The math is simple.
Take O’Connor defensive end Jake Callaway. Add some muscle, but don’t subtract any speed and that equals seven tackles and three sacks in the Eagles’ Week 1 win against Boulder Creek.
“I’ve definitely gotten a lot bigger. I was tiny compared from last year to this year,” Callaway said.
The combination of that strength and speed is a newly-refined asset for Callaway. He was always tall, but was far from the player moving offensive linemen and taking down running backs with one arm. He is also getting more comfortable on the field.
“Jake is coming into his own. First, he’s grown physically,” O’Connor head football coach John Rodriguez said. “He’s starting to understand the game a little bit better. We still have to work on a few things with him, but he’s coming around.”
He’s come around as a result of a simple yet effective offseason plan.
“My dad has been force-feeding me protein shakes every meal, hitting the weight room once or twice a day. Just putting in work,” Callaway said.
The physical changes have added to his gameplay, but what hasn’t changed is his presence on the sideline. After each trip back from the field, Callaway is in the middle of the pack, high-fiving and hugging his fellow Eagles, keeping the focus on the task at hand.
“That’s just the player I am and have always been. That’s how I was coached, so I’ve always just carried that along now that I’m older.”
He’s trying to set the tone on and off the field for a unit that came out swinging in Week 1.
“I think this defense is unstoppable right now. We’re a family in there,” Callaway said. If we play like we did (Friday night), there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll shut down every team.”