Jump to Varsity

The transition from freshman to starting Varsity football

Jump to Varsity

Giorgette Ruiz, Editor

As the 2021 football season kicked off, the Varsity team received an array of new players. Lo and behold, underclassmen seem to be making their mark, shining above the rest. These players, such as Manuel (Mani) Ramirez, are a prime example of how dedication and hard work can open up amazing opportunities. Despite being a sophomore, Ramirez made his mark by becoming a starting outside linebacker.

“[I]n the summer, I worked out with the Varsity guys every single day,” Ramirez said. ¨During the off-season, I immediately started working out to get better every single day and worked my tail off.”

The freshmen have their own team and can move up to JV or Varsity when they become sophomores. 

“The speed at which you play is very different. In freshman football, you have a couple [of] seconds to react, but on Varsity, you only have a split second to react. The way I was treated like a freshman was more laid back than Varsity. [In] Varsity, you have more eyes on you and the responsibility is way different. You have to go above the standard presented to you.¨

Growing up, he fostered a growth mindset and believed in earning his spot, both on and off of the field. With his family and mentors by his side, he felt as if he could accomplish anything he put his mind to. 

“Without him [father], I wouldn’t be [anywhere] close to where I am now,” he said. ¨He is the guy who pushed me to be better than I was. Coach Moreno made me understand that I’m a leader, and as an athlete, he really helped me understand the mental aspect of sports.¨

His fellow athletes greatly contributed to his welcoming to the Varsity team. Yet, senior cornerback Michael Tomaselli was his biggest influence on the field.

 ¨Michael Tomaselli made me understand what it takes to play Varsity; he took me under his wing.”

On August 27, Ramirez played in his first official Varsity game against Southwest Legacy. Although the game ended in 22-20, with the Panthers barely losing, the change in environment is what stuck with him the most. 

“I have concussed half the game so I don’t remember much. But I do remember the definite difference was the band playing in the background, it hypes us up. Playing with noise is so much better. Playing as a freshman is just people hitting each other with no background noise.” 

He makes his mark on and off the field. In fact, he is the sophomore class president and is among the top 10 students of his class, shining with his 4.79, or as he likes to round, his 4.8 GPA.

“It’s a lot of dedication with sports and school. I set goals in my head and I’m dedicated to reaching those goals at whatever cost. So, to me, I wanna be an A+ student and be able to be a good player too, so the way I do it is by making sacrifices. Nothing in life is free, you have to earn it.” 

His competitive mentality complements his sincere personality. He might not have all the time in the world, but he uses his time not just for himself but for others as well.

“Being a great athlete is not on the field, it’s in the classroom and the way you lead your peers. To be great you have to get out of your comfort zone and be willing to do things that others don’t want to do” 

We wish him the best of luck with the rest of his football career, as he still has 3 full years to grow and become a better player all around. Go Panthers!