Prep Football | Fogersons are O'Dea home team
Special to The Seattle Times
Monique Avery, a Seattle police officer, has worked security at O'Dea home games the past three seasons, but her contribution to Irish football goes far beyond keeping things orderly along the sideline.
Her two sons, senior Johri Fogerson and sophomore Zach, have combined for more than 1,500 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns for the fourth-ranked Irish.
Many of O'Dea's plays can be diagrammed something like this: Zach blocks, Johri scores and Mom cheers.
To these three, touchdowns and gaudy rushing totals aren't as important as family.
"They're really good friends, and their mom has a lot to do with that. It's really neat to see," said O'Dea coach Monte Kohler. "They complement each other really well."
The kids credit their success to mom. As a single parent, Avery nurtured her sons into becoming star athletes. Even when work forced her to miss Little League games on weekends, her boys never complained.
She'd try to catch the end of their games after her shift. In uniform, of course.
"We're lucky to have a mom like her," said Johri, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound senior. "She got us where we are."
One look at Avery's lean build and broad shoulders gives a hint where the boys got their athletic ability.
"I can still hold my own with my sons," said Avery, 39, with a laugh.
When Avery was 8, she practiced on a boys football team in the Tri-Cities. As an eighth-grade track athlete, she ran times that would have qualified her for the high-school state championships. Stress fractures in both feet kept her from fulfilling her potential.
The family ties to athletes don't end with Avery. The Fogersons are cousins with former Rainier Beach standout Nate Robinson and nephews of ex-Huskies running back Ron "Cookie" Jackson.
"It's a family of great athletes," said Johri, who also plays basketball for the Irish. "We just happened to have some of those genetics rub off on us."
This is the first season Zach and Johri have played on the same team since peewee football. But while their bench press and 40-yard times are improved, their relationship is unchanged.
"On the field, he's still my older brother, but he's more like a mentor — always telling me to hit the hole harder or get lower," said Zach, a 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore. "Off the field, we're always joking around."
Zach may be the younger brother, but he's certainly not the little brother. The 15-year-old fullback has shed his baby fat for bulk, and already outweighs Johri by three pounds.
"He's protecting me now," Johri said.
A season-ending injury to senior Sam Schultz-Rumsey in the opener shoved Zach into the starting role. The sophomore didn't have much time to mentally prepare.
The first running play for Zach was "64 Belly," which also describes the butterflies in the sophomore's midsection.
"My stomach was like 'uh-oh,' " he said.
On Zach's second carry, he scored.
Johri, though, leads the way. The senior is one of the top college prospects in the area and is being recruited by several Pac-10 schools. He even received a phone call from top-ranked Ohio State this month.
Johri still has five official visits to colleges and says he'll make a decision in the winter.
"Oh, boy, that's an emotional gambit," said Avery of the recruitment process. "But my sons have made it very easy for me, as a single parent."
The Fogersons certainly haven't made things easy for opposing defenses. And with a bevy of talented teammates, the Irish have nothing but the highest goals.
"We want to be the best team to ever come through O'Dea," Zach Fogerson said.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company