Article from DailyBulletin.com
Brian Baiotto, Correspondent
Created: 09/07/2010 09:29:53 PM PDT
Despite the fact that Western Christian High School goes into just about every football game undersized and out-manned, the Lancers aren’t throwing in the towel.
That’s especially true for wide receiver Christian Solis.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior missed the final three games of last season’s disappointing 1-9 finish with an injury, but he still led the Lancers with 612 yards receiving and five touchdowns on 35 catches.
In addition to his offensive talents,Solis will also lead the defensive backfield in what he and coach Scotty Kirkpatrick believe could be a playoff year at Western Christian.
“Our depth has always been our Achilles’ heel, and as odd as this may sound to others, I couldn’t have been more proud of a 1-9 team last year, because they left it all out on the field,” Kirkpatrick said.
“This year should be a much more competitive year for us, and Christian will be a big key if we’re to make the playoffs.”
Solis is considered by his coaches and teammates a natural talent with good speed and soft hands who can make the tough catch in a crowd.
“You’re never disappointed with Christian, because he does everything the right way, and as good as he’s been, I think he can be even better if he takes his body to where it’s never been before,” Kirkpatrick said.
“He’s a kid I count on so much on the field, but I’m even more proud of the person he’s become off it.”
After Kirkpatrick’s mom suffered a major stroke in the off season, it was Solis’ text messages of concern and support that helped lift his coach’s spirits through a very trying time.
“I love football, but my first concern is being a good Christian and serving God and being the person He and my father, Armando, expect me to be,” Solis said. “If I can make a positive difference in someone’s life, I’m doing my job, and it makes me feel good to help everyone I can.”
It’s his love for Western Christian, his teammates and coaches that drives Solis to make the 40-plus-mile trip from his home in Westminster to school in Upland.
“On the football side, I am really frustrated with losing, and I know I can do much more to help my team win if I work as hard as I should and if I stay humble,” Solis said.
“This year can absolutely be different because I’ve taken my training to a new level, as have my teammates, and we have guys this season who are great athletes who want to compete and make a difference, and not those who just want to wear a uniform.”
Lancers quarterback Michael Mendoza and wide receivers Masis Torrosyan and Miguel Campero are expected to play a huge role in what Western Christian hopes will be a big resurgence for the football program.
“I felt like I let my teammates down last year when I was injured in the last three games and couldn’t help them make the difference I think I could have made in close games, so I’ve worked harder than I ever have before,” Solis said. “My dad has helped me become a good person and has kept me grounded as an athlete.”
Ontario Christian and Aquinas will likely continue their domination of the Ambassador League, but many inside the Western Christian program believe that it could compete for a postseason berth this season.
“We know we’ll need to outwork our opponents because we’re always outnumbered, but if we put it all together and play the way we’re capable, I have no doubts we have the ability and heart to make the playoffs,” Solis said. “I know the core of this senior class has the heart and desire to leave a special mark on this program.”
Whatever happens on the field for Solis and the Lancers this season remains to be seen, but Kirkpatrick believes Solis will have left a legacy for his younger teammates that includes being a great athlete and leader – and much more importantly to all at Western Christian, a good person.