Whether his opponent was strong or weak, Joseph Wicker of Long Beach Poly High always found a way to influence the game from his position on the defensive line.
It wasn't only his 17 1/2 sacks that told the story. It was the way his teammates benefited from Wicker causing havoc.
"He made guys around him a lot better," Coach Antonio Pierce said.
Wicker has been selected The Times' high school lineman of the year.
There were times Wicker sent quarterbacks and running backs crashing to the turf so quickly and forcefully that people in the stands had to ask, "What just happened?" Watching him battle in the trenches with offensive linemen struggling to find a way to keep him from disrupting a play was a game within a game.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior was ready from the opening game against Crenshaw, when he was credited with participating in 14 tackles, including six sacks.
He was active, he was physical, he was relentless. And he was successful even though he was double- and triple-teamed.
He helped Poly win the Moore League championship and reach a Pac-5 Division semifinal.
"He lined up and played 100 mph," Pierce said.