Every time Bothell High’s Trent Suckut walks into Pop Keeney Stadium, he continues adding to a new chapter in his family’s history book. That’s because the senior right tackle and defensive lineman is the great-great grandson of Pop Keeney.
Harold “Pop” Keeney, the son of one of Bothell’s founding families, graduated in 1920 from the Bothell School and became the high school program’s first football coach a year later.
Suckut, who stands 6-feet-tall and weighs 217 pounds, has unleashed his maximum effort to help the Cougars notch the 4A KingCo Crown Division title this season.
“We’ve got a lot of returning guys, so it’s been good up front on both sides. Overall, we’ve done well, learning the scheme, doing everything to our fullest potential as a whole unit. Overall, our coaches are putting us in the correct positions to succeed,” he said after a recent practice.
While attending Bothell games as a youngster, Suckut dreamt of becoming a starter for the Cougars one day. He’s nearly got three varsity seasons under his belt and said he and the Cougars are always prepared to compete against their tough opponents each week.
Senior Elijah Vaotogo also attended Bothell games under the lights as a kid and was thrilled to finally get his turn to jump aboard the Blue Train when he hit the high school scene.
“I feel great, honestly, when I’m out there on the field when the lights are on and our whole community is there. It’s just an amazing experience you can’t get anywhere else,” said the 6-foot, 282-pound left guard and defensive tackle.
Vaotogo sustained an injury as a sophomore and has rebounded to shine on varsity the last two years.
“Final year, it’s just been great so far,” he said. “We’ve been playing all these good teams that have just put us in a better position to work together as a unit and look towards our goal of winning a KingCo championship.”
The Reporter asked Suckut and Vaotogo a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Suckut: Give your full effort. Always do everything to your best ability. If you’re doing it, why not give it your full effort if you’re there in the first place?
Vaotogo: Play every snap like it’s your last, ‘cause you honestly don’t know. With what I’ve been through is actually true to me, so I take every rep seriously.
What special skill would you like to learn?
Suckut: The unicycle. I tried it once or twice and it was really tough, so maybe try that again.
Vaotogo: How to play the ukulele. I grew up with family from Hawaii and they always have played it and I just can never do it. So I wanna try to learn how to do that.
What super power would you like to have?
Suckut: Super strength because, you know, always in the trenches, gotta be strong and brace yourself in there.
Vaotogo: Super speed so I can finally be a wide receiver.
Do you have a personal motto that drives you each day?
Suckut: Do it for others, not yourself.
Vaotogo: Just believe in yourself. It all starts with you and what you bring to the team, your effort and your mood.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
Suckut: Hawaii. I’ve never been there, always wanted to go.
Vaotogo: Alaska, because that’s where most of my relatives live. So just to go down there and see them would be great.