DOWNEY – “Quick feet, quick feet, pick it up, pick it up!” is a constant reminder repeated every moment of the game. With his poker face at hand he won’t let his opponent know that he’s a bit intimidated or that his heart is racing. Man versus man, the clock is ticking and the play is about to begin. He has to protect his men. He is the first line of defense. He cannot afford to let anyone get through. The pressure is on. It’s game time baby!
The play has started and instantly he turns into the Incredible Hulk and smashes through his opponents.
“Offensive lineman is a very difficult position. You have to be fast, have quick feet, and stand in front of a guy who can either embarrass you by putting you on your back or you can put up a fight. You have to do it fast because in a moment’s notice you might have to run to the other end of the field and clear the path so the rest of the offensive can work their magic.”
He stands tall at 6 ft. 4 inches tall and 270 pounds. He is Gio Deloera (#56) for the Downey Vikings varsity football team.
“I use to play Pop Warner football and once I passed the weight limit I couldn’t play football until high school,” Gio says. “So in the meantime, I played baseball and rugby to help me prepare for high school football. I come from a pretty tall family.
“My mom is one of my biggest supporters. She pushes me to get better grades so I can get into a good college or university. I want to pursue a degree in either film or sports medicine.”
This week’s game against Paramount will prove to be a huge test for the offensive line. This is Downey’s second biggest rival. Paramount’s strategy is very similar to Stanford’s coaching. There’s lots of tension between Paramount’s football team and Downey’s football team. Coach Jack Williams and his players have been working hard to make sure they win this game. Downey’s biggest obstacles will be Paramount targeting players and trying to outsmart Downey by using trick plays.
“What makes this year different is how we are firing up the ball. We are improving with every game,” says Gio. “We trust each other and take care of one another because if not we will get crushed. It comes down to who is going to fight for you. And if we mess up, we all understand and say ‘That’s OK man, I got your back on the next one.’ If I mess up, I take it personally because it was my laziness to prepare and study my plays that let the team down.
“I get depressed, but once I hit the field, I let the anger out and make it a point to come back stronger than before.”
So how does Gio focus for big games?
“I listen to heavy metal music, primarily Metallica to help pump me up and get my mind ready to bulldoze across the field. I also say a prayer for protection and I make sure to say one for Dodi Soza. My biggest regret that I live with to this day is that he asked me for help to make it on varsity and I never followed back up with him. I live with that every time I hit the field and I regret that I let my fellow teammate down. He was truly a great guy and we all miss him still.
“Football has changed my life. I use to be a troublemaker before and if I didn’t have football to straighten me out, I honestly am afraid to think where I would be or have ended up. I look up to my coaches because they believe in all of us and guide us into responsible adults. To be honest, they keep us so busy that we have no time to get into any trouble. By the time we get home, we are so tired and just want to sleep.
“I try to give back and I’m looking into what groups I want to join to make my difference. I might help out with the RUN for Her charity Christopher Blanton and Jason Thomas help volunteer for. I don’t mind running for women who are fighting against cancer. I think it’s a great cause and I’m interested to give back. Everyone deserves a second chance in life”
We wish Gio the best of luck!