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Tulare CounTy FooTball Preview 9 STONE COLD DEFENSE o f course fans love the long bombs that fly through the air, only to be stopped by the outstretched hands of the receiver in the back of the end zone with just a single toe in bounds. Sidelines and crowds erupt in deafening cheers. but what spectators and players love more is the carnage of a big hit. The kind of hit that de- cleats a running back when he's looking in a pass just to be met by a thunderous shoulder pad to the chest. That is what keeps fans coming back again and again. Three of Tulare County's top linebackers heading into their se- nior seasons have brought the boom down on opposing offenses in their careers. alejandro linares from Granite Hills remembers one of his greatest hits against MacFarland. linares was eyeing a monstrous 6-foot-3, at least 230-pound running back leaking out to the flat waiting to catch the ball. what he got instead was rocked. "yeah, he for sure came off his feet. i put all my weight into him because i was pretty sure he was going to be the one to hit me," linares joked about the hit. The Granite Hills linebacker should not have been able to knock a 230-pounder off his feet. after all, linares stands at a modest 5 feet, 8 inches and 160 pounds. but the fact that he laid an "oooohhhhh" provoking hit on a player like that speaks volumes to his technique and skill at the position. linares' 2017 head coach Dan williams is new to town and likes what he sees in his linebacker, especially now that they've been through summer workouts. "alejandro brings a passion and a relentless effort to succeed. becoming a student of the game through video, questions and learning from other players makes him special," williams said. and lineras did not start out his football career at linebacker, either. it was not until he was a freshman that he started playing behind the defensive line. by his sophomore year, the varsity coaches saw a guy who was not afraid to stick his head into a pile and who could really flow toward the ball. linares impressed his coaches his first game on varsity when he picked off a pass PhotograPhy by ken weisenberger Tulare CounTy FooTball Preview 9

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