Ojeda not resting on his laurels

Incoming Live Oak junior Caleb Ojeda has been training hard in preparation for the upcoming football season. Photo by Erica Bennett.

The 2018-2019 high school sports season was a memorable one for Caleb Ojeda. The incoming Live Oak High junior had a breakout sophomore season, both in soccer and football. The 5-foot-10, 167-pound Ojeda established career-high marks in both sports, establishing himself as a premier talent in the process. 

On the gridiron, Ojeda led the team in receiving with 32 receptions for 554 yards—a gaudy 17.3 yards per catch—and seven touchdowns. Ojeda was such a dynamic player that the Acorns always used him for one or two rushes per game to keep defenses off-balance. The team also utilized him for a trick pass play against Piedmont Hills—Ojeda’s only passing attempt of the season—and he completed it for a 28 yard gain. 

On the pitch, Ojeda was a devastating force, earning Blossom Valley League West Valley Division Most Valuable Player honors after racking up a league-high 23 goals despite missing five games in the middle of the season. Even though Ojeda had breakout seasons in both sports, he knew he couldn’t rest on his laurels—especially when it came to football, his favorite sport.

“My focus this past spring and summer was to build off of what I did last year because last year was my breakout year where I got my name out there,” he said. “I had a couple of good games that definitely had some people looking at me. I’ve been working out really hard and gained about 15 pounds since last year, and working on gaining another five by the beginning of the season.”

Don’t look now, but the high school football season is within view. Live Oak opens the 2019 season on Aug. 30 at Burlingame High, and Ojeda can’t wait. To improve his skills, Ojeda has already participated in two camps this summer, the first at Cal Berkeley and the second at San Jose State. The Cal camp was a one-day, three-hour camp that tested some of Ojeda’s metrics—for instance, he broad jumped 9 feet, 11 inches which was a top-three mark in his age group—while working on drills as college coaches and players critiqued his technique.

“They told me how to get out of my breaks faster, turn my head faster and look for the ball,” he said. “I’ve already been using it in practice and used it over there at Cal in 1 on 1s. I can already tell it will help me during the season.”

Ojeda had a particularly productive time at the San Jose State camp, as he was able to get in more repetitions and 1 on 1 sessions with coaches. Ojeda had two sessions at the SJS camp, one for receivers and the other for special teams, in which he engaged in kicking-related activities. Ojeda has been equally productive in the weight room, packing on 10 pounds of muscle in the off-season as he aims to be around 175 pounds by the start of the season. 

“I’d also like to gain another inch or two,” he said. 

Ojeda has served as a counselor at Live Oak High’s sports camps this summer, working from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. before starting football conditioning drills and practice. Engaging with dozens of kids and instructing them along the way can be mentally exhausting, but Ojeda loves the challenge. He’ll be a counselor for Live Oak’s final sports camp starting July 22, at which point he’ll be five weeks away from the start of the football season. 

Ojeda will be ready to go for the opening kickoff, because he’s as motivated as ever to improve and earn a scholarship to play at the four-year level.

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