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Huddle up: Elijah Zabludoff on high school football

October 21, 2013|By Elijah Zabludoff
  • St. John Bosco center Elijah Zabludoff
St. John Bosco center Elijah Zabludoff (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles…)

Editor’s note: Elijah Zabludoff is a senior football player from St. John Bosco High and an aspiring journalist. Each week during the high school football season, he will be blogging about his personal experiences and also his thoughts about prep sports in general. Zabludoff is a returning starter at center for the Braves, who are ranked No. 1 in the Southland by the Los Angeles Times.

I am the center for St. John Bosco, a football team who runs a fast-paced, quick-hitting offense. The goal every week is to be the fastest team on the field, and to show off the artistry of the no huddle offense.

When the play ends, I have to be the first on the ball, calling out what I see in the defense and getting the play into my fellow linemen. I must know everybody’s assignment on every play, and know exactly what the play is designed to do. I may or may not hold a bias toward center, but I believe it’s the toughest position to play on the offensive line.

Over time, the position has changed. It all started with a center that had the ball in one hand and the other hand in the ground. Being in what's called a four-point stance gave the center the ability to fire off as if he weren’t a center.

Now, in more complicated offenses, the ball needs to be snapped yards backwards and centers need to be able to see more than what's just right in front of them. Now we're out of a four-point stance and our heads are up.

Simplicity used to be the name of the game for pro-style centers, but with the development of the run and pass game, adjustments, quickness, and the ability to avoid problems and obstacles are keys to the job. Knowing everything that is going on during a game is difficult but there is something truly special about being the quarterback of the line.

Like every position in football, centers have worst fears. Personally, mine is firing back a snap that sails over the quarterback’s head that takes us out of scoring position. However, if I play with that fear in me, it’s bound to happen. If I put my fear behind me, it will not happen.  As a center, playing without fear is the key to success. I tell myself before every game, “be quick, but don’t hurry.”

I am also a firm believer that superstitions, and lack thereof, can influence how you play or feel. Each Wednesday, the offensive line goes to the same Italian restaurant, orders the same meal, and sits in the same seats. Every Thursday, I wear the same socks and shoes, and Friday starts with wearing the same school uniform and ends with a post-game lollipop. Thanks to the cheerleaders, I have been set for the entire season, and have never forgotten to eat one after the games.

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Last Friday, on Senior and Homecoming night, the St. John Bosco Braves defeated the Orange Lutheran Lancers 42-24.

Down 17-14 at halftime, the Braves went into the locker room feeling confident that we could overcome the deficit and win the game. The coaches told us, “We’ve been in this position before. Make the adjustments and win the second half.”

We came out fired up, and there was no way the group of seniors we have was losing that game. Sophomore Sean McGrew had two huge touchdowns in the second half, and Nas Anesi scored to put us up, 42-17, sealing the game for the Braves.

The game was exciting and exhibited what Trinity League football is all about: smash mouth, physical football. The win was a preface for a dance that was the time of my life. Me and my crew walked in, dates on our arms, looking suave as ever. Necks were breaking as we hit the dance floor.  Nothing should be said of the moves we displayed, but let’s just say they showed off our superior footwork. It was a fun weekend to be a center.

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