By John Philip Wyllie
South Bay League offensive and defensive lineman will have two big problems two worry about when they face Castle Park High this season. 6’3” 318 pound senior Tommy Sanchez is one of them and his “little” brother Rocco, a mere 6’2” 302 pounds, is the other.
On offense, the Trojans use the two behemoth brothers side by side to open holes for star running back De Raun Deadwiler. On defense, they usual share the nose tackle position although occasionally they line up side by side in the middle of the Trojans formidable defense. Average high school lineman generally weigh about 230 pounds and some weigh considerably less. That creates a mismatch and a tremendous advantage for the Trojans.
The Sanchez brothers are a lot more than just big. They are very strong and equally determined.
“They can each bench press over 350 pounds and squat over 400 lbs.,” according to Castle Park head coach, Paul Van Nostrand. “They are also good students, very respectful and hard working. They are fun to coach.”
In football, there is no substitute for size and strength. It is no wonder that the two have been receiving a steady stream of inquiries from some of the nation’s top collegiate programs. Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska have all sent letters and more are coming in every day.
“I would like to go as far as I can in football,” the elder Sanchez said. “I’d love to play for USC and major in psychology. After that, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Rocco, still only a junior, has the potential to be the best of the three Sanchez brothers that have played at Castle Park High. His impressive showing at a recent scouting combine raised some eyebrows and helped to identify him in one sports publication as one of our nation’s top 100 high school players.
“I knew there would be a lot of scouts there, so I came into that combine highly motivated,” Rocco recalled. “I wanted to give it my all. I guess it worked out pretty well.”
Off the field, the brothers get along well and enjoy each other’s company. On the field, it’s all business.
“They have an excellent relationship,” according to Van Nostrand, “but they are very competitive. They get after each other.”
That sibling rivalry has motivated both of them to become better players. The importance of working hard on the field and in the classroom has also always been stressed at home.
Excelling on the gridiron and the classroom simultaneously is a difficult challenge but one the brothers are meeting. Rocco believes that time management is the key.
“It takes a lot of motivation to show up out here every day and give it all that you’ve got. After practice, everybody is tired, but you have to use the little time that you have to get your homework finished.”
Players like Deadwiler will be scoring most of the touchdowns and getting most of the media attention this season, but without players like Tommy and Rocco Sanchez doing the grunt work up front, Deadwiler would have little room to run. The same is true on defense where linebackers John Mena and Anthony Ollier have recorded most of the tackles. They can thank the Sanchez brothers for at least part of their success since the double teaming they require frees them up to attack the ball carrier. The Trojans (2-1) host the Chula Vista Spartans (1-2) tonight at 7:00 p.m.