The Cougars' senior gave football another chance, and now leads a team trying to repeat as state champion in Class 1A.
Joshua Shreffler decided to give football a second chance.
And now he’s one of the big reasons Cascade Christian High School has a chance at a second straight Class 1A state championship.
The fifth-ranked Cougars from Puyallup (10-2) play No. 3 Connell (12-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome in a rematch of the 2009 and 2010 title games. Cascade Christian won last year after finishing second in 2009 and 2008 (when it lost to Cashmere).
Shreffler, who lives in Federal Way, started playing junior football when he was 10, but gave it up a few years later.
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“I didn’t have the joy for it,” he said.
Baseball was his main sport, but when he enrolled at Cascade Christian as a freshman, Shreffler gave football another try.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I love the program here.”
Shreffler worked his way into the starting lineup at tight end and linebacker as a junior and was voted the defensive MVP in the Cascade Conference. And this season he was named the league’s overall MVP.
“He’s really come on for us the past two years,” coach Randy Davis said. “He’s such a force on both sides of the ball.”
Shreffler (6 feet 2, 190 pounds) leads the team in receiving yards (833 on 30 catches, with 13 TDs) and tackles (142).
He is one of just four returning starters from last year’s team. The Cougars started a little slowly at 4-2 and Shreffler said that second loss, 20-14 to Cedar Park Christian of Bothell, was a turning point.
“We hated that feeling and we said, ‘We don’t want to feel this way again,’ ” he said.
Shreffler, who hopes to play football in college, said the team’s goals have changed as the season progressed.
“Early in the season, our goal was to just play as long as we possibly can together,” he said. “Now we want to win it again. We want to keep what’s ours. We’re the defending champions. They’re going to have to try to take it from us.”