While inspiring pregame and halftime speeches create intensity are the norm in movies, not all captains operate in the same way.
Marana Mountain View junior running back Richie Estrada is certainly a leader on his football team, but Estrada lets his actions, rather than Vince Lombardi-type speeches do the talking.
“He leads by example,” Mountain View coach Clarence McRae said. “You have vocal leaders and kids who lead by example. He’s not the (most) vocal kid, but his work ethic speaks for itself. He gets the most out of every rep and naturally that makes him a leader because kids see that and they want to compete with him.”
Talk to Estrada for a few minutes and his commitment to hard work is evident.
“I block everything out and focus on what I have to do to get better,” Estrada said of his practice habits. “I don’t take any play off. I put my all in it, 110 percent and I give every play everything I have. It comes from the heart, I’m the kind of guy that if you have to get to work you have to put your head down. That’s just my personality.”
Estrada’s importance to his team in seen simply by taking a glance at the statistics. In 10 regular season games and one postseason contest, Mountain View is averaging 250 rushing yards per game. Nearly 60 percent of those yards, 147 of them, come from Estrada.
Rushing yards are certainly important as they help a team move down the field, control the line of scrimmage and take time off the clock, but they are meaningless unless the offense finds a way to get the ball in the end zone, which Estrada also has a knack for doing.
Estrada has made 20 visits to the red zone this season with 19 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. The junior running back has had six games with multiple touchdowns and had a season-high six touchdowns in an October victory over Tucson Flowing Wells.
Estrada reminds his coach of former NFL Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon because of his ability to run with both power and speed.
“He’s one of the stronger kids on our team,” McRae said. “He runs very hard, but when he gets into the open field he’s a sprinter, he’s very fast … There are a lot of four- and five-yard runs but if he makes a guy miss he can go 75 or 80 yards. He’s a power guy with a lot of speed.”