Signal Callers Look Forward To Pullman
Nov. 16, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -- Carl Bonnell sat in the front row, clad incrimson and gray, screaming himself hoarse at the opponent inpurple and gold.
This was Martin Stadium in 2002, when Bonnell was a freshmanwith a promising future as a quarterback for Washington State.
Four years later, Bonnell will be back in Martin Stadium onSaturday, this time in Washington purple, about to take the bruntof disdain from the Cougar faithful.
'There's a lot of extra motivation. You know the players there,you know the atmosphere, you've been in the front row of MartinStadium watching the Apple Cup,' said Bonnell, who attended WSUonly briefly before transferring to Washington. 'Just having theopportunity to go out there and finish the season off on the rightfoot is just a huge opportunity.'
Despite a thigh bruise, sprained shoulder and sore neck, Bonnellis expected to start at quarterback when the Huskies travel toPullman. It won't be Bonnell's first time back in Martin Stadium:He was in a Huskies uniform and on the sidelines in 2004 whenWashington State won 28-25.
That trip, the only person to give Bonnell a hard time was hisbrother, Ray, a former walk-on at Washington State.
This time promises to be a new experience.
'It'll be a different feeling,' Bonnell said of being in themiddle of the field before Cougars fans. 'I'll probably get awayfrom some of the screaming from the fans. I'm expecting a littlebit of ribbing.'
Felix Sweetman would love any ribbing.
The fifth-year, walk-on senior is in line to be Washington'sbackup on Saturday, and if history is a guide, he might well findhimself on the field.
In three of his four starts, Bonnell has suffered some type ofinjury, the latest a thigh bruise suffered in the first quarter oflast Saturday's loss to Stanford. The usual backup, JohnnyDuRocher, took over, but suffered a concussion. His availabilityagainst Washington State is uncertain.
When DuRocher was knocked out, Sweetman was a matter of secondsfrom taking the field. Sweetman was given a play number and wasabout to call the formation when Bonnell limped back onto thefield.
'I was pretty excited and a little disappointed. It was verymixed emotions,' Sweetman said. 'I've wanted to play for theHuskies my entire life.'
Sweetman bypassed the chance to have his schooling paid for andperhaps be a starter at Division II Central Washington. Instead, hechose to pay his way through Washington and spend his time on thescout team getting beat up by the No. 1 defense.
Economically, it might not have been the smartest decision. ButSweetman remembers watching games in Husky Stadium as a youth,sitting above Tunnel 8 in the west end of the stadium's lower bowl.Playing at Washington was a dream he wasn't about to let slip away.
And now it's his last game, with the possibility of getting onthe field.
'There would be no better way ... to end not just playing forthe Huskies, but just end my football career,' Sweetman said.'I'm realistic: This is the end for me. I'm done playing footballafter this. To end it on a note like this would be amazing for meand my family.'
Many outsiders believe Saturday is the end for Bonnell, too,despite the fact he still has a year of eligibility. Waiting on thesidelines is highly touted freshman Jake Locker, who will use hisredshirt and not play this season. Most fans believe Bonnell issimply a placeholder until Locker is ready for the 2007 seasonopener at Syracuse, and that Bonnell will return to being a backup.
Bonnell wouldn't speculate on next year, but if Saturday is hisfinal start, he wants to snap Washington's six-game losing streakand head into the offseason on a positive note.
'The Apple Cup is a huge game. This is a game people will betalking about the next 20 years, whichever way it goes,' Bonnellsaid. 'The rest of your life you're going to live with whathappens.'
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