Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 | 12:30 a.m.
Foothill bowler Jakob Butturff may only be a freshman but he has the experience the Falcons need to energize their bowling team.
Butturff has led Foothill this winter with a 626 series average to give the team an edge that could result in a playoff berth.
A bowler of nine years, he has more experience than most seniors and even a perfect 300 game under his belt.
"To be honest some of my shots were lucky," Butturff said about the perfect game, which he bowled last May.
There may have been some luck in blowing the 300 but the achievement has given him extra confidence.
"That still gives me confidence on how I bowl," he said. "Whenever I bowl, I picture back on my 300. If I was able to do that, I can do almost anything."
Butturff credits teammates — sophomores Corey Coggins and Jacob Hawkins and senior Mike Anderson — who have all averaged more than a 530 series for helping give the team a boost.
Foothill, which missed the playoffs last season, has not had a successful program since bowling became a high school sport in 1999, coach Geoff Walker said.
With four matchups remaining, Foothill is trying to lock the fourth and final playoff position.
"We had a tryout and I saw we had some guys with some good scores," Walker said. "But it was hard to tell how good we were because you never know what else is out there."
Walker realized he had a good team when the boys faced Coronado, a perennial contender, on Dec. 3. Even though Foothill lost 7-2, the Falcons proved they could contend.
The Falcons have won five of their last eight games as of Jan. 25.
Foothill hit a snag when it lost 9-0 to Silverado on Jan. 22, but Butturff bowled a season-best 290 game in the loss.
"We just got some pretty good bowlers," Walker said. "The thing that sets us apart is that all our bowlers are pretty steady. We're lucky we don't have a weakest link that brings us down."
Foothill's girls team is also on the verge of clinching a playoff berth.
The girls are led by senior captain Hannah Smith, who has a 160 game average.
"When I first started doing this, she was the one who took charge," girls coach Dan Bellini said. "She is really the heart and soul of the team."
Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.