The running back for the Fighting Irish had a big season, but he was even bigger in the playoffs as his team won the Class 3A state football story.
It worked out more or less as planned for Jamyn Patu as he stood at midfield of the Tacoma Dome with a state tournament MVP medallion draped from his neck.
He transferred from Rainier Beach to O’Dea as a junior for the education and football state-championship possibilities. Patu, a 6-foot, 195-pound running back, won the Class 3A title this month as a senior — against his former team, which made its first appearance in the title game in school history.
“There was some friendly banter, talking a little trash,” said Patu of the championship game lead-up with former teammates. “I’m happy for everyone; it just wasn’t my fit, and I feel more comfortable at O’Dea.”
A starter in the Fighting Irish’s run-first offensive scheme, Patu shined this year. He rushed for 833 yards during the postseason run, scoring two touchdowns in the title game and rushing for 272 yards against Beach to help win O’Dea’s first title since 1995.
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For his performance, Patu is The Seattle Times state football player of the year.
“He’s special,” longtime O’Dea coach Monte Kohler said after the championship win, his fourth. “He’s a tough, physical kid that makes people miss.”
Patu had a string of six games this season where he rushed for 100 yards or more. He finished with 2,208 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on 247 carries.
The championship game was the highlight. Patu helped the Irish advance last season, losing in overtime to Kamiakin after a possible game-winning field goal was blocked.
From the first snap this year at the Tacoma Dome, the collective focus was noticeable.
“It’s really special being able to get a second opportunity,” Patu said. “Not many high-school players get that opportunity. To be with this group of boys is also very special. We executed to our fullest ability and played at 100 percent.”
Kohler noted Patu’s growth as a leader has also been impressive. Particularly since Patu has only been with the team two seasons and his arrival immediately made Patu the first option offensively.
“At Day 1, he was a quiet, soft-spoken kid,” Kohler said. “He worked hard to learn the process and the system and loves to compete. Now he’s just one of those kids that when he speaks, everyone listens.”
Patu hopes to continue his playing career in college, but hasn’t decided on a school. At the Tacoma Dome, he was just overwhelmed to have had the experiences he’s had in a sport he’s loved since his youth.
“We wanted to make sure we inflicted all the damage,” Patu said. “And we did. This feels great.”
The Seattle Times All-State football team
QB: Canon Racanelli
Hockinson, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Won the Class 2A state crown with title-game record for passes completed (27) and attempted (45). Finished with 4,128 passing yards and 57 touchdowns, both top 10 in state history.
WR: Sawyer Racanelli
Hockinson, 6-3, 195, So.
The Class 2A state champion finished fourth all-time in Washington for most touchdowns in a single season at 27. Also had 79 catches for 1,766 yards for the Hawks.
WR: Tre’Shaun Harrison
Garfield, 6-2, 190, Sr.
All-Metro League Mountain Division pick had a big postseason and finished with 55 catches for 1,102 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also a standout on defense and special teams.
RB: Isaiah Ifanse
Bellevue, 6-2, 190, Sr.
The Kingco 3A offensive MVP finished with 2,485 rushing yards on 259 carries to help the Wolverines reach the state tournament semifinals. Scored 44 touchdowns.
RB: Jamyn Patu
O’Dea, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Totaled 2,208 yards and 28 touchdowns on 247 carries to lead the Fighting Irish to the Class 3A state championship. Rushed for 272 yards and two touchdowns in the title game.
TE: Devin Culp
Gonzaga Prep, 6-5, 250, Sr.
The University of Washington commit was named to the Greater Spokane League first team as he helped lead the Bullpups to the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
OL: Matthew Cindric
Skyline, 6-4, 250, Sr.
The California commit was named the Kingco 4A Lineman of the Year as he helped the Spartans advance to the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
OL: Cade Beresford
Woodinville, 6-7, 250, Sr.
The Washington State commit was named All-Kingco 4A first team as he helped the Falcons finish as Class 4A state runners-up.
OL: Nathaniel Kalepo
Rainier Beach, 6-5, 290, Jr.
The Washington commit was a Metro League Mountain Division first-team pick who helped the Vikings reach the Class 3A state title game for the first time in school history.
OL: Griffin Korican
O’Dea, 6-5, 295, Sr.
The Colorado School of Mines commit was named Offensive Lineman of the Year for the Metro League’s Mountain Division and won a Class 3A state championship.
OL: Triston Kelley
Central Valley, 6-4, 320, Sr.
The Greater Spokane League 4A first-team pick helped the Bears go undefeated in league play for the first time since 1995. CV advanced to the state semifinals.
K: Brock Widmann
Lake Stevens, 6-3, 160, Jr.
One of the state’s most consistent kickers made 69 of the team’s 71 PATs and all four of his attempted field goals, the longest being 32 yards.
DL: Jake Baillie
Woodinville, 6-0, 220, Sr.
Had a team-leading 15 sacks and was named Kingco 4A Defensive MVP as the Falcons finished second in state.
DL: Matt Sevao
Lake Stevens, 6-3, 200, Sr.
Set a program record with 17 sacks and 118 total tackles to help the Vikings clinch a seventh straight Wesco 4A league title. Named to the all-league first team on defense.
DL: Davion Dixon
O’Dea, 6-2, 3-5, Sr.
Named the Metro League Mountain Division’s Defensive Lineman of the Year as he helped O’Dea win its first Class 3A state championship since 1995. Had 55 tackles.
DL: Wyatt Wickham
Central Valley, 6-3, 270, Jr.
The Greater Spokane League 4A first-team pick led a formidable defensive line that helped the Bears go undefeated in league play and advance to the state tournament semifinals.
LB: Ricky Baker
Monroe, 5-11, 202, Sr.
The Wesco 4A first-team pick had 93 solo tackles with seven sacks en route to the Bearcats’ first state tournament quarterfinal in school history.
LB: Sav’ell Smalls
Garfield, 6-4, 235, So.
The Metro League Mountain Division’s Co-Defensive MVP had 90 tackles with nine sacks to help the Bulldogs reach the program’s first Class 3A state semifinal since 1977.
LB: Ben Wilson
Sumner, 6-2, 215, Sr.
Texas Christian commit and SPSL 4A defensive MVP had 141 tackles in leading team to the Class 4A state semifinals. The two-way player also had 1,259 rushing yards and 20 TDs.
DB: Adam Weissenfels
Richland, 5-9, 175, Sr.
The Mid-Columbia Conference Defensive MVP had a state championship game-tying three interceptions to help seal the Class 4A title. Also had a league-leading 412 receiving yards.
DB: Nash Fouch
Woodinville, 6-3, 195, Sr.
An All-Kingco 4A pick at safety was a key player on both sides of the ball. Had 60 catches for 774 yards and 11 TDs. On defense, the Montana commit had four interceptions.
DB: Kyler Gordon
Archbishop Murphy, 5-11, 180, Sr.
The four-star recruit helped the Wildcats to the Class 2A state semifinals. He had five interceptions and caught 32 passes for 841 yards and 10 touchdowns.
DB: Talan Alfrey
Auburn Mountainview, 6-2, 195, Sr.
The BYU commit finished with 1,081 receiving yards on 68 catches with 12 TDs. He was NPSL Olympic Division Defensive Player of the Year with two interceptions and 54 tackles.
P: Lance D’Alessio
Lake Washington, 6-1, 158, Sr.
The Kingco 3A first-team pick averaged 38.6 yards per punt, the longest being 54 yards. Also averaged 54.2 yards on kickoffs and made 28 PATs.