It is important for every football coach to have that player on the field who is his eyes and ears between the white lines.
For Tucson Sunnyside, senior Ruben Figueroa plays multiple positions over the course of a game and is almost like another coach for the Blue Devils during the game.
“He’s invaluable,” Sunnyside head coach Glenn Posey told Sports360AZ.com. “He gets it. He’s the kind of guy that no matter what we need, he does it. He’s run the ball, caught the ball and could probably throw the ball too.”
“I just think as a senior, I am trying to put my team on my back,” mentioned Figueroa. “Just doing what I can for everybody to get them on the same page.”
Figueroa lines up at running back but where he has really made his mark in the state is defensively, at linebacker, where he was one of the top tacklers in the state last season and has had a great first half of 2015. When asked what he ultimately hangs his hat on at the end of the day, he says it’s his leadership.
“My play of course and just making sure that everyone else is on the same level and same mentality that I know we can play at,” Figueroa explained. “And that I know that we want to be at.”
“He led the state in tackles last year and I always tease the defense because we were on the field too many times,” added Coach Posey. “But we force the plays to him. So his play allows us some more freedom to let him be a player.”
If you watch Sunnyside on Friday nights, you will notice this team plays with a chip on their shoulders. They play with grit, toughness and an edge that can really wear on opposing teams over the course of games. However, playing that style could also wear on them over the course of a season. Figueroa is at the forefront both during games and in practice so that this team never lets up.
“Practicing like it’s a game, being mentally tough and just knowing what we want to do as a team,” Figueroa stated. “We want to play 14 games this season so just keeping that goal in mind and that should be enough to keep our team going and hungry.”
“He’s got a swag about him and he doesn’t talk or mouth off or boast to anybody,” Coach Posey mentioned. “He’s the most unassuming guy. But man, when lights are on, he flips a switch pretty well.”
Sunnyside looks for a bounce-back win against cross-town rival Salpointe Catholic this Friday night.