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Huddle up: Elijah Zabludoff on high school football

September 02, 2013|By Elijah Zabludoff
  • St. John Bosco center Elijah Zabludoff
St. John Bosco center Elijah Zabludoff (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles…)

Last Friday night, the greatest thing on earth got underway: the high school football season.

Compton Dominguez vs. St. John Bosco. For a night, that’s the only thing that mattered to us. The Friday night lights beamed down on us and the Braves beat the Dons, 40-7.

On three offensive drives, the Braves scored on their first play from scrimmage and the defense was nails against Dominguez’s Double Wing-T offense. Junior Josh Rosen threw for five touchdowns — four to Jaleel Wadood and one to Shay Fields. But the greatest moment of my night was before the game started, walking out to mid-field with my fellow co-captains: Naijiel Hale, an Arizona commit, Jaleel Wadood, a Cal commit, and Damien Mama, a player with more offers than the average person can keep track of.

Damien, a senior left tackle, is, without a doubt, the biggest human being I have ever laid eyes on. He stands at 6 feet 5 inches and weighs in at 350 pounds. He moves like a cheetah, but runs through defenders like a Mack truck. Damien is one of the most highly sought offensive line recruits in the nation, and has an offer from just about every major Division 1 program in the country.

Damien gets recruited left and right: at practice, on the phone, through mail, etc. He handles it unbelievably well; he manages to stay focused on school and high school football. He has his priorities set completely straight and is one of the most modest kids you will ever meet. Never has he boasted about his offers or personal achievements. Instead, he looks to put the spotlight on his teammates. His leadership is unmatched and his play raises the play of the Braves around him. No one can get jealous of him because of the way he conducts himself.

I wish everyone could know Damien Mama the way we know him. He’s an absolute monster on the field, but it brightens the day to see him leisurely strolling around at break, strumming ukulele and sweetly singing.

All of our team looks up to the Samoan behemoth because they strive to play at the level he does. It’s really stunning to see how many college coaches come watch practice, and all that does is give more exposure to everyone around him. Nothing about the recruiting life of Damien is hectic because he truly handles it like a professional.

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