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Hart linebacker looking to lead a once-great defense back to prominence

Posted: September 3, 2009 11:02 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart senior Christian Blumel will lead a linebacking corps looking to key the Indian's defense this season. Last year, Hart finished 5-6 and gave up 297 points, something Blumel wants to turn around in 2009.

 
Hart head football coach Mike Herrington called last season the worst of his coaching career.

At 5-6, the Indians gave up 297 points and still advanced to playoffs, but were ousted in the first round by Atascadero 34-21.

Why such a down year?

According to the head coach, who is now in his 21st year at the helm, one of the biggest reasons came from one of the school's most storied positions - linebacker.

"Last year our linebacker play was not up to Hart standards," Herrington says. "It is nothing against those kids, it is just that we didn't play well and our defense gave up a lot of points. We hope to improve and that is one of the ways we hope to improve - our linebacker play."

Enter 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound senior linebacker Christian Blumel.

"Last year was definitely a joke," Blumel says. "It's not how Hart High football should have been represented. This year, we are looking healthy and coming out strong. We just have to come out the first game and make a statement let everyone know that we are back and that we haven't gone anywhere."

Last season, Blumel appeared in only six games, primarily getting his chance to shine when then-senior Demitri Diamond went down with an injury.

He ended the year as a starter and had his best game in the season finale, recording 10 total tackles.

But Blumel first gave the Indians a glimpse of his true abilities in a game steeped in tradition.

Every year when Hart squares off with Canyon, people pay close attention.

Last season, it was even named the Great American Rivalry Series Game of the week.

Blumel recorded six tackles.

The game got senior running back Jake Stephens' attention, who singled out the contest as one of Blumel's stronger performances.

By season's end, he had moved up to seventh on the team with 40 total tackles.

Coming into 2009, Herrington says the linebacker is playing with a lot more confidence and his improvement is noticeable.

"He's head and shoulders above where he was last year at this time," Herrington says.

If you ask Blumel, the key difference this year is passion.

"We are lot more enthusiastic," he says. "We are pumping each other up."

His enthusiasm will be essential as he leads linebackers Hayden Scott, a junior, and senior John Cornelius, who posted 29 tackles a year ago.

Herrington says Blumel's leadership will be very important, not just among the linebacking corps, but for the entire team.

"He's got to lead by example," he says.

More than just upholding the tradition set forth by players like Brian Elledge, Pat Norton, Dan Howell and Patrick Larimore, it is the here and now that gets Blumel going.

"I know it is my job to pick up the defense and make sure we stop (the other team), make sure the other team doesn't get in the end zone because I know these guys are going to score," he says. "That is a no-brainer. ... The defense needs to pick it up and make all the stops we can to give our offense the advantage."

And the offense has confidence in him.

"I think he is going to be really good this year," Stephens says. "He comes in with an attitude. He's not the biggest guy, but he'll hit you."


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