Local standout ready to battle Wisconsin
By John Van Putten, The Times December 29, 2011
Football for W.J. Mouat grad Boseko Lokombo happens on a scale few other Canadians can imagine.
Abbotsford’s Lokombo is all set to suit up with the University of Oregon Ducks for the Jan. 2 football classic The Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, Calif.
“They call it the grand-daddy of them all,” Lokombo said while home in Abbotsford for the Christmas break.
“It’s a fun one to be in.
“It’s the culture down there. Everyone watches football,” Lokombo said. “Everyone has a favorite team, the fans are more into it. People show a lot of support. It’s like a religion, it’s big time entertainment.”
His Oregon Ducks average 60,000 fans for a league game and his parents will be among the expected 90,000 football-crazy fans on hand for the premier event in U.S. collegiate football bowl game. Kickoff is set for 2: 10 p.m. PST.
“I makes me feel at home, very comfortable, I feel like I play better when my parents are right there encouraging me and supporting me. It’s good to have them by my side.”
This year’s match-up will pit Lokombo’s fifth ranked PAC-12 Division Ducks up against the tenth ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the Big-Ten Conference.
Lokombo, a 2009 graduate of the W.J. Mouat Hawks football program, is in his third year with the NCAA Eugene, Ore., squad and this will be his second Rose Bowl appearance.
“He’s had quite a couple years down there,” said Lokombo’s former Mouat football coach Denis Kelly. “We are looking forward to the big game on Monday against Wisconsin, it’s very exciting for him.
“Once you get to his level he’s at, then everybody is that good,” Kelly said.
“There’s a fine line between who goes on [to the NFL] and who doesn’t.”
The powerful Ducks linebacker, who can lift 330 pounds and sprint 40 yards in 4.84 seconds, is making a name for himself in U.S. football circles.
“The whole Mouat football group would be interested in how he does and we are hoping he will have another big win,” Kelly said.
“They’ve had a great year.” Lokombo has three touchdowns this season, which is remarkable considering he’s sharing playing time with starting senior Josh Kaddu.
“Next year is going to a big year for me,” said Lokombo.
“The starter, Josh Kaddu, is going to move on, he’s a potential prospect for the NFL, and I’m the next guy in line so it’s going to be a big year for me.”
For his former coach Kelly, that doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. He has had the opportunity to watch some of this season’s games on national TV.
“He’s really a guy who gets to the right spots,” Kelly said. “He a has a good feel for the game, good anticipation and quickness, so he’s been able to pick up a few turnovers and turn them into touchdowns.”
His most recent touchdown, and his third of the season, came on national TV against the Stanford Cardinals when he ran a 4th quarter interception 40 yards to make the score 5330.
Even more special for Lokombo was the fact that highly touted NFL prospect quarterback Andrew Luck threw the ball.
“He threw it and the ball just bounced up off his chest and I was right there,” Lokombo recalled.
“When I caught the ball everything just slowed down, and as I was running my teammates are blocking for me, and when I got into the end zone, I was really happy. It was just special.”
With two more years of eligibility in U.S. college football, Lokombo is looking to create some more headlines for himself.
“My name is kind of buzzing around, it’s a blessing,” Lokombo said.
“Its fun to have that national exposure.
“Whenever I get in there, I try and make a big play.”