BATTLE FOR THE SWORD: West's Wallace a leader in the trenches
Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:11 a.m.
Maybe there is a reason Jake Wallace listens to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" before football games.
Something about the opening line - "Say your prayers, little one" - applies to hard rock fans, and anyone who lines up across from the senior left tackle at Victoria West.
Wallace leads his team in pancake blocks this season, and is a big reason why the Warriors average 273 rushing yards per game. Metallica and prayer are part of a pregame routine that has been exceptionally effective this year.
"He's a run-blocking dude," said Victoria West assistant Dustin Meaux. "He's good at the other stuff too, but I think his passion is to smash people."
Meaux, who primarily works with the Warriors linemen, said the 6-foot-3 Wallace has the size, technique and characteristics to be a prototypical offensive lineman.
Like Jonathan Vahalik, his fellow bash brother on the left side of the Warriors offensive line, Wallace started his career at center. He was there on the freshman team at Memorial, but when Leonard McAngus became the head coach at West before the 2010 season, Wallace was moved to left tackle.
"Moving to left tackle was a bigger responsibility and it's a much more fun position, I think," Wallace said. "I get to move a lot more and I don't have to worry about snapping the ball."
When Wallace was moved outside to tackle, snapping the football may have been the least of his concerns, considering he was 185 pounds when he started.
Since then he's bulked up to 245 pounds. With a laugh, Wallace said good technique and good coaching allowed him to be a left tackle while weighing less than 200 pounds.
When he was a sophomore Wallace said he looked up to former Warriors Josh Morgan and Jacobi Eldridge. Those two helped him get adjusted to varsity football and he's trying to pay it forward.
When asked why the 2012 Warriors have started the season so well, Wallace's answer was simple: leadership. He said the Class of 2013 has stepped up and taken control of the team. Vahalik, Jorge Garcia, Garrett Rother and Xavier Ramos are some Wallace singled out for their leadership.
Another attribute of West this year, has been their selflessness. Everyone is willing to deflect the credit for the team's success elsewhere.
"He has the leadership skills to drive what we do," Meaux said. "In the scheme we have he's on an island by himself sometimes."
Wallace and the rest of the seniors may have changed the culture of the Warriors football program. One thing they have yet to do is beat Victoria East. One might argue when it comes to football Titans are the beasts under the bed, in the closet and in their heads.
"It would be a very special thing," Wallace said. "It would show that this team is different than all the other years. This would be the first time we've beat them."