Freshman players on varsity football team


Anthony Luna

Fredrick Lujan #24 in action tackling #12 from Alta Loma High School.

Jennifer Pineda , Feature Reporter

When four players and the coach of the Don Lugo Varsity Football team were asked what the difference between Varsity, JV, and Frosh is, they all gave the same answer. Each one explained that Frosh is for freshmen without much experience, JV is for those who have more potential but need to improve, and Varsity is for the older kids who are more skilled.

Greg Gano, the coach of the football team, stated that it is very rare to pull up freshmen to the Varsity team. Gano made the choice on his own over the summer during the football summer camp. He stated, “I made the choice to pull them up mainly based on their skill, but these kids are very strong and have a great attitude.” The two new freshmen on Varsity are Fredrick “Fatboy” Lujan and Gilbert “Gibby” Galindo.

To be on varsity, you have to play like varsity.”

— Gilbert Galindo

Lujan, #24, has been playing football for 7 years, and started playing because when he was young he would watch the players on television and wanted to be just like them. Having professional players as role models is important because he has people to look up to, and it shows when he plays. He explained how his first Varsity game was very nerve-wracking because of the much larger crowd.

Larger crowds make Frederick nervous because they can see him mess up, but they also get to see him play the best he can. He has slowly adapted over time and now he is not as nervous because he just plays and focuses on the game rather than the crowd size. He got on Varsity because when the coaches watched him play over the summer, they were impressed by his skill level for his age, and saw him as a valuable addition to the team.  When Lujan was asked if he’d like to join Varsity, he gave them an excited “Yes!”

Fredrick “Fatboy” Lujan, #24. Photo Courtesy of Jennifer   Pineda.

The team’s reaction to his playing was nothing but good, they were excited by his skill and shocked by his age. His family’s reaction was a little different. They were scared because he was so much younger than the people he was playing with.

His family’s worries only made him work harder to prove that he could do it and that he deserves his spot on Varsity. Being on the team has helped him both on and off the field. Lujan shared how football has kept him on track with his grades and he helps out a lot more at home.

If freshman have the talent, then they shouldn’t be held back, they should be able to play.”

— Joseph Galindo

Galindo, #28, has been playing football for 8 years, and began playing as a tribute to his father. Galindo’s father passed away when he was young, “I never got the chance to play when he was here, so when he passed I started playing for him.” Having such a strong connection with one’s role models is important. Galindo had this with his father and his older brother, Joseph “JoJo” Galindo, #22. “It is a blessing to have my brother on the team with me,” beamed Gilbert. He feels that without his brother on the team, he would be lost and would have to struggle much harder. Over the summer, Gilbert worked hard and the coaches saw when he was mature on the field and watching out for others- staying on top of them.

Gilbert “Gibby” Galindo, #28. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pineda.

When Gano asked Galindo if he wanted to be pulled up to Varsity and Galindo agreed, the teams’ reactions varied: Frosh were upset because they wouldn’t be able to play with their friend. JV was happy for him and Varsity was excited to have “fresh meat”. He was excited to play his first game with a new team and his brother, and the game went great.

When Joseph was asked how he felt that his brother speaks so high of him and sees him as a role model, he responded that he should be thanking Gilbert because of how much his younger brother has impacted his life. He explained, “It is great having my baby brother on the team because I thought we would be bumping heads but our bond is actually stronger then ever.” Joseph described how football has helped Gilbert become more mature with his choices, because he cares more about his school work to stay on the team. Gary Garcia, #30, is on the team with these players, and mentioned how he believes this was a smart choice, especially because the kids fit in so well with the team. He explained how he sees the new freshmen work harder than everyone else because they have to fight for their spot on Varsity, and how they work harder mentally. When Garcia was asked how important it is to have a strong bond among a team, he simply replied, “Very important.” It is important to have a strong bond because it improves communication on the field when they play, and brings the team close as possible.

Football is all family, you have to be brothers on this team.”

— Gary Garcia