with locals

KENT – For Michael Bush, playing football is like riding a bike.

And after a few years away from the game, the Washington State University product is up and peddling again, this time for the Seattle Timberwolves of the Indoor Football League.

Bush, 32, is part of a reclamation project by new Timberwolves coach Sean Ponder, who took over midway through the season after a reshuffling of team ownership, with Lakewood businessman Tom Dowling purchasing the fledging team.

The squad switched names from the Kent Predators to the Seattle Timberwolves in an effort to regionalize the team. And after a 1-5 start, the Timberwolves are 3-2 under Ponder, who brought with him 11 years of indoor football league experience.

Seattle plays host to the Wenatchee Venom on Friday at the ShoWare center in Kent.

“I think the difference is just coming in with a new structure, a new attitude and the players really buying into 100 percent of what we’re trying to do,” Ponder said.

Bush played both football as a receiver and basketball for the Cougars. After finishing his career in Pullman in 2003, Bush had a cup of coffee with the San Francisco 49ers and played some arena league football before traveling to Europe to play professional basketball.

Bush works with the special education department at Kirkland Junior High.

The Kent native said he recently got the itch to get back on the football field after four years away from the game.

“One of the big reasons I came back is just being around the guys again,” he said. “It’s a close-knit family. It’s nice to be out here and have fun. Even when we weren’t winning games, the fans were still here supporting us.

“And they’re right on top of the game, so the fans feel like they are a part of it.”

Other recognizable names on the Timberwolves’ roster include former WSU defensive back Xavier Hicks and Kevin Jones from Western Washington University.

Indoor football is a faster-paced, higher-scoring version of the outdoor game. The 50-yard football field is surrounded by a padded wall, with fans right next to the action.

Fans are allowed to keep any football that goes into the stands, with teams going through about 40 footballs per game.

“It’s like watching a tennis match go back and forth,” Ponder said. “It’s always full of action. It’s one of those games where once you go to a game, you’re going to come back.

“And it’s just getting them to that one game.”

Bush thinks the nonstop action will attract more fans.

“I think we’ve just got to get out and market,” Bush said. “With the new organization we just got in, the marketing has gotten better. We’re having more fun. We’re upbeat.

“I think it just has to get out there, just like the Sounders when they were a club team.

“It just has to get rolling. And once it gets rolling, people will show up. And when people come, they don’t leave. They’ll come back.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437