Micah Gallegos plays for Basic Academy of International Studies in Henderson, Nev., but he is a far cry from ordinary on the football field.
Playing for the Wolves’ JV team as a sophomore this season, Gallegos offered an impressive preview of what’s to come with the varsity next year.
While guiding Basic’s junior varsity team to a 7-2 record, he passed for over 1,500 yards while frequently being pulled early due to lopsided scores.
Gallegos used his sturdy size – 6-foot-0, 210 pounds – to his advantage at QB. “It helps me because I can take hits and step into the pocket a lot easier than a taller, lighter quarterback,” he said. “Nobody is going to hurt me easily, and I’m pretty comfortable in the pocket. But the size can also can become a weakness if I don’t continue to work on my speed. I must be able to scramble and be able to run the football when needed.”
Gallegos also utilized his size on the defensive side of the football this season. “I played a lot of defensive end and had quite a few sacks and 1 interception,” he said. “The interception was on an under screen that I recognized and dropped instead of blitzed. I was able to pick it off and it was one of my favorite plays of the season.”
Making plays on defense and playing other positions on offense were commonplace for Gallegos when he was a younger player. That changed during his fifth grade season.
“That’s when I started playing quarterback,” Gallegos said. “I only started playing QB because our youth team desperately needed someone to step up and take on the role. Our starting quarterback had just moved up and we were stuck. I’ve always felt like I’d do anything to help the team and at the time, that was the need. I’ve been in love with the position ever since.”
It didn’t take him long to become comfortable at QB. “My favorite thing about the position is everything starts with you,” Gallegos said. “You have to know the plays, you have to lead, you have to know the cadence and most importantly, you have to show that you have confidence to get the job done. When the QB is confident and works his butt off your teammates will do the same, especially the line.”
Before the season, Gallegos received a Duel invitation at an NFA camp in Laguna Beach, Calif. He finished second among incoming sophomores at the showcase competition.
“The Duel was an amazing experience for me,” Gallegos said. “I have never been to anything like it. Even though I’ve played in the International Bowl as a defensive back and have gone to Top Gun several times at QB, nothing was ever like the Duel. It was by far the toughest competition and biggest learning experience I’ve ever had. I brought back so much and was immediately able to transfer everything I learned to my team.”
Gallegos has thoroughly enjoyed the two years he’s been training with NFA. “I wish I would have been working with NFA a lot longer,” he said. “I could clearly see the difference in my mechanics and it’s given me a huge advantage. I look forward to continuing to training and learning with NFA.”
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Different state, same great results.
Maika Eugenio cut his teeth playing quarterback in Hawaii, and his standout skills are now on display in Nevada.
A sixth grader at Faith Lutheran Middle & High School, Eugenio is playing QB for the 12U Las Vegas 49ers. In his first game, a win, Eugenio was 6-of-7 passing for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD.
“I am happy we won our season-opening game,” Eugenio said. “As a team, we work well together and work hard. For myself, I was out for a month for health reasons and I’m so blessed to get back on the field and play the game I love very much.”
Eugenio set some goals before entering his first season with a new team. “I want to be quicker with my reads and move the chains,” he said. “Also, I want to win my first championship in Las Vegas.”
He is off to a great start, and the 49ers are primed to have a banner season with Eugenio under center.
“My strengths as a QB are my throwing accuracy, decision making and my leadership,” he said. “I’m always positive with my teammates, no matter if the situation is good or bad. I don’t let bad plays bother me.”
While he is still a young player, Eugenio started playing flag football at the age of 3. He’s been a quarterback since the age of 4.
“I like being a leader and commanding the offense for the success of the team,” Eugenio said. “I love throwing the football around and seeing my teammates happy. I love the competition, too.”
His competitive edge really showed this summer at the Duel. Making the trip to NFA’s showcase event in Atlanta after qualifying in Honolulu, Eugenio finished first among incoming sixth graders. He also posted the highest overall score (94) at the Duel.
