Playing Through Adversity with Ty Saathoff

Ty Saathoff
6-1 195 Sr. QB Curtis HS

As most know, the life of a high school football player has many highs and lows. That statement is true for ALL football players across the board. However, the ways athletes deal with the adversity have their vast differences.

Ty Saathoff is one of the few that views adversity as a hurdle instead of a steel curtain. When NEI sat down with the 6’1”, 195lb QB from Curtis High we weren’t quite sure what we were going to get in regards to transparency and maturity. Let’s just say we were pleasantly surprised.

Ty’s Mother, Stephanie Saathoff, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Ty was young, but was well aware of the situation at hand. Thank the Lord, through treatment and surgery, the cancer went into remission.

Over the next few years, life was great; mom recovered from the chemo treatments and was feeling good. Ty was beginning
How about now..James worked hard on this so I was hoping we could get it up for him

to come into his own and began to emerge as a standout athlete at Curtis High. Ty wasn’t the biggest kid in the school, nor the fastest, but his work ethic and determination to succeed was what separated him from the so called “elite” upper classman.

Rex Saathoff, Ty’s Father, wanted to set his son up for success and sought for the best quarterback training in the Seattle area. Through conversations with parents, and some research on the web, his efforts were rewarded with finding Barton Football Academy. During the spring and summer of 2010, Ty attended a camp every Saturday and Sunday. Ty said, “Going into my junior year, attending the Barton camps played a large role in my growth as a quarterback. My footwork was so much better. Since I didn’t have to think about my footwork anymore, I had more time to make my reads.”

Football politics exist in all programs. It’s one of those societal norms in the world of football. Ty competed with senior quarterback Tyler Jamison for the starting job and gained some serious attention from his coaching staff and fellow competitor. Just like most programs, if the returning starter is a senior, is consistent, and isn’t injured, the coach will play the senior. That is exactly what ended up happening. On top of that, in July of 2010 Ty received word that his mother’s breast cancer had returned and she was going to need more surgeries and chemo treatments. He said, “When I first found out, we took 4-5 days to go and hang with my mom in Chelan. My teammates and coaching staff were really supportive. All the guys had my mom’s name on their wrist bands. It was hard because I couldn’t make it to the AM workout sessions in the summer. Coaches could tell my mind was somewhere else at times, which was really hard to hear because I tried so hard not to let it show.”

Coach Angle and his staff run a marvelous program out at Curtis. They are one of the only programs out there that run a college style offseason training regime which challenges and prepares these high school football players for what playing at the next level will be like.

Through all of this, Ty was still showing poise and determination to be the best son, student, football player and teammate he could be. I’ve known quite a few kids who have faltered in one or more areas; whether they worked hard to be the starter and ended up not winning the job, or be it politics. There wasn’t a single question or topic we discussed that he didn’t have a positive spin on the situation. The kid is unique.

Curtis went 12-1 overall and 8-0 in league play for the 10’-11’ season. They were ranked by multiple sources as the 6th best team in the state of Washington. “Looking back, after 4-6 games of not playing much, it was a bit of a struggle to keep that ‘dog fight’ mentality.” Ty didn’t get much burn that year, but when his number was called, he came ready to play.

Ty got his chance to start and lead his team for the first time during the 11’-12’ season and his mental toughness, consistency, persistence, and hard work paid off. NEI asked him what it was like to finally get his chance to start for the first time. He said, “My mom had her fourth surgery that year the Tuesday before Friday’s game. Three days later, my mom shows up to the game all bundled up in 80 degree weather with drainage tubes coming out of her. How could I not be inspired to press forward and be thankful to play? She’s inspired me and my teammates by her courageous strength.”

Throughout the season, the numbers weren’t eye popping finishing at 64 of 141 for 1016 yards, 7 touchdowns & 7 interceptions; however analysts took notice of the team around him being very young. Curtis loss approximately 15 key starters after the 10’-11’ season; C.J. Langlow (WR), Rahmell Dockery (WR), Derek Berry (TE), Jason Walker (FB), Tyler Montague (RB) to name a few at the skill position. Also, three key lineman; Max Hersey (T), Cornelius Edison (C), and Zach Gall (G). As anyone with sports knowledge can imagine, a high school senior quarterback losing that amount of talent would normally be discouraged. Ty looked at it as an opportunity coach up some younger athletes he was getting ready to go into battle with. Again, there’s that positive spin.

Due to Ty’s uncanny ability to overcome adversity, his desire to compete, will to be great, and positive outlook on life, he caught the eyes of many analysts and colleges. Ty is ranked in the top 20 quarterbacks coming out of the state of Washington this year (NEI) following his senior year performance. Some of the schools that have shown consistent interest are Cornell University, UPS, and Redlands College in California. “It’s funny because when the schools call they bring up what could be viewed ‘negative’ aspects of their school like, ‘it snows a lot here’ or ‘we are 15 min from your house’ or ‘this is far away from your home town’ etc. I just want to play football, live the experience, and contribute to a program.” It doesn’t sound like these schools have done their research on this kid. Ty isn’t the normal high school football player. He’s a kid who hasn’t had anything handed to him and doesn’t see life’s obstacles and challenges as steel curtains. Instead he views them as hurdles to jump over moving towards the finish line while running the race of life. Ty has a lot of football left in him and any team that adds the name Ty Saathoff to their roster will be lucky.

A few of those young athletes that battled alongside their upperclassmen leader were; Zach Budnick (OL), Chris Coffin (OL), and the stud middle linebacker Calvin McLain. These young men will help carry the Curtis team to more success for the upcoming 12’-13’ football season as veteran leaders.

We’ll continue to follow Ty’s future ventures. As a team, we appreciate being touched by the story of an incredible young man. Hopefully for those that can relate to his story, you can see you’re not alone. For those who are reading this and think you’ve had it tough, well, learn to put a positive spin on it and remember someone always has it worse. Be grateful, and enjoy the opportunity to play high school football.