FERNDALE, Wash. — Long before clinching a spot in Super Bowl 52 as Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson was a quarterback and safety at Ferndale High.
“We’d kind of eat and breathe football all season,” said Donny Finkbonner, Pederson’s friend and football teammate since the fifth grade.
Including their senior year in 1985, as seen in Finkbonner’s old scrapbook, when the two led the Golden Eagles to a league title and a top ranking in the state, and a playoff game in the Kingdome, on the home turf of the Seahawks – their favorite NFL team.
“You grow up a Seahawks fan and watching those guys compete, and to get out on the same field, it was pretty cool,” Finkbonner said.
Added former Ferndale head coach Vic Randall: “Back in 1985, we’d come back from some ballgames and the whole road - there’s cars all the way down through, they’re honking the horn, all the way we’d go through there. Yeah, the community really loves what takes place here.”
This Sunday, the entire Ferndale community, including Randall, will have another chance to root for the former three-sport all-state athlete, as he leads a different group of Eagles on the biggest stage of all.
“He spent a lot of time doing things that other coaches do,” Randall said.
It also worked well enough to play the NFL for ten years, primarily as a backup to legendary quarterbacks like Dan Marino and Brett Favre. Pederson won a championship in Green Bay as a third-string QB in Super Bowl XXXI – coincidentally against the New England Patriots.
“He was always a natural leader,” Finkbonner said. “When guys weren’t watching game tape, he was.”
Finkbonner reunited with Pederson when the Eagles came to CenturyLink Field this year. And as he and Coach Randall recalled memories of their biggest prep football game back then– a 7-0 nothing win over Burlington-Edison – they’re not surprised Pederson has a chance to another Super Bowl title – this time as a second-year NFL head coach.