Marcus Garcia of Los Alamitos High School rarely concerns himself with lofty goals or heroic hopes on the football field.
"I don't make too many plans," said Garcia, a senior tailback. "I just like to see what happens with a lot of hard work and determination."
Garcia, The Times' Player of the Week, is beginning to find out.
Friday, Garcia rushed for 226 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Griffins to a 28-7 Empire League victory over Katella, giving Los Alamitos its second league championship in three years.
This season, Garcia has rushed for 995 yards and has scored 11 touchdowns.
Garcia says he doesn't pay much attention to statistics--especially his own. He'd rather save his mental energy for the next opponent, even if it's a team with an 0-8 record.
"Basically, I think every team is really tough," he said. "They're all going to go all out. That's what keeps me going. I never underestimate anyone, and I never let myself get too confident."
While he keeps his confidence in check, Garcia works his body to the outer limits. Every day he rides his bike more than 10 miles, runs and, in the summer, lifts weights.
"Marcus is the hardest worker on the team," said Roger Roadstrom, a senior linebacker. "The guy does nothing but work out. He's the most dedicated guy I know."
Last year, Garcia didn't see much playing time as a backup tailback for three senior starters. Garcia's main assignment: Playing tailback on the scout squad, aka the Hamburger Squad, the group that has to face the varsity starters in game-simulating practices.
Call it wish squad or squish squad--Garcia didn't mind. He was too busy trying to prove himself worthy of a starting varsity position.
Said John Barnes, Griffin coach: "Where most of the (scout) players said, 'Oh no, do we have to do this?' Marcus always played (scout games) like they were the Super Bowl. A lot of the kids pouted or moped about it, but he went at it as hard as he could, every time."
Appearing in four games last season, Garcia averaged 50 yards rushing per game. But his fourth game was also his last of the season. Garcia broke his left hand against El Dorado, catching the hand between the helmets of two Golden Hawk defenders.
Garcia didn't say anything about it until two days later, when Barnes noticed how swollen Garcia's hand was.
"He probably would've kept playing if we hadn't sent him to the doctor," Barnes said.
But to the doctor he went, returning to practice that day with four steel pins in his hand to keep the bones together. His football season was finished.
Garcia moved on to wrestling, soon to encounter a similar fate.
Garcia had a 21-11 record a week before the Empire League finals. That week, in a dual meet against Esperanza, Garcia won his match, but separated his shoulder in the process. Another season with a premature ending.
This season, Garcia said that though he has no definite goals for his own statistical success, staying injury-free is one of his biggest concerns.
And after that?
"Well, I want to ease up a bit (on training)," he said. "But then again, maybe not."
Los Alamitos High
Height, Weight, Class: 5-11, 170, Sr.
Last Week: Garcia rushed for 226 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Griffins to a 28-7 Empire League victory over Katella Friday, giving Los Alamitos its second league championship in three years.
Season: Garcia has rushed for 995 yards, and has scored 11 touchdowns.