Ask Joseph Garcia his favorite memory from last year’s memorable Strathmore football season, and here’s your answer.
“When I rushed for 420 yards and 7 touchdowns.”
Yes, in one game during the state playoffs last year, Garcia ran for a school record 420 yards, and scored seven touchdowns. And this year, he’s a little bigger and a little faster.
“(He) went out for track for us, ran the 400 (meters),” said Blackwell. “And man, he’s opened his stride, and he gets his pads down, and his knees up, and he’s a thunder back.”
Last year as a junior, the Spartans rode Garcia’s 2,345 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns all the way to a Division-VI valley title, and won their first 14 games in the process.
In the state championship game though, the Spartans came up one point short, in a heartbreaking loss that served as motivation during the offseason.
“We had a little talk and we said we’re gonna win it this year,” said Garcia.
Joseph is doing his part.
In leading Strathmore to an 8-0 start this season, Garcia is averaging close to 12 yards per carry and has scored 22 touchdowns, while also being a force on the defensive line.
“He works really hard, he doesn’t make any excuses,” said Blackwell. “He’s a blue collar dude.”
Joseph wants to become the first in his immediate family to graduate from college, and he’s also hoping to continue his football career beyond this year, perhaps as a walk-on or at a junior college.
And although he may not have the eye-popping physical makeup major college recruiters are looking for, his high school coach says his work ethic and toughness will be attractive to any school willing to give him a chance.
“He’ll play somewhere,” says Blackwell.