Lakewood big man Dylan Donohue’s healthier nose is bad news for opponents
Donohue had surgery to repair a deviated septum in his nose, and the experienced lineman is expected to breathe new life into the Cougars.
Special to The Seattle Times
After having surgery in mid-July to repair a deviated septum in his nose, Dylan Donohue is definitely breathing easier now.
For opponents of Lakewood’s first-team All-Cascade Conference offensive and defensive lineman, it probably means just the opposite.
Meaning, lots of huffing and puffing to slow Donohue down.
Known for his relentless play, the 6-foot-1, 270-pound Donohue’s increased stamina should show in 2013 as the Cougars attempt to regain the Cascade title they won in 2011. King’s, which lost 19 seniors to graduation, wrested away the crown in 2012.
Donohue, who has been getting NCAA Division-I looks from Wyoming, Eastern Washington and Boise State, could make all the difference this year. Since his surgery, he feels like a new man.
“It was so hard to breathe before,” he said. “It’s pretty terrible, because on the football team before, I was just dying. My stamina is way up higher this year.
“I had to take two weeks off after the surgery just sitting at home. Then, I spent the last two weeks before practice started (on Aug. 21) in the weight room. I just feel better.”
In a league that graduated large doses of skill players, Lakewood holds an edge on defense with senior Donohue leading the way. The Cougars’ defense returns six of its starting front seven from a team that went 9-2 last year and lost to Capital (Olympia) 47-36 in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Donohue, whose maximum bench press is 375 pounds, will be a left guard on offense this year and can line up at defensive end or nose guard on defense. His versatility is good news for Lakewood, which has a squad of unproven players, especially in skill positions.
“I think we will be in contention for the league title, because we’re in the same position as King’s and Archbishop Murphy, having lost a lot of guys,” said Lakewood coach Dan Teeter. “We have a number of guys who are unproven on Friday nights, but who have done well in drills, are talented and just haven’t had their chance yet.”
The bad news is 22 seniors graduated from last year’s squad, including quarterback/receiver Justin Peterson, quarterback Kolby Schueller, running back Donovan Evans and wide receiver Brandon Stott.
Evans set single-game school records of 332 yards and six touchdowns last season and rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career. Peterson, who is playing at Central Washington University, set a school mark with 27 TDs in a season and 66 TDs in his career.
With all that departed talent, the leadership begins with Donohue, a veteran of three varsity seasons.
“He’s the No. 1 guy for us,” Teeter said. “He’s a fiery kid, and a competitor all the way. Had he had the surgery earlier, he might’ve already had a (college) offer. We’re really excited to see how he goes after his surgery.”
Donohue, named all-state second-team in Class 2A as defensive lineman in 2012, got used to breathing through his mouth with his longtime septum issue. Now, he’s got clearer passage.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “My nose was crooked to the left and they had to shave some of it off to open up the passageway.”
Lakewood’s hopes for a playoff run center on Donohue’s improved health and a wealth of defensive talent.
“We’re not the biggest, but pound-for-pound, we’re pretty strong and most teams are surprised how fast we are,” Donohue said. “I feel our defense is our strength this year.”
Donohue might not be the fastest in the 40-yard dash — around 5.3 seconds — but he says he makes up for lack of foot speed with a quick reaction time at the line.
Plus, Donohue has the support of returning lineman Jeff Harrison and linebackers Eric Murray, Jacob Vanwinkle, Curtis Patton and Bryce Stanton.
With those proven players back, the Cougars can breathe a sigh of relief.