Rest not an option for versatile Nitro

A brief rest period on the sidelines in the middle of a contest might be hard to come by for Arturo Garcia.

There are big plans in store for the all-purpose Glendale High football player, who will be expected to make momentous contributions on both sides of the ball and on special teams for a team attempting to reach respectability.

If he’s lucky, he might occasionally grab a water bottle to quench his thirst or rinse himself of sweat.

Essentially, he’ll be counted on to throw, run and catch the ball. He’ll also be asked to return punts and kickoffs.

“I’ll be expecting him to do pretty much everything out there for us,” said Glendale second-year Coach Rafik Thorossian. “He’ll be our quarterback, wide receiver and free safety.

“He’s going to be all over the place. One thing that I know is that he’ll rarely be coming off the field.”

Garcia, a senior, started at quarterback and defensive back last season for the Nitros. Glendale finished 1-8-1 and 1-6 in the Pacific League last season.

Now, he’ll be handed additional responsibilities with the intention of getting the Nitros back on the right track toward a spot in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Glendale last appeared in the postseason in 2003.

With little or no time to rest and regroup and seeking to snap a four-year playoff drought, Garcia’s ready and able take on all tasks assigned to him by Thorossian and the team coordinators.

“It’s cool to learn and then be able to play all of those positions,” Garcia said. “It’s going to be a lot of minutes, and it will take a lot of running and conditioning.

“There are going to be a lot of plays to remember, but I’ll eventually get them all down.”

Garcia excelled during the spring practice session in May and June, but didn’t stop there. He’s spent most of the summer in the weight room, taking part in numerous agility drills and running at Glendale Community College.

“I want to be ready for the season by being in shape,” Garcia said. “I like being on the field, so I have to get it in my mind that I feel like I can play all four quarters.”

Finding time to continue studying the playbook hasn’t been an issue for Garcia, a third-year varsity athlete. He doesn’t want to leave any margin for error, no matter the position or play.

Learning routes on offense and schemes on defense and continuing to strengthen his arm to play quarterback are also important in determining how effective Garcia can be.

“I’ve already got my routes down at wide receiver and pretty much at running back,” said Garcia, who played quarterback parts of the past two seasons. “I still need a little work at quarterback and running back is still kind of new to me.

“I’ve been able to learn about playing defense with them dropping me back at safety. I’m cool with playing all of the positions.”

Glendale second-year player Jano Khajarian believes the Nitros will need to constantly count on Garcia to come through for them, especially early in the season to set a pace.

Khajarian, a center and middle linebacker, thinks Garcia can handle the bevy of assignments given to him.

“He knows what he’s doing because he believes he can do his job,” Khajarian said. “He’s a playmaker who wants to go out there and make things happen.

“I have nothing but trust that he can be out there every time.”

Thorossian said Garcia’s experience should ignite the Nitros.

“[The players] are going to have to listen to him,” Thorossian said. “He’s going to be like our Kordell Stewart [former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback/receiver], and be everywhere all of the time.”


 CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or charles.rich@latimes.com.

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