When Jermaine Kearse twice spun free from tacklers and sprinted into the end zone in Super Bowl XVLII I on Sunday, it was difficult to tell who was more startled – the Denver Broncos or Dave Miller’s grandchildren.
Miller, the head football coach at Lakes High School in Lakewood, recalls how he let loose a championship yell as he watched his former player sprint to the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown, part of the Seattle Seahawks’ historic 43-8 victory.
“It was exciting. I jumped out my chair, and I yelled so loud I scared my grandchildren,” Miller told the City on Tuesday. “To see him cap it off with a touchdown in the Super Bowl, that’s something out of a Hollywood script.”
Miller was one of the many people connected to Lakewood who watched Kearse, a 2008 graduate of Lakes High, help the Seahawks capture the franchise’s first championship in 37 years.
Lakewood is one of two cities in Washington that produced a player on Seattle’s championship roster.
It has been a long journey for the speedy wide receiver. He has gone from a kid catching footballs in grade school for the Lakewood Lumberjacks to making plays at the University of Washington to wowing with his athleticism in front of millions of people with the Seahawks.
Miller recalled that Kearse was the “poster child” for heeding the lessons that coaches, teachers and his parents were taught. Even though Kearse went undrafted out of college, his high school coach knew he’d be making plays in the NFL.
“I always said even if Jermaine won the Heisman or got whatever award possible, he’d be in the weight room the next day. He just has that desire,” Miller said.
Now, his former coach, Lakes High, the Clover Park School District and the entire community of Lakewood are watching as one of their own basks in the Super Bowl limelight.
Congratulatory messages to Kearse are posted throughout Lakewood. The third-floor window of Lakewood City Hall has the following spelled out in large letters: “Go Jermaine #15.”
“It has brought a great deal of pride to the community,” Miller said of Kearse’s contribution to the Seahawks. “It’s been so much fun watching him. There’s such a tie for the kids, to see that someone who walked in their footsteps succeed, it’s just great.”
Now, Lakewood will celebrate with the rest of Seahawk Nation as the team celebrates its title.
Lakewoodians: Are you going to the championship parade Wednesday in Seattle? Share your pics on Twitter, @CityofLakewood , or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.