Much is said about the importance of skilled position players.
At Timber Creek, though, it’s great to have a player who is skilled at many positions.
Senior Ian Masikini has played defensive end, linebacker, nose guard – and oh, yeah – strong safety.
Last week, Masikini was positioned at linebacker, as injuries necessitated the need there.
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“I go to where I’m needed,” Masikini said. “If it benefits the team, that’s what I’ll do.”
He has spent most of his time at either linebacker or defensive end in the early going, but he said he’ll occasionally practice on the defensive line. He played sparingly at safety in the last few games last season and practiced there also during the spring drills.
“He hits very hard,” said Timber Creek head coach Kevin Golden of his versatile returning defensive starter.
Masikini said the ability to deliver a blow is combination of athleticism and stress relief.
“I’ve felt that my hard hits come from things in life from me,” Masikini said. “It’s sort of stress therapy for me. If I’ve had a rough day, I let the other guy have it. If I get stressed over academics or if I want to be at peace with things going on – where it’s legal – I get rid of pent-up stress,” the easy-going player said.
The ability to make the transition from one position to another isn’t difficult for Masikini, but said having to go from being on the front six to linebacker is sometimes challenging due to having pass coverage responsibilities.
In addition to his versatility and athleticism, Masikini said his strengths include having a high football IQ and always pushing to be a team player. That includes trust in his teammates to handle their job and that peace-of-mind allows him to play more at ease. His experience at the various positions also allows for Masikini to have great recognition of offensive sets and being able to read a play quickly.
Strengths are physical, too, as Masikini said the Falcons, as a group, are stronger this year.
“We may still be undersized, but we’re stronger and we’re just physically different than last year,” he said.
At 5-8, 220, Masikini provides a solid framework on the defense but said everyone on that side of the ball can run at least a 4.9 40 yard dash. Even as a defensive lineman or end, Masikini selected the number 27 last season. Golden said he allows players to select their numbers following a year on the varsity team.
All the work over the summer and off season has created a greater chemistry amongst the players and Masikini said there’s a willingness to sacrifice for each other on the field.
Much of that is due to senior leadership of a team which is still relatively young. “We’ve seen what it takes to win and to go to the playoffs,” he said.
Leadership and IQ extend past the field for Masikini, who plans to attend the University of Houston to pursue a pharmacy degree after graduating.