Greg Brazil said there are plenty of reasons to believe the Anzar High football team’s upcoming season will be markedly different than the last couple of years.
In 2021, the Hawks finished 0-5 and were outscored by their opponents by a combined margin of 251-42. The Hawks, who open the season on Sept. 3 at home against Riverdale Christian at 2pm, had a productive off-season of strength and conditioning along with football-related activities.
“We’re very excited to get the season rolling this year,” said Brazil, who is in first season as the team’s offensive coordinator with coach Rowan Tupuivao. “The changes we made from last year to this year are definitely showing on the field. We were able to secure a weight training facility and put the kids through a legitimate weight training program. And we got started a lot earlier in terms of practice and implementation of plays, so the team is more prepared for the challenges compared to the team in previous seasons.”
Brazil loves the grit of senior quarterback Max Castro, whose work ethic is second to none.
“Max’s determination is unmatched by any athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach,” Brazil said. “He’s constantly working to get better and to improve the techniques he needs to work on. I’m very excited to see him translate those to the field.”
If Brazil has his way, Anzar will be able to impose its will on defenses by pounding the ball with the run to set up the pass.
“We want to be a team that establishes the run to set the tone and then go to the pass,” he said.
A trio of tailbacks—senior Bobby Greene, junior Julian Martinez and sophomore Isaac Kapadia—are “hard-nosed runners who are great at hitting the hole and taking it up the field,” Brazil said.
Senior Arnold Garcia anchors the offensive line and has impressed Brazil in the weight room.
“He is a beast and throws around the most weight of anyone on the team,” Brazil said. “He’s right around 5-10 and 260 pounds, and he just got over 300 pounds on the bench and 400 on squats. He is looking to tear the opposing defense apart.”
Brazil is also high on junior lineman Gage Jumper, who is currently recovering from an injury. The Hawks hope to have Jumper back relatively soon, as he possesses tremendous blocking technique, Brazil said. Garcia’s younger brother, freshman Andres Garcia, “brings an absolute tenacity to the game and is always the most excited player to be on the field,” Brazil said.
Andres plays linebacker and Brazil said the coaching staff is eager to see how he does in rushing the opposing quarterback, reading the run plays and dropping back in pass coverage. Anzar football has had its ups and downs as a program, but the last couple of years have been particularly tough.
Smaller schools with limited resources like Anzar were hit harder by Covid, so this season represents an opportunity for the San Juan Bautista school to start turning things around. Brazil admitted 2022 is an important year for the program.
“Everybody has been with us since February putting in the work to raise the program from where it was to where it can be,” Brazil said. “Sports in general can be a lifeblood of a high school and with Anzar being such a small school, we have limitations on what we can do.
“But we also have a lot of opportunities in how we treat each other and for our players to grow their skills. We want to make sure this football program is something each player can take pride in and across campus that can be seen. Over time, this program can expand and grow.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at email@example.com