Ambriz gives Hanna defense youthful spark - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Football

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Ambriz gives Hanna defense youthful spark

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 4:31 pm

The Hanna Golden Eagles have taken their share of bumps as a young, inexperienced defense, but the group has had some surprise players step up.

One of those has been defensive back Anthony Ambriz, the speedy sophomore opening eyes with his speed and ability to fly to the ball and make a play.

Ambriz has fit in well and stepped up in a big way, and has done so with urgency, making it his goal to help do his part to make sure the senior class has one last playoff run.

“I worked hard this past summer,” Ambriz said. “Most of that time, I spent working because of the seniors. It’s their last year. We’ve been down most of the games but I’ve still got two years, but I still put in the work that I need and I’m doing it for my team and the seniors so we can keep everything rolling.”

Hanna coach Mark Guess has a large group of sophomores this season but says Ambriz has separated himself from the pack.

“He’s on another level than those other sophomores in our group, even though we’ve played nine of them most of the year,” the Hanna coach said. “He’s stood out as probably the one to have the biggest impact. He’s made some plays that some other guys on the field wouldn’t be able to make. We can tell the difference when he’s not on the field with us defensively.”

Ambriz has played in eight of the team’s nine games, missing this past week’s game against Los Fresnos with a chest injury suffered against San Benito.

Still, the sophomore’s numbers have stood out, racking up 71 tackles (38 solo, one for loss) along with a forced fumble, recovery and game-changing 95-yard interception return for a touchdown against Sharyland High.

While Ambriz isn’t the biggest player on the field making tackles, he makes up for it with his speed, which has helped him adjust to the varsity game.

“It’s really helped me on defense to get to the ball faster,” he said. “Just knowing where I need to be also helps, but my speed really helps.”

Guess said Ambriz’s athleticism has given the Hanna coaches options this season, which has benefitted the young group.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s a really good athlete,” Guess said. “He’s a very good football player and a good baseball player, too, but he’s a really good football player. His athleticism has allowed us to line him up in a couple of different spots in the secondary, and he’s also football smart, too. Those intangibles that allow us to move him around and for him to make plays in his position has been really good for us defensively.”

While this season has been a season of hurdles when compared to last year’s group, which played into the third round of the state playoffs, Ambriz sees it as sort of a trial by fire and has tried to find the silver lining.

“I’ve learned to man up more,” he said. “I’ve really had to mature more. I didn’t expect (to have the year I’m having). We had a stacked team in the beginning but we’ve lost some players, so I’ve had to step up.”

With two years left to go, the options seem to be endless with the speedy DB, but Ambriz will have to step up in a big way this season when the Eagles head to Harlingen’s Boggus Stadium for a do-or-die matchup with Harlingen South.

But when it’s all said and done, the first-year varsity player feels this season has set him up to stay successful going forward.

“I feel this year is going to help me in the upcoming years,” Ambriz said. “I’m more prepared, and I know what to do over the next two years.”

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