DOWNEY – There we sit, patiently waiting for the game to start. The crowd is anxious, the players are pumped, and among them you find a player who is calm, quiet, and collective. He doesn’t hesitate or get anxious. You can feel a storm is coming at any given moment. You can try to catch him all you want, but you won’t. You can try your hardest to run from him, but you won’t escape. He thrives on taking the ball from his opponents. This season alone he has had 501 receiving yards, 21 catches, four touchdowns, and 28 total tackles, according to Maxpreps. Though he stands at 6 ft. 1 inches tall and 170 lbs., make no mistake: he is no stranger to this game. He is hungry for another championship ring.
He is Stacy Chukwumezie (No. 10) wide receiver and defensive back for the Downey Vikings varsity football team.
“When I play, one look is all I need from my opponent,” he says. “I look him straight in the eyes and as soon as I see his facial expressions, I know he’s mine. He will know my name by the end of the game.”
Let me start this article by articulating how to pronounce his name, since his name is constantly butchered: Chuk-wu-me-zie. He started with the Downey Razorbacks in seventh grade and made it all the way to the championships that year. Although they did not win, Chukwumezie learned an important lesson on not letting that loss define him as a person.
“Everyone thought they could break me because I’ve always been small,” said Chuckwumezie, who started as a running back despite weighing only 88 lbs. “My first year playing receiver I looked up to Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants as an example. We both were rookies and I liked the way he carried himself and so I followed his lead.
“When you are out there on that field, it’s all business. There’s no time to waste and no time for cockiness. When you get cocky that’s when everything gets messed up. We are a brotherhood and we stand together as one.
“We all put in the hard work. For us seniors, we know the feeling of winning the championship. That’s why we have been pushing ourselves more this season. It’s our last year and we are going to make it count.
“My personal goal for every game is to not drop the ball, so I’ve been staying after practice working with my quarterbacks to make sure I don’t drop the ball. So far, I haven’t dropped it since the Mira Costa game and I don’t intend to again. I’ve been working a lot on my footwork and being explosive out there. I am pushing myself more physically on my speed. It’s all about timing and I intend to keep being the leader in receiving yards in our league.”
Chukwumezie said he dedicated this season to Dodi Soza.
“He was just so young and worked so hard at football. He should have been out there with us this season as a running back. Dodi loved the game and we all miss him very much. Before every game, we huddle and say this is for Dodi.
“I also dedicated this season to my mom. Even though she doesn’t understand the game, she still loves football and every time they say my name she goes crazy up there. She’s one proud mom.”
Chukwumezie plans to go to a California university to pursue a degree in chemistry and hopes to become a pharmacist or engineer. He also is involved with track and field and volunteers at St. Francis Hospital, helping out with patients.
“There is this one guy who was shot but can’t speak. I spend the most time with him,” Chukwumezie says. “I gravitate to him the most because I feel he’s out there defending himself on the streets just like I am out on the football field. I talk to him and I know he can understand me and I hope he gets better soon.”
There is no doubt this kid is a powerhouse player. He ranks in the top 100 in California. according to Maxpreps, and averages 23.9 yards per catch. His technique and explosive nature on the field makes him tough competition against Crescenta Valley at this week’s championship game.
Please join the team at Glendale High School this Friday Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. and help cheer them on to victory. Chukwumezie is going to put on a show you won’t want to miss.
We wish him the best of luck along with the rest of the Downey Vikings varsity football team.
Published: Dec. 4, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 34