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Huddle up: Elijah Zabludoff on high school football

September 09, 2013|By Elijah Zabludoff
  • St. John Bosco High School quarterback Josh Rosen, left, and center Elijah Zabludoff, who are both Jewish, are photographed during football practice on Sept. 19, 2012.
St. John Bosco High School quarterback Josh Rosen, left, and center Elijah… (Christina House / For The…)

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.

It was just another normal Thursday morning walk-through for members of the St. John Bosco High football team. However, it happened to fall on the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah. Quarterback Josh Rosen and I, the team’s center, are the only two Braves players of Jewish descent, so naturally we both wore our Yamakas.

We strolled up together with them atop our heads and every player and coach looked at us with a smile on their face. “What’s that for?” “What holiday is it?” “Can I wear it?” Every 10 seconds a different player was coming up to Josh and me firing off a question. In many cases, our buddies already know the answers. They just jokingly like to give us  a little bit of a hard time. It’s all respectful and in good fun, though.

Neither of us mind. Being Jewish at a Catholic school is fine. Ever since my freshman year, I have been accepted by the school and all those who attend. Never have I felt judged because of my religion. Modern Catholic schools are nothing like they are portrayed on TV; there are no nuns smacking students with rulers.

I really enjoy the discipline of the Catholic faith. It instills an intangible transcendent quality in a person that will be with them for their entire life. Yeah, the prayers do get a little overwhelming at times because it’s such a constant part of the culture, but the spirituality has put believers of other faiths in touch with their higher power. Being Jewish at SJB is great. We stand when we’re supposed to stand, bow when we’re supposed to bow, and respect the faith. There is no forceful figure trying to convert us, just teach us to be great men.

If you’re of different religion and nervous about going to St. John Bosco or any other Catholic school, don’t be -- it’s the greatest four years one could experience.

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My adrenaline was pumping as I ran up to the line and stared my opponent, four-star defensive tackle Jacob Daniel directly in the face. My heart was racing with excitement because all I wanted was to get the first hit of the game. It seemed like forever that he and I were glaring deep into each other’s eyes, trying to decipher what we were going to do.  After Josh said the cadence and we fired off the ball, it felt as if a million-pound brick was lifted off my back.

This week’s result against Clovis North, the top team from the Central Section, was not what anybody expected. It was an intense playoff-like atmosphere as two of the best teams in California faced off in Bellflower. But the Braves were able to shutout the Broncos, 48-0.

Every facet of SJB’s game was working: running, passing, defense, and elite kicking. It was a tough game and fun, and it left us wanting more. Our potential on both sides of the ball is great, and a game like this only motivates us more to go 16-0. So far, we’re 2-0, but next week is another big test as Chandler High from Arizona comes our way.

There’s nothing we want more than to finish the business we left unfinished last year – an undefeated, championship season -- but as the coaches remind us every week, we need to “take it one game at a time.”

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