By Barry Wong
To outside eyes, Green Valley’s Christian Lopez’s drop in stats from his junior to senior season raises some red flags. He went from passing for 3,455 yards to 1,582 and from 29 touchdown passes to 13.
To those familiar with the Gators’ teams these past two seasons, there’s reasonable explanations.
Reason 1: Lopez lost four senior wide receivers, who accounted for 3,052 of those junior-season yards and 26 touchdowns.
Reason 2: The team’s running game emerged, with seniors Albert Lake and Brenan Adams combining for 2,256 yards, as team ran for 769 yards more yards in 2014 compared to 2013.
Reason 3: Tackle Tyrell Crosby, now at Oregon, graduated.
“They (college coaches) don’t think I can do some of the things I did my junior year,” Lopez said.
The senior says much of the interest after his junior season from the next level has quieted down.
For Lopez, it’s another hurdle he’ll look to overcome. He cites those who didn’t think he could start as a sophomore. He’s been Green Valley’s starter ever since.
” I’ve always based my workouts or whatever I do on motivation from others,” Lopez said.
Green Valley’s season ended abruptly with a first-round loss to Liberty more than a month ago, but Lopez is still throwing, working on the critiques he’s heard from college coaches and scouts, like staying in the pocket and looking for his third and fourth options at receiver.
He hopes to show how he’s improved on Saturday afternoon at the 43rd annual Lions Club all-star football game. He’s one of the captains of the Sunrise Region team. His all-star head coach, Liberty’s \strong>Rich Muraco, is one of his biggest supporters.
“The sad thing with college football and recruiting is that sometimes the first criteria they go by is the measurables, how tall you are, how fast you run,” Muraco said. “They don’t look at the overall big picture. Christian is just a football player. He makes plays.”
Muraco speaks from a lot of experience. His senior quarterback in 2013, Tyler Newman, threw for 3,979 yards and 42 touchdowns, but had minimal college interest during the season. He signed late with Dixie St.
Lopez hopes to take a similar path. He’s still in talks with a couple Division I and II programs. After the Lions game, he plans to work with Bishop Gorman’s quarterback coach and continue to send out practice videos to schools. He’s also talked about the possibility of trying to walk on at UNLV, because of the respect he has for new head coach Tony Sanchez.
But for now, he’s concentrating on Saturday’s game.
“I know I can prove people wrong,” Lopez said.
The Lions Club all-star game kicks off at Bishop Gorman at 1 p.m.