The one bad thing about time is you can never get it back.
Nobody knows that better than Carson inside linebacker Gerardo Lobato, who leads the Senators into Friday’s Homecoming contest against Bishop Manogue at 7 p.m. at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
After a stellar JV season as a sophomore, Lobato was expecting to see playing time at outside linebacker, and he did the first two games.
His season came to an abrupt end when he suffered a high ankle sprain against Reno, which essentially sidelined him for the bulk of the season. He did return late in the year, but unfortunately he wasn’t the same player.
Lobato admitted the injury and inability to play was tough to take. Instead of self pity, Labato went out and worked hard, putting on 30 pounds to get up to 205. He’s now playing at about 195.
When summer practice started, Lobato was at middle linebacker, and he’s started every game thus far. In five games, he’s been in on 54 tackles, second on the team to Ikela Lewis. He also has one fumble recovery.
“I lifted really hard in the off-season and started eating more to gain weight,” Lobato said on Wednesday. “I also gained a lot of strength. It (the weight gain) hasn’t helped my speed, but I still have some speed. I think they saw my strength was a lot better, so they decided to put me there. The weight has helped me take on blocks better; I can deliver the blow instead of being knocked back.
“It’s gone pretty good so far. We’ve had a successful season on defense. I think it’s a strength of our team. The defensive linemen have been doing great which helps us do our jobs.”
Coach Blair Roman said it was his intent to move Labato inside all along.
“Gerardo had an exceptional year on the JV team as a sophomore,” Roman said. “That high ankle sprain was a pretty debilitating injury. We’ve had guys who have played very little as juniors that do well as seniors, and I think Gerardo has done that.
“Not only has he played well, but he’s solidified the defense on the whole. He’s improved his squat by about 100 pounds. He always had a good upper body.”
For the first five weeks, Lobato has worked in tandem with Ikela Lewis. Starting Friday, he’ll be working alongside Nolan Shine. Lewis and Shine are swapping defensive spots.
“Nolan is a better middle linebacker than he is an outside linebacker,” Labato said. “Everybody has to do their job. If I’m responsible for stopping the run at the point of attack, Nolan is responsible for the cutback or vice versa. Nothing will really change.”
One area where Lobato has improved is reading offenses; play recognition.
“I’m getting a lot better,” he said. “I read the offensive line. Coach (Shane) Quilling has taught me well. He’s a really good linebacker coach. I read the tackle and guard. They are going to take you to where the play is.
“I have to learn to get off blocks together. If the blocker gets to me it means I’ve been indecisive on my read. I need to make my read quicker and fill the gaps (he has B gap to B gap).”
Roman said that film study and chalk talk sessions have helped Lobato get better. Roman said he and his staff put a lot of emphasis in watching film as a team
“Some kids (and do) can watch film on their own,” Roman said. “A lot of high school kids need guidance on how to watch film. We, as coaches, watch a lot of film with the kids, and they are able to watch on their own, too. “Gerardo has improved his reads. He is starting to play faster, more instinctively. To do that, you have to know the play. He is good at recognizing offensive sets. He has to make calls like a center does on offense.”
Sort of like having another coach on the field, and that’s a positive for any coach.