PREP FOOTBALL

Andrean's Guerrero finds new leadership role

2013-11-05T18:00:00Z 2014-06-24T18:12:33Z Andrean's Guerrero finds new leadership roleSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
November 05, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Andrean's football tradition is deep and rich. The names and plays and games stretch decades back.

Ramon Guerrero's mark is recent and at the top of the list. In last year's Class 2A regional at Cass last November, Guerrero's blocked extra point in overtime kept the 59ers alive, by a thread.

When Andrean survived 67-66 in five overtimes, a state record, Guerrero's name was cemented for all time. And it gave him an emotional lift as this season started.

"It taught me to play hard and when you do, you have an opportunity to make big plays," Guerrero said. "So I have to keep playing hard because there are more big plays out there to be made."

Class 3A No. 1 Andrean (11-0) travels to John Glenn (6-5) for the Sectional 25 championship game on Friday. The 'Niners are shooting for their 16th sectional crown.

The 6-foot, 185-pound senior has accepted a new role this year. His sophomore and junior seasons, Guerrero was one of Andrean's top receivers and played defense sparingly.

But with more offensive weapons this autumn, Guerrero has put more emphasis on his position as a defensive back. Yes, he still plays offense. But keeping the other team out of the end zone is No. 1 now.

"That's what a leader does; he does what the team needs most," Andrean coach Phil Mason said. "He's a three-year starter. He was a big offensive threat for us. Now, he's not getting the same touches as before.

"He's become a very valuable defender. He's a very physical run stopper."

"My tackling has improved 10 times," Guerrero said.

As a freshman, the Hobart kid was competing with Matt DeSomer for the quarterback position. Obviously, DeSomer won out. So Guerrero caught passes for two seasons.

Now, on offense, he blocks for DeSomer. There are no bad feelings about this lesser role. This is what Andrean football is all about.

"I do what I have to do to help our team," Guerrero said. "It doesn't affect me. If my number gets called, I'm ready. If it doesn't, I'm ready."

Boys basketball practice starts Monday. Guerrero was a solid player off the bench on Andrean's semistate team last winter. He said he's shot a few baskets here and there when he gets a chance, but taking this grid team as far as it can go is the No. 1 goal right now.

Hoops will be there once football is done.

The 59ers are hoping that's after Thanksgiving. One game at a time.

"The importance of Friday's game is very high," Guerrero said. "To win another sectional, this year in 3A, is very important, especially for the seniors. We have to play our game, stop the run and our offense has to do what it's been doing.

"We have to play hard and make the plays."

Like blocking an extra point in OT, catching a pass for 80 yards, or blocking for someone else's run.

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