A year ago, Allen Revey was a number buried deep on Ferndale's depth chart. An anonymous face on a team rolling to a Class 3A state football title.
This year, Revey is in the spotlight, leading the Lummi Blackhawks (11-1) into Saturday's B-8 championship game against St. John-Endicott at the Tacoma Dome.
Near the end of the school year last spring, friends and family talked Revey into moving back to the Lummi Reservation, northwest of Bellingham. The 5-foot-7, 155-pound senior, a small talent in the big-school ranks, immediately became a big man on campus.
He has rushed for a team-high 827 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per carry, and caught 37 passes for 686 yards. He is also his team's best kickoff and punt returner, and has scored 25 touchdowns.
But more important than a chance to shine in football, said Revey, is the chance to represent the Lummi Nation.
"It helps to know I'm playing for the tribe, not just a school," he said. "It makes me try even harder. It makes me feel like I can't give up, because if I do, I'm letting down the whole community."
Last weekend, he accounted for 251 all-purpose yards in Lummi's semifinal win over Touchet. His fourth-quarter interception ended Touchet's final comeback attempt.
"He plays with a lot of heart," said Lummi coach Jim Sandusky. "He makes mistakes like anyone else, but he's giving 100 percent all the time. The desire in that guy is unequaled. He brings an extra spark to our team. With any team, you're going to have a guy that you want to get the ball to, and for us that guy is Allen."
While Revey wasn't a star for Ferndale last year, he said the experience taught him what it takes to win a title. He has tried to share his experience teammates.
"I try to let the team know what it takes to be state-championship material," he said. "You've got to want it. You've got to be hungry. You need to want to win like it's the last thing on earth."
That Revey and the Blackhawks are one win away from a title is an amazing accomplishment for Sandusky and his program.
Lummi started playing football in 2002, going winless that season. Sandusky, a star receiver at Othello who became a college All-American before starring in the CFL, took over the program the next season. During their first three seasons, the Blackhawks played on a football field in Sandusky's backyard.
Before each season, Sandusky asks his players for their goals. The Blackhawks have set the bar higher each season, and each season they have cleared it. They advanced to the playoffs in 2004 and to the semifinals last year.
"My first year, they hadn't won a game the year before, and I asked them what they wanted to accomplish," said Sandusky. "They said they wanted to win some games, and we did that. The next year, they said they wanted to make the playoffs, and they did that. The next year, which was last season, they said they wanted to go to the [Tacoma] Dome, and we were able to get to the dome. This year they said they wanted to win it all. I'm just trying to show them what they need to do to get there."
Sandusky has shown them the way to the championship game. Now Revey hopes to help write a happy ending for the Blackhawks.
"It's big," said Revey. "Everybody is supporting us, the whole community. We want to take it home for the community. We're all pretty close out here. We're one big family."