Nathan Ortiz may not have the prototypical size college coaches look for when they’re recruiting players, but Ortiz’s talent will give him an opportunity to play somewhere.
It could very well be at Gavilan College, where two solid years of growth would give him a great chance to transfer on scholarship to a four-year program. Whatever happens, the Sobrato High senior can have peace of mind knowing he gave everything he had in the final season of his prep career.
The 5-foot-8, 147-pound tailback/receiver helped lead the Bulldogs to a 6-4 overall record, including 5-2 in the Blossom Valley League’s Santa Teresa B Division. That’s one of Sobrato’s best finishes in the BVAL’s B division in program history. Ortiz earned First Team, All League honors along with Mark Collins (offensive line), Trey Bringuel (receiver), Seth Hernstedt (defensive back) and Remy Hernandez, who won one of the top honors as Linebacker of the Year.
Each of the aforementioned players play other positions, too, but the position in parentheses was the one they were selected all league for. Colin Bringuel (OL), George Mendoza (OL), Anthony Anderson (DL), Jacob Laisure (tight end) and Matthew Nguyen (RB) earned Second Team honors.
Kicker Christian Grave and receiver Christian Byrum made Honorable Mention to cap the Sobrato All League honorees.
“It was a fun season having a full regular-season,” said Ortiz, who scored 12 touchdowns. “The coaching staff was great because they brought the energy to every practice and pushed us to be our best even when we were tired. They knew when we were fatigued throughout the season and made adjustments, in particular in how hard we would make contact at practice. During the week, they controlled everything we did to make sure we would be ready for the games.”
Ortiz had a tremendous season, scoring touchdowns via running, receiving and on kickoff returns. He had two in the latter category, including one of the highlight-reel variety when he scooped up a teammate’s fumble and went 55 yards to the end zone. Against Westmont in the team’s much-anticipated Homecoming Game under the lights, Ortiz had a long TD run after shedding some would-be tacklers in the backfield before breaking another tackle and taking it to the perimeter for a 70-yard score.
Ortiz said another top highlight was actually a 42-35 loss to Leigh High on Oct. 30. The Longhorns destroyed Sobrato in the first game of the Covid spring season in March, but the most recent result showed just how far the team had come.
“I’m pretty sure we shocked some people with that result,” Ortiz said. “We were expected to lose by a big amount, but we made it close. We also had faced some adversity so we overcame a lot.”
The Bulldogs won their regular-season finale, 28-6, over Independence High on Nov. 5. Ortiz had two rushing TDs, both inside the red zone, utilizing his speed and ability to break tackles. Sobrato knew unless Leigh lost its final league game, it would be out of the playoff picture because only the top two teams from the Santa Teresa Division earn automatic CCS playoff berths.
“It kind of didn’t hit the seniors until the final whistle, when we realized we had played our last snap of our high school careers,” Ortiz said. “But there weren’t too many teardrops because we won the game. It was a really good moment we had as a team and for the seniors to go out with a win.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected] and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.