Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 26
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
Football player Marco Manzo walks into the interview wearing his red-and-white Santa Maria Saints jersey—and a Superman blanket on his back.
“I carry it around before every game—I love it,” Manzo said. “It inspires me to be Superman on the field.”
The wide receiver began his senior season Aug. 23 against Bishop Diego High School. He said he wants to finish his senior season making a statement.
“We want to show that we are a team who works hard and excels at what we do,” Manzo said.
Saints football coach Gabe Espinoza has coached Manzo for four years.
“He has a great work ethic and his football smarts are definitely his biggest strength,” Espinoza said.
Although Manzo only plays offense, Espinoza said he understands all the offensive positions on the field. The coach added that Manzo is like an extra coach on the field who takes the younger players under his wing.
Last year, Manzo—with top-notch breakaway speed—finished the season with three touchdowns and 500 yards receiving.
“I think he will have the biggest impact; he is our go-to guy on offense,” Espinoza said. “I think this could be his breakout year.”
Manzo, who runs a 4.7-second 40 yards, attributes his work ethic to his brother—a Saints running back in 2005. The senior spent the off-season rehabbing a previous shoulder injury and studying a lot of film.
On a personal level, Manzo said he would like to improve his game by getting away from the first tackle and into the end zone.
“I want to break the record for school receptions and make a play every time I have the ball; full-speed ahead,” Manzo said.
Coach Espinoza said he would like to see his player become a more vocal leader.
Manzo feels the team will be successful as long as it works hard throughout the season and keeps a high tempo during practices. He added that the Saints’ toughest competition would come from Lompoc.
When he isn’t working hard on the field, Manzo spends an hour a day with special needs kids at school.
“He is a good kid on and off the field; he knows when to be serious,” Espinoza said. “I think he can be a top receiver on the Central Coast.”