Forming a legacy to last

Bright lights. Loud cheers. But the only thing #7 is focused on is the field. He scans the opposing team’s offensive line, crouched and ready. One player breaks away from the line and receives the ball, looking to score a touchdown. With hawk-like reflexes, #7 lunges forward and brings the player down. That exhilarating moment is what senior Christian Elias loves about playing football.

Elias completed 21 tackles in an away game against West Covina on Friday, Oct. 13, breaking the previous six-year school record of 20 tackles, which was shared by Robert Herrera, Moses Hurtado, Randy Collins and Chima Ike. Elias played center on offense for the first time that game, playing for the majority of the game on both offensive and defensive teams.

“I was relieved. I was like ‘I finally did it’. Ever since I started playing, that [was] the one thing I wanted to do — I wanted to beat that record,” Elias said. “I would look at the 20 tackles all the time, [and think] ‘one time I want to do this’ and it happened. It’s surreal.”

Elias practices three hours a day with the varsity football team, and his practices can often last until 9:30 p.m. His team workout consists of sprints, weightlifting, bear crawls, seal walks, rolls and dive bombers. The team also incorporates runs into their workouts to increase speed and power, which is essential when tackling the opposing team.

“I put in a lot of long hours, and I can say that they do pay off. Coach Peralta always says football is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. I always live by that. I just want to go out everyday and be the best I could be,” Elias said.

Elias’ father, Pete Elias, played on the 1986 and 1987 Walnut varsity football team and inspired him to start football in his freshman year. Because of his father, Elias was exposed to football at a young age and has since found a love for the sport.

“I look up to my dad because he’s the extra push that I need. My work ethic comes from him,” Elias said. “ I don’t like to live in his image, to be honest. My passion for football comes from just trying to be the best everyday. I don’t let anyone outwork me.”

Elias is known on the team for his leadership and his flexibility as both a defensive and offensive player.

“I think he’s one of the seniors that shows great leadership [and] plays with a passion for the game and his team. I was very lucky to inherit a senior that loves the game that much. He’s fantastic,” Peralta said. “When you’re learning a new system, whether it be offense or defense, there’s a period of adjustment or a learning curve, but I think he’s taken to coaching very well.”

Elias hopes to break his record once again through hard work and training. In the future, he plans to become an engineer in college and pursue football professionally as a long snapper.

“It’s expected of me. I’m supposed to do that. I always try to get the most [tackles] I can get,” said Elias. “I want to go out everyday and be the best I could be. If you go out everyday and think about being the best, that’s how you’re going to be the best. I always tell myself, ‘if you’re not first, you’re last.’”

By Raymond Dunn, Staff writer
Photo by Christopher Chan