DOWNEY -- What defines an athlete is his preparation for the game. This type of athlete obsesses over every detail. He memorizes both the offensive and defensive plays to strategically prepare himself for every possible scenario. He anticipates all probabilities and makes his move accordingly. He motivates you, encourages you, and believes in you.
This individual is disciplined in every way and holds his head up high, knowing that he will always do what is best for his team. He is almost always overlooked because of his smaller stature but don’t let that fool you, for he is a true athlete. He is a player who demonstrates great determination in his athletic ability.
While most players master on average about 2-3 positions, he has mastered six positions and plays four. To label Eddie Preciado (#8) of the Downey Vikings varsity football team a versatile player is an understatement for there are not many players that can do what he does. He can run plays as a quarterback, wide receiver, strong safety, running back, free safety, and punt returner. As captain, you will often hear, “Come on pick it up guys!” as he head-butts into them in an effort to pump them up.
Luck is not a word that exists in Preciado’s vocabulary. He believes in hard work and dedication to everything that you do. He applies this in how he prepares himself against his future opponents in both blocking and tackling. Off season, Preciado works hard by having a strict and rigorous workout that incorporates a lot of heavy lifting and different techniques to improve his speed so that he can interchangeably play any position as needed.
During practices, Preciado goes against his teammate Gio Deloera (#56) who is a defensive lineman, 6’4, and 270 lbs. Keep in mind that Preciado is 5’11 and weighs in at 170 lbs. When asked how that happens to work out, Preciado chuckles, “I get pancaked by Deloera, but in a good way. That’s usually what I go up against. So the more he pancakes me the better player it makes me.
“It ignites a spark in me to get more aggressive, which growing up my mom taught me the opposite,” Preciado continues. “My mom is such a sweet person who cringes with every tackle. What mom really likes to see her son getting pancaked? But it’s all about repetition and perfection.”
During the Mira Costa game, Preciado was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and was not supposed to play in the game against Millikan High School. CIF officials reviewed questionable flags and calls made by referees during the Mira Costa game, however, and determined that the flag against Preciado was not valid and he was allowed to play against Millikan after all.
This CIF ruling helped Downey beat Millikan as Preciado analyzed their quarterback and anticipated where he was going to throw next. In the fourth quarter, Preciado intercepted the ball that bounced off of Manny Ramirez’s (#44) head and stopped Millikan from making a touchdown that would have tied the game.
“Football is a brotherhood. You have to play to really understand what this brotherhood is all about,” Preciado says. “When we play we play for the person next to us. We fight for them and we go to bat for them on and off the field. If that person needs help, that’s when we all step up and offer them help.
“Football has given me so many opportunities to grow as an individual. I remember playing Madden 05 as a kid and getting hooked on football. That’s how I got started on football. My mom was not thrilled about me joining football, but she signed me up to play with the Downey Razorbacks with the help of Miguel Esquitin (#22). He was the one who gave me the flyer for the sign-ups.”
If you ever attend a Downey Vikings football game, take a close look at Eddie Preciado and you will see him do the sign of the cross before he hits the field and before most plays. Most fans miss that moment, but it’s a beautiful sign of respect for what he believes in.
“When I was little I went to church, but didn’t understand it until I got older,” he says. “I started to have more faith and made it a point to pray every day. I believe I’m put in the right spots and all I have to do is execute them.
“I hope to one day give back to my parents the way they have given to us. I see how much they have struggled. They are such hard workers and I plan to attend a good university and major in aerospace engineering and hopefully work for NASA one day. The idea of knowing that I have a shot to play ball in college is a good feeling. I want to show that brains over brawns can pay off if you just work hard enough for it.
“My way of giving back to the community is that I currently help to coach football with Coach Enslin for the Downey Razorbacks alongside other Downey Vikings football players -- Manny Ramirez (#44), Andrew Gonzalez (#52), John Boik (#51), and Kiefer Enslin (#32). We all love giving back to our humble beginnings. We show these kids the basics and motivate them to reach for their goals. It reminds us not to give up because there is a kid out there looking up to us saying I want to be like him when I grow up.”
We wish him the best of luck! Stay tuned for next week’s highlight player…