“I remember at the Duel when Coach (Darin) Slack said that when you make promises, you should keep them,” Eugenio said. “I promised myself and my parents that I would win this competition. My family and friends were so proud of me. My parents taught me to love God, always be humble, keep working hard to be a hard worker and always have fun and build friendships. And wherever I go, to share the Aloha spirit with everyone.”
Eugenio is an impressive young quarterback, and he credits training with NFA the past two years for helping him develop.
“I want to thank Coach JC Boice and Coach Nui Uahinui for believing in me, this Hawaii boy.” Eugenio said. Maika earned his Duel Invite to NFA’s QB Training in Honolulu Hawaii. “Having just moved to Las Vegas with my family a few months ago, I am looking forward to working with NFA more often. My dad (Mat) always says to surround yourself with the best. So I am learning from the best. NFA has taught me how to throw with my hips and how to improve on my accuracy. They taught me how to read and escape. Also, how to have high character and to be a strong leader at QB.”
Not only is he successful on the football field, Eugenio is an honor roll student. “My parents expect us to have good grades in order to play sports,” he said. “It also helps me with my decision making and organization skills. I learn to budget my time wisely.”
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Facebook (my parents): MatMichelleEugenio
Sophomore named starter in Northern Nevada’s toughest league despite being undersized
The big football team in the “Biggest Little City in the World” is the University of Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack, and wolves are known to roam the snow-capped mountains that surround Reno, however the kind of wolves sophomore Hunter Triplett of Earl Wooster of Reno encountered were a little different.
At one time in the 52-year history of Wooster, the school was a force to be reckoned with in Nevada high school football. It was also a big-time wrestling power.
The Colts won eight state football championships between 1976-1998, still the most in state history.
Since then, however, Wooster is still known as a wrestling school, but the football program has been down. In fact, since 1998 the Colts have not made the playoffs, and they have rarely been at .500 in the ultra-tough IA Northern League.
After a 2-8 season in 2012 with only 23 players on the roster, and with the starting quarterback and back-up both graduating, the job was open.
“Wooster had been down because kids weren’t coming out for football,” Triplett told NFA Nation.
That changed in 2013 when 41 boys came out, including Triplett, the starting JV quarterback as a freshman.
Actually the coaches asked Hunter to move up at the end of the 2012 JV season, but in order to do so they told the at the time 5-foot-9, 125-pounder he’d have to gain 20 pounds.
Six meals a day and protein shakes, plus weight training
With a goal of becoming the varsity starter, Hunter turned to the coaches he trusts for a game plan, NFA Senior Certified Quarterback Instructor and Lead Camp Coach JC Boice, and local NFA Coach Rod Robinson.
Coaches Boice and Robinson put him on a weight gain regimen of six meals a day and weight training. “A lot of protein shakes,” Triplett mused.
Within five months Hunter had gained the pounds.
Thrown to the Wolves
Hunter competed with an incoming junior over the summer and prior to the season beginning he was named the starting quarterback.
Triplett came into the season at 5-10 and 145 pounds and started and played every game in Northern Nevada’s toughest league.
His numbers weren’t spectacular, but he did pass for 1,694 yards and 22 TDs with 13 interceptions.
More importantly, Triplett led Wooster to a 4-5 record, the best record at Wooster since 2001. For his efforts, he was named Second Team All League.
“Hunter is a real up and comer that got thrown to the wolves early as a young sophomore, but he made the most of it,” Boice remarked.
“By his senior year everyone will wonder where he came from,” continued Boice. “He has all the tangibles and just needs to grow and continue to work. “His film at moments is pretty impressive. He’s already getting some interests from schools despite his record and stats because some coaches can see his upside.
Maintaining the game plan
Because the 3.57 GPA student-athlete, who’s taking advanced courses in the International Baccalaureate school-within-a-school at Wooster, is super busy, the telephone interview had to be done at 6:30 in the morning.
“I’m up at 5-5:30 because I have a lot to do before school,” Triplett said. “I have to get ready and prepare all my meals for the day and arrange my clothes for school and work.”
Triplett has a part-time job at an athletic training facility where the money he earns pays for the speed and agility sessions he takes there.
Besides the training sessions, Hunter is still using the diet regimen Boice and Robinson laid out for him.
