For as long as he plays, coaches or just watches football, Lummi’s Raven Borsey says he’ll never forget the day he realized how much fun he could have learning about the game he loves so much.
“I was in the fourth grade and our coach, Jim Sandusky, came over to help with our youth football team for a day,” said Raven, who is half of a twin tandem unique in Lummi sports history along with fellow senior standout Free Borsey. “I learned more in one day than I had ever known about football. I couldn’t believe I could learn that much in one day of practice. That’s when I knew I had to play for coach Sandusky.”
Free can tell the same story, except “I actually wanted to be a Blackhawk since third grade,” he recalls.
They’re not only two of the most productive and versatile players during Sandusky’s 13-year streak of qualifying for the Class 1B state playoffs, but also two of the most effective leaders.
The Blackhawks (11-0) will face longtime rival Neah Bay (9-1, including a nonleague loss to Lummi) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the state semifinals at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“When you’re talking about the Borseys, you’re talking about two quality young men,” Sandusky said. “I’m really pleased we have them, even when you’re not talking about football.”
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound speedsters were half of a relay team that set a Class 1B 400-meter state record last track season. Their grade-point averages, in the mid-B range, will help them pursue their dream of playing college football.
When you’re talking about the Borseys, you’re talking about two quality young men.
Lummi football coach Jim Sandusky
Sandusky feels they have a good shot, and the 56-year-old coach should know. He starred at Walla Walla Community College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and San Diego State. He recalls fond memories of leading the NCAA in receiving yardage at both universities and of winning the Grey Cup twice during a standout 12-year career in the Canadian Football League.
Because Lummi was unable to play two games due to unforeseen circumstances, the Borseys did not suit up for a game for three frustrating weeks until they unleashed their usual explosiveness in two elimination games – a 61-6 blowout over Quilcene in the quad-district playoffs and a 56-16 win over Naselle in the state quarterfinals Friday.
Because both games were lopsided, the Borseys didn’t touch the ball as often as they would have liked. Raven played running back and Free performed primarily at wide receiver but also at quarterback. And that’s not even considering Free’s stifling defense at linebacker and Raven’s superb performances in the defensive backfield.
“They’re so good on defense; that’s where I see them in college,” Sandusky said of the twins. Indeed, Free’s favorite high school spot is linebacker and Raven’s is cornerback, even though they have played pretty much every spot in the eight-man game at one time or another.
529 Combined all-purpose yards compiled by Free and Raven Borsey in the Nov. 18 Class 1B state quarterfinal win over Naselle.
They combined to touch the ball 40 times in the two playoff wins on rushes, passes, receptions and both special teams and defensive returns. They amassed 649 total yards, or an average of 16.2 yards per touch, and were responsible for 10 touchdowns – eight by Raven, scored five different ways – and four two-point conversions.
“Those numbers don’t surprise me,” said Sandusky, who spent his Thanksgiving week figuring out how the Blackhawks can use the twins and several of their teammates more often. Their senior buddy Trazil Lane, who is the team’s leading receiver, may be out with a potentially serious arm injury.
The twins said they talked Lane into coming out for football last year after he led the Blackhawks to their first state basketball title as a sophomore, and he, in turn, talked them into playing basketball last season.
If Lane can’t play against Neah Bay, not only will the Borseys be counted on to provide even more offense, but also more leadership.
“The Borseys are definitely our team leaders. Everybody looks up to them,” longtime assistant coach Dean Pederson said.
Assistant coach Kevin Villars said working with the twins has been a privilege.
“I came to Lummi at the same time when the twins joined the varsity in eighth grade,” Villars said. “I’ve been impressed by how they’re both best friends and worst enemies, in the sense that they always demand excellence from each other.”