One sure way to a football lineman’s heart is recognition. They don’t normally get much of it.
An even surer way is food. They devour it — all the better to gain mass and move opponents.
Beaumont High football coach Jeff Steinberg has combined recognition and chow to award deserving players a trip to Ramona’s Restaurant in Beaumont (249 W. Sixth St.).
There, a coach and the lucky offensive or defensive lineman partake in the “Nasty Burrito,” a plate full of meaty, cheesy and spicy goodness.
“It’s their signature wet burrito,” Steinberg said. “It’s difficult for one person to finish.”
No, it's not on the senior menu.
Steinberg said there’s an old adage that a football player should “play like Tarzan and eat like Jane,” but that not many linemen follow it.
The award helps to inspire players. When Redlands East Valley wins, coach Rich Lunsford distributes helmet stickers to those who score a touchdown, run for 100 yards, get a sack etc. The offensive player of the game gets a big “O” for his helmet and a “D” goes to a defensive player. REV also dispenses claw scratch decals and pancake stickers to offensive linemen.
“We don’t give actual pancakes,” Lunsford said. “The kids like to display them on their helmets. It’s like a letterman’s jacket — the more patches you have, the better player you are.”
This being the digital age, it makes sense that Yucaipa’s awards are online.
“We’ve given decals in the past, but not this year because of the short amount of time we had to prepare,” Yucaipa coach Justin Price said. “So we put Player of the Week awards on MaxPreps. It doesn’t just have to do with stats, but also excelling for a full week of practice, being unselfish and hustling, as well as how a player performs in a game.”
Wide receiver/defensive back Devrajsinh Zala, offensive lineman Francisco Cortez, inside linebacker Dylan Stevens and tight end/linebacker Wyatt Blackmon earned player of the game awards following Yucaipa’s 38-21 victory against Citrus Valley on March 27. Zala had two interceptions.
Banning dropped its opener 61-27 to Coachella Valley, but even in such a blowout, new coach Pete Smolin will find silver linings.
“Our acronym for our program is ACE which is attitude, character and effort,” said Smolin, the former Citrus Valley coach. “They get a horseshoe sticker for the back of their helmet if another player nominates them.”
San Gorgonio coach Rich McClure said he used to do a lot with statistics to award the players but has moved away from it because the kids became obsessed with them.
The Spartan coaches and players grade every play of a game and that’s a reward of a sort, but otherwise McClure said, “we’re not giving out hugs and lollipops.”