“I’m currently 5-11, 151, but I need to weigh 165 pounds going into the season.”
To reach his ultimate goal Triplett’s weekly goal is to gain a half pound.
“Every Sunday I contact Coach Boice and he reviews my diet and weight I’ve recorded throughout the week.”
What he gets out of NFA
As is evidenced by the work Boice has done with Triplett above and beyond football, the NFA experience has transcended a big part of his life.
Since he was 11-years old, Hunter has been to nine NFA camps, worked personally with Boice for and extended period, worked around 15 times with Robinson, and recently came to The Range in Livermore, Calif. to work with NFA Director of Player Development Will Hewlett over a two-day period.
“When I went to my first NFA camp I thought playing was just about throwing the football. I didn’t know anything about mechanics and getting the footwork right.”
“For me the most important thing I’ve gotten out of NFA is the stress and importance they put on leadership and doing the little things right. I’ll never forget the leadership speech by Coach Slack (NFA founder and President Darin Slack).”
“As a team our goal is to grow as a team, get above .500 and go the playoffs for the first time in 16-years, and win a state championship in the next two years. I want to be a success personally, but doing whatever I have to do to get us to the playoffs is my goal.”
“My long term goal is to get the attention of college coaches, whatever or wherever, but eventually to start in a D1 program. From there I’ve dreamed of playing pro since I was six.”
Despite his smallish stature Boice still likes what he sees.
“I still consider him an ‘under the radar’ kid for the moment. However as he continues to grow and mature and develop that is going to change and change fast. He has all the tangibles especially leadership and intelligence with very strong throwing mechanics, so he has a high ceiling. The Hunter we saw be effective this year as a sophomore varsity starter is going to grow into an extremely competitive senior quarterback a year and a half from now.”
Triplett can’t control his height, but he’s working diligently on his weight, and for a kid that’s up at 5 a.m., maintains outstanding grades, and works a part time job on top of football, no one can question his work ethic and desire to succeed.
Kenyon Oblad lifts team to national title
Playing an intensely challenging schedule, the Henderson (Nevada) Cowboys the road early and lost their opening game in Southern California and dropped their third game on a trip to Dallas. Other than that, it was very smooth sailing for the eighth grade team led by quarterback Kenyon Oblad.
The Cowboys settled down nicely after some early bumps and wound up running off 14 straight wins while closing the season with a 51-8 win over the Snake River (Idaho) Panthers in the Thanksgiving National Tournament title game. Oblad threw 5 touchdown passes in the championship game to spark the big win.
“This season, it was probably the most fun I’ve had playing football,” Oblad said. “We traveled to California and Texas for games and then we got to play the regular season and they we went into the tournament. Just bonding with all my teammates and improving throughout the season, it’s something I’ll always remember.”
League MVP honors
Oblad sparked Henderson to a 15-2 overall record by passing for over 3,200 yards and a whopping 52 touchdowns. He was also voted his league’s MVP. “I was really excited because I didn’t think I was going to win it,” Oblad said.
Year in and year out, the Henderson Cowboys are always competitive, and this season was no exception. Switching to a spread offense this year, the eighth grade Cowboys scored 40 or more points in a game 11 times.
“I would say switching to the spread offense really helped me,” Oblad said. “Before, we didn’t really run an offense that passed a lot. It was basically I-formation, run left, run right. This year, we changed to the spread and I really liked it. I did a lot better. I like the offense because it’s passing based and it revolved around the quarterback and I like leading the team down the field.”
Oblad heads into high school next year, and he is already well prepared to play at a more competitive level. “My goal is to make JV next year,” the 5-foot-10, 140-pounder said. “If I can play varsity that would be great. But I’d be really happy with JV next year and then playing varsity as a sophomore.”
After his banner eighth grade season, Oblad is going back to NFA camps for the fifth straight year. “They’ve been a tremendous help for me,” he said. “They’ve helped improve my mechanics and they’ve taught me a lot about reading coverages.”
When it comes to playing football, Kenyon Oblad does not act his age.
