Familiar Faces Return to Tustin

By Jasmine Vasquez

Shifting from an old school to a new school is nerve racking. One day the faces are familiar, friendly, and recognizable, and the next they are new, unfamiliar, and foreign. Competing for Tillers’ football their freshman year, juniors Carlos Larios and Robert Washington are back at Tustin High after switching schools their sophomore year. Carlos plays cornerback and wide receiver, while Robert plays running back and outside linebacker.

Throughout their last three years of high school, the boys grew close to the Tiller team and considered them their second family. However, a turn of events sophomore year sent both Carlos and Robert from Tustin High to El Modena. They transferred in search of a better place to play football.

In transferring, the two boys left behind some of their close friends, such as Derek Soto who continued to play football for Tustin. Unfortunately his season ended early due to an injury. At first, the change was difficult to adjust to, but eventually the two boys got used to it. They explained, “First we were happy to get this new start, but it wasn’t the same. Tustin was the place for us. We had a family there. We felt very alone at El Mo and that’s why we returned.” They were used to their own football training routine and at El Mo the training was completely different. The coaches weren’t as concerned about them as the rest of the team. Whereas, at Tustin the coaches made sure everyone had a helping hand and they could count on them for any advice or questions. They returned instead of staying at El Mo because they missed their teammates and coaches and were so used to their training. Changing schools at that time was a bad idea because old habits are hard to kill.

All in all, they decided to come back to Tustin their junior year. Along with their return, they each took a break from football, both for different reasons. Robert was injured, which held him back from continuing his football journey. Whereas, Carlos had issues with his grades that kept him from participating in the 2015 season. They both longed for and missed the days on the field. Robert hoped for a quick recovery and Carlos strived to improve his grades.

Overall, the break was good for the boys. Carlos explained, “It let me focus more on school and get my grades up. I’m going to learn how to balance both these things in order to succeed.” Robert focused on becoming a better person in general. He said, “[The break] made me focus on overcoming all kinds of adversity in my life and I would say I became a better person.”

In the future, Carlos’ plans consist of graduating from Tustin and working hard in football. He also finds potential in attending college and becoming a teacher someday. Robert will also play for Tustin his senior year and wishes to pursue his own business in which he’ll provide therapy to other athletes who face the same adversity he did. They both promise to come back better and stronger, despite the adverse conditions.

Carlos’ inspiration comes from Eric Berry, a football star for the Kansas City Chiefs, who was diagnosed with cancer. “There might be certain drawbacks in your life, but never let them stop you from doing what you love,” shared Carlos. Robert’s football role models are Kam Chancellor from the Seattle Seahawks and Ronnie Lott from the 49ers, Raiders, Jets, and Chiefs. “If I become a player in the NFL, I would want to follow in their footsteps. They are amazing players.”

With potential and talent on the Tustin football team, we are very anxious to see what this upcoming season holds in store for our fellow Tillers. Be sure to keep an eye on Carlos and Robert on the field. “Together we will come back bigger and better.”

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