By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS
RIO HONDO— Most coaches would love a team full of John Reyeses.
The charismatic leader was a mainstay on the Rio Hondo Bobcat offensive line for three seasons and was highly regarded as one of the area’s top linemen.
And although the Bobcats only had one Reyes, he was certainly as good as advertised if not better.
The nation took notice.
Reyes, the 6-0, 322-pound offensive lineman for the Bobcats, was so good he drew national attention and was selected to play in the prestigious Blue-Grey Football High School All American Bowl on Dec. 14 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“I’m really excited and happy that I’ll get another chance to play another game after my high school career,” said Reyes, who wore no. 74 for the Bobcats this season. “This selection means a lot to me. All the hard work I’ve put in over the years can get me recognition to play at the next level.
Also the chance to get to play at the Cowboys Stadium which is a wish for many and a dream come true. What more can I ask for? I’m just really excited. and I’m looking forward to the competition and the chance to knock some heads again. I can’t wait to get out there and prove myself.”
Reyes was selected in July based on his performance at two combines, notably the Super Combine in Arlington earlier that month. Next week, he will suit up for the West team with players from all across Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, California, Washington and Hawaii. He is the only player from the Rio Grande Valley to earn the honor this season.
On the year, Reyes graded out at 94 percent and recorded 28 pancakes blocks. In addition, he did not allow a sack from his center spot. His coach had plenty of praise for Reyes, a three-year All-District pick who was referred to as one of the cornerstones of the Bobcat offense.
“It’s a great honor. He’s the first kid I’ve ever coached to earn this opportunity,” Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James said of Reyes. “He’s a really good football player and an unbelievable kid. He’s great in the classroom, his teachers love him and he was a leader on this football team.”
Naturally, Reyes said he received plenty of help and encouragement along the way from many of those close to him.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank the big man above, Jesus because without him I wouldn’t be where I am right now and through him all things are possible,” Reyes said. “Also my parents who have been very supportive and Coach Mike Garza, my offensive line coach. He showed me what I could be capable of and showed me the reins to be a great offensive lineman.”
Garza beamed with pride when speaking of Reyes and also praised him for his spectacular three-year run on the Bobcat varsity.
“He’s one of those kids that comes around every once in a while,” Garza said. “He was always trying to get better by being in the weight room or watching film studying his opponent. He definitely earned this selection to the all star game. He’s a great kid and we’re gonna miss him.”
James said several schools have inquired about Reyes, who hopes to continue his career at the college level next season.
The Blue-Grey All American game will air on the Impact Football Network on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. live from AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
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