Only 12 years old, Oblad has been playing organized football since he was 5 years old.
Not only has he played for the Henderson (Nevada) Cowboys since 2005, Oblad’s participated in every fall and spring season.
So this year is his 15th season playing for the Cowboys, which should tell you something about Oblad’s love for and dedication to playing football.
“I really like playing basketball,” said Oblad, a standout shooting guard and small forward at Del Webb Middle School. “But football is my first love, it’s No. 1 to me. I’ve always liked playing quarterback, and I like to play defense, too. I play safety and linebacker and I like to hit and tackle.”
Quarterback is Oblad’s best position, and he’s honed his skills under center by attending NFA camps in Fresno in 2010 and Sacramento this year. He was also at NFA’s Duel of the Dozens at Canton, Ohio, in July.
“He’s very smooth and naturally talented,” said NFA Coach Will Hewlett.
Developing as a passer takes time for young quarterbacks, and it can be a difficult challenge.
Working with NFA is already making a big difference with Oblad, who has been playing QB since he was 8 years old.
“They’ve helped me with my mechanics a lot,” Oblad said. “I really didn’t have good mechanics before going to NFA, but they have really improved.”
Oblad also gets good coaching from his father, Jeromy, while playing with the Henderson Cowboys just outside of Las Vegas.
Recognizing the obvious natural talent Kenyon has playing quarterback, Jeromy has him playing with the 12-and-under team and the 14-and-under team as well.
Kenyon starts for the 12U Cowboys and threw 5 touchdown passes in the Cowboys’ first two games this season, wins of 47-0 and 64-12.
Kenyon is the backup QB for Henderson’s 14U team. Earlier this season, he came on in the second quarter with the Cowboys trailing 24-14 and sparked a 52-30 comeback win.
Oblad has become accustomed to winning while playing for Henderson.
The Cowboys are a powerhouse youth program, winning 11 state championships and four national tournament championships.
With Oblad quarterbacking the 12U team, they won a staggering 52 games in a row over the past two fall and spring seasons.
Winning the National Youth Sports national championship in June of 2011 highlighted the lengthy winning streak, which came to an end this past June. The Cowboys lost by 1 point to the San Antonio Junior Rattlers in the San Diego Tournament.
San Antonio went on to become NYS national champions.
“It was an incredible game between two incredible teams,” Coach Jeromy Oblad said.
Oblad also led his 10-and-under team to the NYS title in June of 2010 while also quarterbacking the 12U Henderson team in the same tournament.
Believe it or not, there is more.
Jeromy Oblad also coaches the freshman team at Coronado High School in Henderson, Nev., and Kenyon has gained additional experience competing against players at a higher level.
“This summer and last summer, Kenyon had the opportunity to throw to freshman receivers, and against freshman coverages,” Jeromy Oblad said. “He does very well throwing against the much faster players and it is a great learning experience for him, as he now understands why Coach Will Hewlett preaches velocity.”
While he currently stands 5-foot-6, Kenyon Oblad undoubtedly has a growth spurt coming soon.
His father is 6-foot-5 and his sister, Berkeley, is 6-foot-3. A sophomore in high school, Berkeley is an All-Conference volleyball player and she earned a spot on the USA team.
“We hope I’m going to be tall like my dad and my sister,” Kenyon said.
As he gains size and even more experience, Oblad appears headed for very big things on the football field.
“I’d like to win the state championship and hopefully to play in the NFA All-American game in Florida,” Oblad said. “I think I’m a pretty good passer, but I’m trying to improve my footwork and I’m trying to get my mechanics better. I’ll keep working at it.”
When he’s playing football, it’s more fun than work for Oblad. Between practice, games and off-season camps, he rarely takes a break.
“I love being out on the field and leading the offense,” Oblad said. “I like reading the defenses and leading my team down the field. Football is something I’ve always enjoyed playing and I’m looking forward to getting even better as I keep on playing.”
Oblad’s already bright future got a recent boost when he enrolled in NFA’s elite Blackshirt program.
“We are excited to see how his QB skills will improve while being involved with the program,” Jeromy Oblad said.