Luke Asbjornsen's, Jonathon Warner's and Chase DeMoor's first taste of college football's national playoffs was on the sour side.
Asbjornsen, Warner and DeMoor, who hail from south Pierce County, and their Central Washington University teammates were leading Texas A&M-Commerce by three touchdowns at halftime of a first-round game in the NCAA Division II tournament Nov. 25. Playing on their home field in Ellensburg, the Wildcats seemed destined for a victory and a spot the following week in the quarterfinals.
But Texas A&M rallied for a 34-31 victory, ending Central's season. It was the Wildcats' only loss in an 11-1 record.
Asbjornsen, a redshirt offensive lineman this season for Central, is a former standout at Graham-Kapowsin High School.
Warner, a junior linebacker, and DeMoor, a junior defensive lineman, previously starred at Eatonville High School. They started their college football careers at College of the Siskiyous before transferring to Central Washington.
DeMoor, Warner and Asbjornsen are part of a strong south Pierce County connection for the Wildcats, starting at the top. Ian Shoemaker, the head coach since 2014, is a Graham native who attended Orting High School.
Other local high school products on college teams this fall included:
• Tabby Yu, a senior defensive back from Graham-Kapowsin, Pacific Lutheran University football.
• Aundrea Smith, a freshman from Graham who attended the Science and Health Institute, where sports weren’t offered, Pacific Lutheran women's rowing.
• Madison Welsh, freshman midfielder from Graham-Kapowsin, Pierce Coillege women's soccer.
Julia Heronema (freshman outside hitter from Graham-Kapowsin), Katielynn Pyles (sophomore outside hitter from Bethel), and Miriah Senato (freshman right side from G-K), Pierce College volleyball.