Posted on 23 September 2013 by La Habra Journal
Sophomore Justin Fimbres started the season at safety, now he’s making the opposition miss thanks to his speed and elusiveness. PHOTO BY MEAGAN GARTON, La Habra Journal
by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
Sonora running back and safety Jacob Fimbres may not have been intended to have such a big role so early in the year for the football team, but there’s no doubt that since he started taking handoffs three weeks ago, the Raiders ground game has become much more dangerous.
Though just a sophomore, Jacob has been playing much bigger, scoring four touchdowns in his last two games and rushing for over 100 yards in both as well.
“You don’t always count on a sophomore to carry that type of load,” said Paul Chiotti, Sonora head coach. “But he has great football instincts, he’s very talented. We didn’t want to put him at running back too early because we weren’t sure how much he could handle. Credit to him, he’s really stepped up.”
While he already had a starting spot in the secondary secured at the start of the season, Jacob’s first taste at running back came three weeks ago against Brea Olinda.
Not only has Jacob handled the challenge, he’s thrived thanks to his hard work in practice, his elusiveness on the field and his dedication to getting better.
That shiftiness has helped him achieve approximately 10-yards per carry.
“He’s brought a dynamic aspect for us, he’s able to make that first or second guy miss,” Chiotti said. “We’ve been pleased with how quickly he’s come into his own as a varsity player. It’s a testament to his hard work in practice. He’s been playing since Pop Warner and after these three weeks, now he has the confidence to know he can do it.”
For Jacob, his sophomore season has come with plenty of surprises, from being named to the varsity team to starting at safety and now working on both sides of the ball.
“It’s been interesting playing on varsity, the speed level is a lot faster,” he said. “I was shocked when they told me I was going to be carrying the ball.”
But the speedy sophomore isn’t done for the week after Friday’s practices, instead, he dedicates himself further to improving for himself and his teammates by doing speed training on Sundays.
“I train on Sunday with Speed Burners, so I try to keep myself in shape,” Jacob said. “In practice, I’m working on my speed and the way I hold the ball, the last thing I want to do is fumble.”
The results are already showing, as Jacob has averaged 116 yards-per-game over his first three contests at running back.
Against Don Lugo this past Friday, his efforts helped Sonora score the game-winning touchdown even though he wasn’t holding the ball.
“He always gets positive yards, he’s a threat,” Chiotti said. “Our game-winning score was on a reverse because the other team started playing so hard and fast to his side, it opened up the long touchdown run for Johnny Rodriguez. He’s going to be a bigger weapon as the year goes on.”
Jacob is hoping that he can become such a weapon that he has set a goal for himself to rush for over 1,000 yards this season.
However, Jacob knows that his success is also dependent on other important factors on the team.
“The linemen have been blocking very well for me,” he said. “Especially on runs where they pull, they’ve been working very hard for me.”
When Jacob isn’t on the field or in the classroom, he enjoys hanging out with friends and having a good time.
During his sophomore year, he enjoys studying Chemistry and working on labs, as well as Geometry.
In the sport of football, his role models include two running backs who are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their playing styles: Jerome Bettis and Reggie Bush.
A role model that is closer to home for him would be Rick Hagedorn, his speed training coach with Speed Burners.
While he’s relishing his new role as an impact player on offense, Jacob knows his work isn’t done and he continues to push himself to get ready for league play in three weeks.
“The La Habra game is definitely going to be the tough one,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to get into league play.”