By John Philip Wyllie
Seventh-ranked Eastlake High (4-1) continued its gridiron defensive domination last weekend in its 15-3 victory over Castle Park High (3-2). For returning Second Team All-Mesa League outside linebacker selection Luc Ruiz, the game was particularly memorable.
“Our game last week was very much a team effort, but Luc almost single-handedly destroyed them,” said Titan head coach, John McFadden. “He was our Defensive Play-er of the Week and scored a touchdown on a 65 yard interception return. He also contributed 13 tackles and played a great overall game.”
“Luc is a real good run-stuffer and he is among our team leaders in sacks,” McFadden added.
Ruiz is part of an outstanding defensive nucleus that includes a quartet of returning First Team All-League selections in safety Stephen Carr, defensive end, Charles Parker and linebackers Marcus Yarborough and Frank Vel-asquez. With that kind of talent on defense, it is easy to see why Eastlake’s defensive 11 rank among the best in the county.
Unlike many of his teammates, Ruiz never played Pop Warner or youth football. Former Chargers All-Pro Linebacker, Junior Seau, a close friend of his father, was the first person to suggest that Ruiz might have what it takes to become a good football player.
“I was a fullback in my freshman and sophomore years,” Ruiz recalled. “I ran for more than 600 yards as a freshman and I had about 500 yards on the JV team as a sophomore. At camp (prior to the beginning of the 2004 season) my coach decided to try me out as an outside linebacker. I listened to what needed to be done and I ended up starting.”
Having been on the offensive side of the ball for his first two seasons, Ruiz developed a strong fundamental knowledge of offensive schemes. Armed with that knowledge, he is often able to anticipate what the offense is attempting to do. The results this season have been impressive. In five games this season, Eastlake’s stingy defense has allowed only 36 points and Ruiz has played a major role in that success.
His goals for this season are simple: win a league banner and become the most feared defense in the county en route to winning a CIF championship.
“My biggest (personal) goal is to play in the North-South All Star Game and then go on to play college football somewhere, maybe at San Diego State.”
“We have a young offense, but they are getting better and better every week. We know we have to play Grade A defense every single game while we are waiting for our offense to (mature). We have five weeks left of the regular season. We’ve got confidence that by the time we reach the playoffs our offense will be putting up a lot points on the board.”