Woods always plays to the final whistle

Two-way lineman and long snapper Orion Woods has been valuable for Sobrato. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Orion Woods trusts in the process and lets the results take care of themselves. Irrespective of the scoreboard, Woods knows his job is to finish his blocks and compete hard on every play until the whistle sounds. No let up. No taking downs off. Just working hard, all the time. 

“My goal is always the same—to be the best I can be,” said Woods, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound Sobrato High junior two-way lineman and long-snapper. “I try to be the best I can be, and that means not letting go of my blocks on offense and getting through the line on defense. I’m trying to get first team all league.”

The Bulldogs enter Friday night’s Blossom Valley League West Valley Division game against San Jose High with added confidence after posting an 18-15 win over Yerba Buena last week. Jordan Sheets completed 12-of-20 passes for 174 yards, Jesse Redmond rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries and Jonathan Sheets had a game-high 13 tackles as Sobrato improved to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in league play. 

Junior Orion Woods had seven tackles while also playing solid on the offensive line. 

As a guard on the offensive line, tackle on the defensive line and long snapper for the punt and field goal units, Woods rarely comes off the field. Woods got called up to the varsity team for the team’s final two games last season, including the Central Coast Section playoff contest against Hillsdale. 

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Woods to make an impact. Woods rotated in at guard in the first half of the contest, then took all the snaps at guard in the second half and it’s been full speed ahead since. Bulldogs coach Tony Holmes said Woods brings with him a host of valuable intangibles. 

“His work ethic brings a lot of energy to the table,” Holmes said. “He’s one of the younger leaders on the team, and he’s just tenacious. His energy uplifts a lot of the players surrounding him.”

Undersized for a lineman, Woods utilizes effective technique to win the majority of his battles with opposing players. Holmes said that is a byproduct of Woods participating in several football camps. 

“The one thing I ask of these athletes when they go to these camps is to bring a little bit of that knowledge back, and he’s really good about doing that,” Holmes said. “He shares all of the little small technique details that we might not be up to date with. He doesn’t have the frame or size yet of a (college) offensive lineman, but once he gets there, he’s going to be really good. He’s already been good for us.”

Incredibly enough, Woods is just in his second year of playing football. The Morgan Hill native grew up playing rugby, which he did from the fourth grade through his freshman year. Playing rugby taught him the fundamentals of tackling and got him prepared for the rigors of the physicality aspect in football.

“In rugby, you need to get low, underneath the shoulders and wrap up,” he said. “Rugby is definitely safer than football because you need to be able to tackle correctly, whereas in football you go head-on like a train probably because you’re padded up and you have protection and you can. Rugby is a lot more running because there is no stoppage in play, and football there is a lot of stoppage in play, but indefinitely it’s more of a collision sport.”

Woods has always admired his dad, Nate, who played linebacker for San Jose State in the 1986 and 1987 seasons. 

“(In the off-season) he’ll teach me many new things to improve my game,” Woods said. “(When I see him on old film or video) I always think it’s amazing what he did and was able to accomplish. All I can think about is hoping and striving to be my best so I can play there some day.”

Holmes said Woods has a bright future and tremendous potential. As long as Woods works hard—his work ethic is his greatest attribute—playing football beyond high school is a realistic possibility. “He’s one of our hardest workers and is one of our young men who 

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