Editor’s note: Each week throughout the Class 2A state football playoffs, Steilacoom High School’s star wide receiver Emeka Egbuka will write a player diary for Scorebook Live. Egbuka is the nation’s top-rated “athlete” recruit nationally for the Class of 2021, according to 247sports.com, and currently holds more than 30 BCS offers — with Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, USC and Washington on his top-10 list.
In terms of it hitting me that we are going to play for a state title, I don’t think I fully realized it until Monday when we were having our meeting going over our game plan for Tumwater. That is when it sunk in that this group has done something special. It is a great feeling.
We had a lot of special energy in the film room. You could tell we were just happy to get to spend another week with each other – and get to celebrate the moment. It was a super light day; we did not practice. We had a mental day just looking at the film. It was good to get two full days of rest after the Saturday game (semifinal win over Lynden) so we could come out in helmets and pads Tuesday.
As far as who we are facing for the title – Tumwater is the first rival I can remember being young starting football.
We played against them in the TCY (Thurston County Youth) league, and most years they have always gotten the best of us. We lost to them for the fifth grade championship. We lost to them for the eighth grade championship. I took two ‘Ls’ (losses) to them in my freshman year at Steilacoom. So it is a game that a lot of us have experience playing in, and one we want to win this time around, for sure.
They are a great team, especially up front, every year. We have to play disciplined, play aggressive. To match their physicality, you have to give the same energy back. You cannot be afraid of contact. You have to take them head on. If you can do that, and force them to throw on late downs, you can stop them.
My cheering section of family for the state championship will be the same people. My dad is the only one who lives here from his side of the family. And on my mom’s side, the whole extended family will be there except a few of my cousins, who are in college. I know they will be tuning into the game on television.
Yeah, it is pretty cool we are going to be on TV. It is great to know we have that memory, as long as we want it. I know there will be a lot of people watching us and supporting us.
I told you a few weeks ago if we made it this far, my best friend Sloan (Crawford) would come up from Idaho. I Face-Timed him right after the semifinal game and told him the news, and I know he is excited. He will drive down Thursday so me, him and my other best friend, Sawyer Dagan, can hang out Friday. We are like a trio, so it will be nice to be here reunited.
This is it! Playing for the state title has been my dream ever since I started playing football, and I could not ask for a better opponent. It is like a rivalry game. I am excited to lay it all out there on Saturday.