2017-07-14 / Sports

Going hog wild

Linemen take center stage at Spartan exhibition
By Jonathan Andrade


THE MOUNTAIN—Rio Mesa High lineman Brady Glad competes in the tug of war while teammates cheer during the Spartans’ hogs tournament last weekend. Glad is an incoming senior for the football team. 
BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers THE MOUNTAIN—Rio Mesa High lineman Brady Glad competes in the tug of war while teammates cheer during the Spartans’ hogs tournament last weekend. Glad is an incoming senior for the football team. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers FOOTBALL /// Rio Mesa tournament

During a summer of relentless 7-on-7 passing tournaments, Rio Mesa High’s hogs tournament was a breath of fresh air.

The Spartans hosted 11 schools for a passing tournament, but the boys in the trenches got to show off for a change during lineman events, including the rock toss, tire flip, truck push, and tug of war.

“This gives the linemen something to look forward to,” said Rio Mesa offensive line coach Daniel Lemos. “They’re in the weight room all summer getting big. We try to keep this as fun as possible.”

Rio Mesa, Oaks Christian and Westlake represented Acorn country at the 11-team tournament. For inquiring minds, Valencia’s “A” team defeated Valencia’s “B” squad in the tug of war final.

Incoming Spartan seniors David Garcia, a 5-foot-7, 224-pound center, and Brady Glad, a 6-foot, 275-pound offensive tackle and nose guard, stood out for the hosts.

In the bench press, Glad hoisted 185 pounds 12 times.

“I feel like we’ll do pretty good this year,” Glad said. “We’re improving our steps on the line and blocking a lot better.”

Steven Sanchez, a 5-foot-11, 280-pound incoming junior, is also expected to solidify Rio Mesa’s offensive line.

“From the looks of it, we have a lot of explosive kids out here,” said James Lopez, Rio Mesa’s third-year defensive line coach. “I’m surprised. We have a lot of guys we’re looking out for.”


HOT WHEELS—Rio Mesa High’s Angel Placencia, an incoming senior, lifts a tire at the hogs tournament. 
BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers HOT WHEELS—Rio Mesa High’s Angel Placencia, an incoming senior, lifts a tire at the hogs tournament. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers Lopez said he expects incoming sophomore Julian “Juice” Bernal (6-foot-4, 254 pounds) to have an instant impact on the varsity team this fall. Bernal, who played on the freshman team last year, wants to have a breakout season.

“I lost about 40 pounds, but I got way stronger,” said Bernal, who benched 185 pounds 19 times.

Bernal spent the winter grappling on the school’s wrestling squad, arguably the best in Ventura County.

Incoming seniors Anthony Bailey, a defensive end, and Matthew Roman, a nose guard, are expected to get tons of action on Rio Mesa’s defensive line.

“We might be a little small, but we have a lot of strength and speed with these kids,” Lopez said. “Looks can be deceiving.”

Justis Tinoco, an incoming Rio Mesa senior who is 5-foot-8, 145 pounds, is a nuisance at defensive end.

“I just want to prove to people that because I’m small doesn’t mean I’m bad,” he said. “Don’t underestimate me.”

Tinoco said he’s working on adding some pounds before season starts, “because I’m tiny,” he chuckled.

Oaks Christian flaunted its size during the hogs tournament.

Rio Mesa graduate Damon Jones, who is entering his third season as defensive line coach at Oaks Christian, was happy his players were active before the team’s dead period kicked off.

“We’re basically just out here to compete together before a tough season,” Jones said. “We’ll come back rolling, getting ready for Chaminade.”

Oaks Christian opens its season Aug. 25 on the road against Chaminade.

The Lions will rely on incoming junior Luca Barretto, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound center, and incoming sophomore Mike Maddox, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound tackle, to open up holes for the running backs.

“We’re coming a lot closer together than we were last year,” Barretto said. “I think that will really be what boosts us into this season.”

Patrick Beattie and Titus Ludy are two-way linemen for Oaks Christian.

Beattie, an incoming junior who will play defensive tackle and offensive tackle, towers at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds. Ludy, an incoming sophomore who plays right guard and defensive tackle, is 6-foot-3, 274 pounds.

Jack Lenthall, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior defensive end, and Victor Benitez, a 5-foot-11, 245-pound sophomore defensive tackle, bolster the Lions’ defensive line.

“I’ve been getting a lot of lifts in with some conditioning here and there,” Lenthall said of his summer.

Westlake head coach Tim Kirksey said he didn’t have enough healthy linemen to compete in the hogs tournament, but incoming senior defensive end and right tackle Cameron Kohler attended the festivities.

Kohler, a 6-foot, 230-pound beast who also punts for Westlake, cheered on his fellow Warriors as they competed in the passing tournament.

He also scouted the talent in the hogs tournament.

“It’s cool to watch,” Kohler said, “but I wish I was going against them.”

Kohler, who is also getting reps at middle linebacker, said he’s spent the summer gearing up to battle in the trenches. He frequently hits the gym with incoming senior running back Nathan Brooks.

“We go to the gym before practice and after practice,” Kohler said. “We’re both upping the weights right now.”

Kohler said he can bench 225 pounds 11 times.

Kirksey said he expects Kohler to enjoy a breakout season this fall.

“He’s fast, he’s strong and he’s nasty,” the coach said of Kohler. “He’s the kind of guy you want on that side of the ball.”

Grant Adams and Nick Villari lead a young offensive line for Westlake.

Adams, an incoming senior who is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, is expected to start at left tackle. Villari, a 5-foot-11, 235-pounder, is the team’s starting center.

“They’re great leaders,” Kirksey said. “They work their seats off every rep and every day. They’re dragging everybody along with them.”

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