As the Lindbergh football team completed a 4-6 season in 2007, Dawson Asuega was a world away. Well, not an entire world, just about 5,200 miles away in Samoa.
Now back in Renton, Asuega’s journey is still in motion. He started on Lindbergh’s team two years ago, his sophomore year. After an outstanding season, he made the Seamount all-league second team on defense.
After that year he moved to Samoa to live with his grandparents his junior year. This year, he’s back and making Lindbergh opponents feel it on the field.
Asuega was born in Samoa, spent nearly half his live there, and all of his life moving back and forth trying to please his family.
“I’m not the type of person to say ‘no’,” Asuega said. “So I go to Samoa for the summer and my grandparents tell me to stay, so I say ‘yeah.’ Then my parents want me to come back so I say ‘yeah.’”
Asuega said he’s basically like a son to his grandparents since he has spent so much time with them growing up.
While in Samoa, Asuega played for the Samoana High Sharks. The team went 5-5-1 and got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs 8-0.
Coming back to Lindbergh this year was reinvigorating for Asuega. “I was excited to see old friends and see how the football team is doing,” he said.
His last season here, Lindbergh went 2-5 in league play and placed sixth in the Seamount. This season the Eagles are 3-1 overall, 3-0 in league play, and tied for first in the Seamount. Asuega’s reaction to the Eagles this year was a smile and a simple comment: “We got better.”
With the 5-10, 215-pound Asuega at middle linebacker, the Eagles are holding opponents to under 15 points a game, through the first four games. The group has been in on a number of game-changing plays this season. Against Kirkland’s Juanita, the Eagle defense forced a safety and shut the Rebels out of the end zone when they had a second and goal from Lindbergh’s three-yard line.
The Eagle defense also held Highline and Foster to a combined nine points in the first two games of the season.
“I play football because it’s the only thing I know how to do,” Asuega said. He hopes to get a scholarship to play next season, but one thing hurting his chances is the fact that recruiters didn’t get to see him play last season. While he’s a strong player, the challenge will be to get on a college’s radar in his senior year.
Colleges have sent Asuega letters asking him to come to camps, but he hasn’t had any offers yet. One thing Asuega said knows he needs to improve on is reading the offensive plays sooner.
“I just wish I could get better at reading the plays,” he said.
Something Asuega has working for him is toughness. He injured his lower right leg during the Juanita game on Sept. 25 and had to leave the field. But he went back into the game later, then was on crutches the next day. He said he doesn’t expect it to keep him out of the lineup moving forward.
Asuega said he looks up to Rey Maualuga, a linebacker at the University of Southern California. Most scouts see Maualuga as a first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft and one of the top overall prospects at the linebacker position.
Asuega admires Maualuga’s style of play and talent level.
If Asuega can find a school to give him a chance next year, he could be a pleasant surprise for a coach. As for this year, he’s just doing his part to make sure the Eagles go as far as they can.