The Champions: Take a look at where West Linn's football champs are now
Back in the day, they were the best.
The best West Linn football players in their school's long history.
Together, the 2016 Lions did what no other West Linn team had done before — or has done since — they stepped up to win a state championship in record-breaking fashion.
Along the way, they were honored as never before, with players recognized in the Three Rivers League at 25 different spots, while simultaneously sweeping most of the TRL's top awards.
Senior linebacker Mitchell Johnson was named Defensive Player of the Year, senior lineman Seth Long was honored as Defensive Lineman of the Year, record-breaking senior quarterback Tim Tawa was recognized as Offensive Player of the Year, senior lineman Alex Forsyth was selected as the league's Offensive Lineman of the Year, and West Linn head coach Chris Miller was picked as the TRL's Coach of the Year.
The state of Oregon took notice, too. How could it not after the Lions blasted Central Catholic 62-7 in the biggest championship-game blowout in Oregon big-school history.
Tawa was named Oregon's Offensive Player of the Year, while Jake Meisen, Qawi Ntsasa, Jake Porter, Forsyth, Molden, Johnson and Long also won spots on the Class 6A all-state first team.
But the Lions' leaders weren't done. Not by a long shot.
So what have they been up to since that fateful day back on Dec. 3, 2016? Let's take a look at what the Lions' first-team all-state picks have been up to since that fateful day back in 2016, starting this week with its offensive stars.
• Tim Tawa: Back in 2016, Tim Tawa was the Lions' record-breaking senior quarterback. A three-year starter, he passed for 11,357 yards in his career (including a state-record total of 4,420 in 2015), amassed an Oregon record 143 touchdown passes while throwing just 10 interceptions, and came within one TD pass of tying Oregon's big-school single-season record (he finished with 55 — one shy of the 56 that Beaverton quarterback Taylor Barton notched back in 1997).
Since then: Tawa decided that his long-term athletic prospects would be best served on the baseball diamond, and given the results of his first two years at Stanford, it would be hard to argue with his choice.
In two years with the Cardinal, Tawa has started every game of his freshman and sophomore seasons, batting .296 with 41 RBIs, 44 runs scored and seven home runs in 2018, and .253 with 37 RBIs, 35 runs scored and eight homers in 2019.
• Alex Forsyth: Back in 2016, Alex Forsyth was the biggest, baddest, strongest offensive lineman on the block for the Lions. A senior tackle, Forsyth — a two-time first-team all-state selection — was a key contributor to a West Linn offense that averaged 507.7 yards per game. He also helped open holes for a West Linn ground attack that averaged 203.1 yards rushing per game.
Since then: Forsyth has now spent two seasons as a member of the University of Oregon football team, redshirting his first season, then playing in five games in 2018. In his redshirt freshman campaign, Forsyth played 43 snaps at three different positions, left guard, right guard and right tackle.
• Jake Meisen: Back in 2016, Jake Meisen was a senior wide receiver and favorite target of Tawa in the Lions' high-octane offense. Meisen was West Linn's leading receiver, finishing his final season with 60 catches for team-highs of 1,267 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Since then: Meisen ended his football career on top, ending his competitive career with the Lions' state championship. He is preparing to begin his junior year as a Business/Social Science major at the University of Oregon after two years at Lane Community College.
• Qawi Ntsasa: Back in 2016, Qawi Ntsasa was a do-it-all junior wide receiver for the Lions, finishing second on the team in all-purpose yards with 1,135, including 987 yards on his team-leading 68 receptions. He also added 92 yards in kick returns and finished his stellar junior year with 14 TDs.
Since then: Ntsasa accepted a full-ride scholarship to the Air Force Academy. After a year at the Air Force Prep School where he played freshman ball, Ntsasa will begin his first year at Air Force this fall.
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