Four Lake Stevens teammates headed to Central Washington
Brady Pahukoa, Jake Nelson, Korey Young and Christian Gasca — who led Lake Stevens to a 12-1 record and trip to the Class 4A state semifinals last fall — will all play football at Central Washington.
Seattle Times staff reporter
LAKE STEVENS — Two signs hung from a bookshelf in the Lake Stevens High School library. One was red with white letters, spelling out CWU. The other was white with a black Central Washington Wildcats logo and four names written in red: Brady, Jake, Korey, Christian.
Four tables were set up, one for each of the Vikings' players — Brady Pahukoa, Jake Nelson, Korey Young and Christian Gasca — who will continue their careers together after signing letters of intent to play at Central Washington.
"It's awesome to go with three other teammates of mine and be able to play college football with them and just continue to be friends," said Nelson, a 6-foot-2 quarterback. "It's a great experience."
All across the country Wednesday, standout athletes made their college selections during ceremonies with friends and family. Some schools had several seniors to honor. Some had a couple going to the same college.
But it's rare to have four friends from one school, who have been playing on the same teams since Little League, decide to play for the same program.
"It's not even a question of being best friends," said Young, a linebacker. "It really is more like a brotherhood, people we can rely on whether it's on or off the field."
Added Pahukoa, "When it comes to sports, when it comes to chemistry, when it comes to us being friends, I'm so comfortable with all of them."
Nelson, Young and Gasca visited the Ellensburg campus at the same time. At the hotel one night, they talked about the possibility of rooming together.
"We've got to figure that out," said Gasca, a receiver. "We don't want to kill each other before we even get to play."
The 2011 season was one to remember for the Vikings. Their preseason motto was "unfinished business," but they never expected it to carry them all the way to the Class 4A state semifinals.
Nelson passed for 2,988 yards and 31 touchdowns, setting school records. He also rushed for 732 yards and 16 touchdowns. Despite the gaudy numbers, Nelson was lightly recruited. However, he is happy with the way things worked out.
"To know that there's a team that really wanted me out there and I've got the chance to, maybe, play right away, I think it's just a good fit," Nelson said.
Gasca was Nelson's prime target, catching 80 passes for 1,308 yards and 19 touchdowns. He broke every school receiving record.
"We were pretty strong components to our season," Gasca said. "It's nice that we get to keep going, just to keep working with each other and never stop playing together."
The Vikings, who finished 12-1, were the surprise of the season.
"It was a wagon we kept on riding," Young said. "Once the wheels got knocked off, now the four of us can continue to do some damage in college."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com