November 21, 2008

Santos a Key to Southwestern Gridiron Success

By John Philip Wyllie

It has been 20 years since Southwestern College competed in a bowl game, but thanks to their remarkable come from behind victory over visiting Golden West Saturday night the American Mountain Conference co-champ Jaguars (7-3) are headed to Santa Barbara this weekend to face the Pasadena City College Lancers (6-4) in the Tremblay Financial Services Bowl.

Down 20-0 at the intermission, the Jaguars regrouped under the direction of coach, Ed Carberry and rode the arm of quarterback Ryan Nelson to forge an improbable 29-23 victory. Nelson was on fire in the second half of last weekend’s game completing 17 of 18 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Receivers Sheldon Galloway (112 yards) and George Bell (109 yards) combined with Nelson to torch the Rustlers secondary and lead the team to what could be the greatest victory in Jaguars history.


Small in stature but big in heart Rick Santos stars on the Jaguars O-Line. Photo: J.P. Wyllie.

While his name won’t appear in the any of the post-game statistics Jaguars offensive guard Rick Santos did his usual superb job of opening holes for the Jaguars running game and giving Nelson the time he needed to find his receivers.

“Rick is only 6’0” 250 lbs. so he is one of the smaller offensive lineman in college football,” according to Carberry. “He has consistently played against the best guys on the other team’s defensive line and he just battles the entire game. He will not give an inch. Without a doubt Rick has grit and that is incredibly important. He survives on technique and effort. When you have that you can always get it done.”

Santos, a Bonita Vista High product, learned the fundamentals training literally across the street from where he now plays. He credits Bonita Vista High line coach Greg Raby with providing him a solid foundation.

“Coach Raby was good coach and he taught me to always keep my feet moving and to stay low,” Santos said.

While he has developed into a solid all around offensive lineman, Santos prefers run blocking to pass protecting. Playing college football provides him with just the challenge he is looking for.

“I am undersized as you can see so it is a lot harder at this level because the guys I am playing against are bigger, stronger and faster than the guys I faced in high school. At Bonita we only ran a few plays, over here it took me a few weeks to learn all of the plays,” Santos said.

Adjusting on the gridiron has been one challenge. Adjusting to the increased academic expectations has been another.

“The teachers here aren’t on you like they are in high school. Either you do the work or the teachers will drop you.”

Santos hopes to continue playing football and continue his education after he graduates from Southwestern College in the spring of 2010. He is looking toward a degree in Business Administration and to transfer most likely to San Diego State.”

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