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Quiet leadership

Moniz doesn’t care about awards as long as Canyon is successful

Posted: September 2, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Canyon lineman Shane Moniz is a returning All-Foothill League selection and the latest outstanding lineman produced by the school. But all he cares about is doing his job and helping the Cowboys win.

 
Attention doesn’t suit Canyon lineman Shane Moniz.

If he’s thrust into the spotlight, don’t expect him to shy away. But if he’s not the one who gets credit, don’t expect him to care.

“The other positions get in the newspaper,” says the senior. “But they aren’t clashing helmets every play.”

Moniz is, and the Cowboys are better for it.

Canyon has a tradition of strong line play, but a lot of the program’s most prominent names are at the skill positions.

Moniz was always too big to play at those spots. When he was younger, he couldn’t play Pop Warner because of his size.

He didn’t play organized football until his freshman year at Canyon, where he played on the freshman team.

“Shane is a representative of Canyon’s traditional linemen, strong and athletic with extreme toughness,” says Canyon head coach Chris Varner.

Shane learned from such Canyon standouts as Mike Spagnola and Japheth Gordon.

It led to a varsity spot heading into his sophomore season, but he ended up being sent back down to junior varsity — not because of his ability, but because the team needed linemen.

Some kids would rather reap the glory of being on varsity, even if they didn’t play.

Not Moniz.

“It did me good to go back down,” he says. “It gave me more confidence. I was excited to go back to JV.”

The other players looked up to Moniz, who led by example.

“There are always downsides to leadership,” he says. “But I figure if you’re with it, why not stick with it?”

When he came up to varsity full-time as a junior, he immediately became the starter at right tackle.

He earned a second-team All-Foothill League selection for his efforts, and this year he has moved over to left tackle, which is the most important position in pass protection.

He was also a force at defensive tackle.

Both positions will be vital for Canyon this season.

Head coach Chris Varner has pledged a commitment to stopping the run on defense, and the new starting quarterback, Jonathan Jerozal, is only a sophomore.

So on one side, Moniz will have to defend a quarterback. On the other, he’ll seek to destroy one.

“Shane is the anchor of the offensive line and is vital in terms of success for us on the offensive side of the ball,” Varner says. “On defense, he is a great change-up for run stopping or pass-rush responsibilities.”

Moniz’s duties play right into his favorite part of football.

“Hitting,” he smiles, without hesitation.

Moniz says he loves exploding off the line and hitting opponents quicker and harder than they do. Sometimes they’re surprised when he does.

Moniz believes the element of surprise is going to help Canyon this fall.

In the discussion of Foothill League favorites, the attention is going to other teams.

“I like it when no one expects it,” Moniz says. “We come and smash them in the helmet, and they know Canyon came to play. When you’re expected to win, it’s harder.”

It’s the same kind of anonymity that Moniz embraces as a lineman.

“You hear time and again how you don’t get attention,” he says. “Football people know the time linemen put in. Sometimes you work an hour longer than everyone else (at practice).”

If Moniz gets his wish, he’ll end up working longer than a lot of his teammates.

Moniz says he is getting looks from the University of Arizona, San Jose State and Holy Cross, as well as Weber State in Utah, where former teammate Jordan Adamczyk will suit up this fall.

With a return to the playoffs in Canyon’s sights and potential college offers on his plate, there’s a lot at stake for Moniz this season.
He isn’t shying away. But don’t expect him to clamor about it.

“I’m just going to take this season as it comes, see what my options are after the season,” he says. “I can’t just be thinking for myself. I can’t relax because I know I still have more seasons in front of me. Other kids are playing their final season.”

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