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Male athlete of the year: Desi Rodriguez

Rodriguez was electric on the football field in leading the 2008 Cents

Posted: July 3, 2009 8:50 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
His helmet tells the story. The Riddell Revolution, each scrape a badge of honor, has seen its share of action.

By game’s end, the finish features remnants of the opposing team — parting gifts, if you will.

But odds are there aren’t many.

After all, most defenders were too busying laying on the ground wondering where Desi Rodriguez went and how he just broke their tackle.

In reality, his true badge of honor when the clock hit zero was that his helmet maintained a consistent silver sheen through all 48 minutes.

Sure, he was only dominant in one sport, though he also contributed on the basketball court.

And as a quarterback, he was not a pure passer.

But bottom line, Rodriguez had ability to make you say, ‘Wow,’ at any given moment.

In arguably the most physically taxing sport, he played possibly the toughest position.

Every game, opposing defenses honed in on the Saugus star, but he still made them pay.

The coaches took notice.

So did others.

In 2008, Rodriguez was named the All-CIF-Southern Section Northern Division Offensive Player of the Year, Foothill League Player of the Year and The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year.

In no other sport was a local athlete so universally honored.

If you are looking for a testament to his heart, look no further than the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, when Thousand Oaks paid a visit.

Running back Ryan Zirbel was fighting an ankle injury and the talented Lancers had kept pace with Saugus all game.

Shouldering the load, Rodriguez carried the ball 37 times for 261 yards and three touchdowns and eventually hit tight end Mario Lara from 24 yards out for what proved to be the game-winner as the Centurions advanced with the 35-28 victory.

Passing, he racked up 1,655 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season.

On the ground, Rodriguez rushed for 1,788 yards with 20 scores — a legitimate dual threat.

But most importantly, at helm of the offense, the recent graduate led the Centurions to their first Foothill League title.

Now you can add The Signal’s 2008-09 Male Athlete of the Year to the Air Force-bound signal caller’s list of accomplishments.

His new helmet will feature a bolt of lightning.

Fitting.

Just ask the competition.

pputignano@the-signal.com

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