Daeton Lofgren plays ‘old-school, get-after-it football every down’
WOODLAND — Perception is not reality.
One does not need to be 6-foot-3, 245 pounds to excel at linebacker in high school football.
One does not need to be 6-foot-4, 260 to crush it from the offensive line.
Daeton Lofgren is listed at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. Now. As a junior.
He has been starting both sides of the ball since his freshman year at Woodland High School.
“I’m pretty small but I give the effort, and that’s what counts,” Lofgren said. “You give the effort and you put your mind to it, you’re good.”
In Lofgren’s case, a whole lot better than good.
“If he finishes his career the way he started … he’ll go down as one of the best two-way players I’ve ever coached,” said Woodland coach Mike Woodward, who has been doing the coaching thing for three decades. “He’s just amazing. He doesn’t look the part necessarily. He’s not your typical 6-foot-2, 220-pound buff linebacker. But he plays old-school, get-after-it football every down.”
Lofgren has been doing that for a lot longer than just his high school days, too.
Woodward recalled seeing Lofgren at Woodland’s youth camp when Lofgren was a sixth-grader.
“When you’d call the kids over, he was the first guy there, sitting on one knee with his chest up, just locked in,” Woodward recalled. “It’s carried over through the years. I remember when he was this tall, and now he’s this tall and doing the same thing.”
Lofgren said his family moved to Woodland, where he was able to play youth ball as a third grader. He jumped at every opportunity to get better, attending as many camps as he could find. “Football took (over) my life,” he said.
Nowadays, he helps run the Woodland youth camp as a varsity player helping out the elementary school students, the future Beavers.
“Football is more than a game,” Lofgren said. “It’s a place you can build friendships. Not even friendships, but brotherhood. It really builds bonds.”
Which is why playing that abbreviated spring schedule meant so much to Lofgren and his teammates. Woodland and the rest of the 2A Greater St. Helens League teams got five games in during the COVID year.
“We went from not being able to play any more games with those seniors to being able to have a chance to play with them one last time,” Lofgren said. “That was really special. We were all down and sad, and then we got those five games and it really lifted our spirits.”
Personally, Lofgren said he believes that season helped him become a better player. Certainly a tougher player.
“It was hard, due to the masks,” Lofgren said. “It showed who was persevering and who was strong enough to get through that.”
Now, it is all about the team’s improvement. The Beavers expect better results this season. Lofgren said the goal is to win every game.
“I’m feeling pretty good about this year,” he said.
The Beavers, just like Lofgren, do not alway look the part, Woodward said, but they expect to surprise some people this year. The Beavers believe, in part because of the positive attitude from one of the team’s leaders.
“He’s our guy. He’s the face of our franchise,” Woodward said. “Just a phenomenal attitude.”