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September 28, 2023

Greenfield Bruins’ Hernandez wants to lead by example as new football season starts

GREENFIELD — With the Greenfield Bruins football team down late in the fourth quarter against the King City Mustangs last season, sophomore Naythen Hernandez got the ball on a direct snap and found his way into the endzone to tie the match and set up a game-winning field goal that saw the Bruins’ losing streak to the Mustangs come to an end.

“I had a lot of joy,” Hernandez said. “Once I scored with a couple of minutes left, I didn’t know what to do.”

Last year Hernandez was one of the top football players in the entire Pacific Coast Athletic League. Right away he played a huge role on the Bruins’ defense and offense, serving as wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back.

Hernandez has showed that he can take over a game. In a big matchup against Marina this past season, he had two interceptions, four tackles, one touchdown and one field goal block. He also had the game-clinching pick 6 to seal the win.

“I was just happy after that play,” he said. “This is who I am. I make big plays when my team needs me. My heart was pumping so hard after that play I couldn’t believe it.”

As a sophomore, Hernandez was able to earn first team all-league on defense. The best part of getting the honor was sharing the news with his dad.

“I was so happy,” he said. “When I got the news, I sent a screenshot to my dad. He was proud of me. Now that I got this, I’m going for bigger things this year.”

Naythen Hernandez wants to take on a leadership role in his junior year for the Greenfield Bruins football team. (Contributed)

As a new football season arrives, Hernandez wants to take on a leadership role in his junior year. He plans to help the newcomers by leading by example and showing them the standard that they have to be at.

“I see myself as a captain,” he said. “I want to be the voice of the defense and offense this year. I want to be a leader that helps all the newcomers that are coming up to varsity to get caught up to our plan.”

Coming into this year with the quarterback position up for grabs, most people would have assumed that he would become QB 1. That won’t be the case, as Hernandez will be playing another position to help the team.

“I think I’ll be more of a threat at wide receiver,” he said. “I think I could help elevate our passing game with me as the slot receiver. But whatever my coaches want me to do, I’ll be ready.”

Last year the Bruins finished in second place in their division. Hernandez has his team going for that first football banner in school history.

“As a team, everyone’s goal is to get that banner,” he said. “We want to show people what we can do.”

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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