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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

Gonzalez Piles Up Points in Round 1

September 19, 1997

Takedowns translate into tackles. A touchdown feels an awful lot like a pin.

So says Ventura High senior Cristobal Gonzalez, who finished third in the state wrestling championships at 189 pounds last season. Thanks to some prodding by his friend and teammate Joe Martinez, Gonzalez is putting on the pads for the first time since his freshman year.

His varsity debut was a smash. Gonzalez, who starts at fullback and inside linebacker, scored a touchdown on a 29-yard pass play, registered a sack and got in several good hits during the Cougars' 41-6 victory over Simi Valley.

"I haven't felt that good in a long time," Gonzalez said. "I couldn't wait to start hitting."

In Ventura's 5-2 defensive alignment, Gonzalez is an ideal complement to Martinez, an All-Ventura County linebacker. The pair spearhead a defense that allowed Simi Valley 39 yards.

"Everybody's double-teaming on Joe and leaving me free," Gonzalez said. "That's the best part."

Martinez splits time at fullback with Gonzalez and is a top wrestler at 215 pounds. He's pleased his friend came back to football.

"I let him know he fits into our defense well," Martinez said. "He's a competitor, so he came out. He brings an attitude to our team."

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