October 24, 2008
By John Philip Wyllie
In football, it is usually the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers that get all the glory. Offensive guards generally fly below the radar as they battle in the trenches doing the grunt work up front. Despite being only a junior, Otay Ranch’s Andrew King has emerged as a leader on the Mustangs O-Line. Having upset eighth-ranked Bonita Vista last weekend in a 22-17 thriller King and his Mustang teammates have positioned themselves for a run at the Mesa League title.
“Last year, as a sophomore Andrew got called up to varsity in the middle of the season and he did a really great job for us,” said Mustangs head coach Brad Burton. “He started for us the second half of the season. This year he has taken on a leadership role. He is a hard worker and a bright kid. At 6’1” 252 he is a bigger kid and yet he is very athletic and aggressive.”
King’s versatility is one of the many things that make him special.
“His athleticism allows us to run a lot of different stuff on offense,” added Burton’s brother, Mitch, who serves as the Mustang’s offensive coordinator. “He’s a good pass blocker, he can pull and he can drive block. He can do all the things you that you want an offensive lineman to do.”
While teammates like quarterback, Juan Leary and running back Jordan Jenkins bask in the glory following big games like the one they had last Saturday, King has to be content in the knowledge that without guys like him clearing the lanes and neutralizing the pass rush the team would flounder.
“I think the offensive lineman should be the stars because without them there would be no team. There is no big running back without the O-Line and no big quarterback either. Every play starts with the O-Line.”
Unlike many high school players King never played Pop Warner football as a kid. His first experience with organized football came as a freshman two seasons ago. What he lacks in experience however, he makes up in intelligence and aggressiveness.
King’s father was born in Germany and his mother hails from Tijuana. He is proud of both sides of his family tree.
When I was in Little League I used to play baseball in Tijuana. My grandmother still lives there and we visit her from time to time. I speak a little Spanish, but I understand it a lot better than I speak it,” King said.
King is as good in the classroom as he is on the gridiron. His 3.5 G.P.A. attests to that. Like many Hispanic students, King has benefitted by being part of AVID.
“I have been involved in AVID over the last few years. They teach us how to prepare for college and how to take notes,” King said. He believes the organizational skills he has learned through the program will help him down the road.
At this point King has no idea where he will go after he graduates, but college is definitely in his future. He hopes to earn an athletic scholarship and it might not be in football.
“I have played baseball since I was three or four so I kind of see myself playing that in college. I have played baseball a lot longer so I know more about it.”
Whether he makes his name on the collegiate baseball diamond or on the gridiron one thing is certain. Whoever gains his services will be getting a quality athlete with a positive attitude and a solid work ethic.