Sumner High School senior football player Austin Striplin competed against some of the best players he’s ever seen last month.
Striplin, who is of Samoan descent, was selected to play in the fourth annual Polynesian All-American Bowl on Jan. 18 in Tustin, Calif.
“It was a real honor to play in the game,” he said. “I was one of the only players from Washington to be there.”
Striplin said there were players from all over the country, from as far away as Florida and Pennsylvania.
“There was some crazy good skilled players out there,” he said. “It didn’t even seem like a high school game, it seemed like a college game. Everything was so fast. It was incredible.”
Striplin said he played in about 10 plays per quarter at linebacker. His coach was former Washington State quarterback Jack Thompson, whose nickname is the Throwin’ Samoan.
“It was incredible to hear his story and hear where he came from,” Striplin said.
Striplin started at linebacker and offensive tackle for Sumner for the past three seasons. He plans to play football next year for coach Scott Westering at Pacific Lutheran University.
“He is a really legit guy,” Striplin said. “My family and I just liked what he said. He isn’t only looking at the football aspect, he is the kind of guy who will be there for his players for the rest of their lives and care about their future. That really meant a lot to me and my family.
“I’m just really happy I made it to college,” he added. “It’s incredible. It’s awesome to hear my parents say they are really proud of me.”
Striplin likely will play center at PLU.
“I have never played the center position before, but I will learn it really fast,” he said. “I’m really excited.”