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6 Tulare CounTy FooTball Preview HoMe GROWN TalenT High school football fans who frequent Strathmore's Spartan Stadium realize one thing: they like to run the ball — and for good reason. The Spartans have had some good running backs over their long history, like Jesse Soria in 2009, holder of five records going into the 2016 season. But those who watched the best season in Spartan history, also watched possibly be their best running back ever in Joseph Garcia. On the field, Garcia lets his legs do the talking for him, and in 2016, they did a lot of rambling. Over the course of the season, Garcia broke three of Soria's rushing records. Garcia rushed for a total of 2,345 yards, which broke the old record of 2,337. He also scored 40 touchdowns on the ground and added another six through the air. It seemed that Garcia's talent got better as the games got bigger. In the 6-A Southern California Regional Game against the Horizon Christian Academy Panthers, Garcia took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. Then, it took him 31 attempts to rush for 420 yards giving him the school's single game rushing record. The seven touch- downs that he scored in that game tied with Juan Medrano for most in a single game. While the records speak for themselves as to Garcia's talent, he knows who should be getting a lot of the credit. "It means a lot to hold all these records, but I could not have done it without my offensive line," said Garcia. For the past two years, Garcia has been known as a power runner who likes to run over would- be tacklers. This offseason, he has been working on his agility in the hopes that he can make the player miss instead of trying to run over him. He has also become more physically toned, adding five pounds of muscle to his build. As of now, no colleges have come to offer him the chance to play football for their school. Garcia's hope is that either UCLA or Fresno State come knock- ing with chances to join their teams. While attending college, Garcia would like to study business, but is unsure on what type. JOSePH garCia Running Back / Strathmore Spartans The Central Valley Christian Cavaliers have been blessed with a consistently sizable front line. Good thing, too, because they have a quarter- back who needs some protecting if he is going to lead his team to a Central Sequoia League title, and possibly beyond. JJ Lino started all 12 games for the Cavs in 2016 and padded his career stats mightily. In his career under center, with the majority of his experience gained in his junior year, Lino has passed for 2,722 yards, 29 touchdowns, and rose to a .591 completion percentage. When asked about the position he plays, Lino looks past the stats and jumps right into his love of the game. "I like a lot of the responsibility that I have. You know coaches put a lot trust in quarterbacks, and it's a big job. But, mostly, I like being able to be back there and see everything. It's a lot of fun," Lino said about his position as the CVC signal caller. The most talented part of his game is going on between his ears. Lino said that his improvement has been focused on the mental side of football, looking over defenses and memo- rizing the more complicated play calls. "I think it's more about me spending time watching film, and making sure that I know what we are supposed to be doing, and making sure we're doing it right," Lino said. And, if there is some- thing he wants to prove before he takes off his Cavaliers jersey at the end of his senior season, it is his leadership skills. Lino said that he hopes to be a leader that keeps his guys fighting. "Last year was kinda rough, and this year is going to be just as tough. We have a really tough schedule and I hope that I can help this team face adversity and keep going." even before his senior year has started, Lino's work and leader- ship have already been recognized. Walking into his last year as a Cav, he has an offer on the table from Dordt College in Iowa, a small Christian college. Lino said that it is a nice little school, but more than that, it was an eye opener. Once he got the offer Lino realized that he could take his skills to the next level and play beyond Friday nights and into Saturdays during the day. "It's pretty sweet, but I want to make sure that I'm focusing on this season and finishing strong and then playing at the next level." JJ lino Quarterback / Central Valley Christian Cavaliers

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