Athlete of the Week: Versatile Garcia steps up for Hawks

Luis Garcia

FRONT ROYAL — With a few wide receivers out due to injury, Luis Garcia knew the team needed him last week and he came through in a big way.

The Skyline senior had three big catches to help key a Hawks’ victory over Manassas Park.

“We have a few boys, we lost them for a couple games, and (Garcia) really took some ownership of the team,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “Even though he really wasn’t voted a captain, he really acted like a captain during that time and wanted to put the team on his back and keep everyone positive. So I was really proud of him for that above everything else. Just his play on the field has been fantastic.”

Garcia, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 9-15, had 121 yards receiving and one touchdown against Manassas Park.

The touchdown helped the Hawks break open a close game en route to a 37-12 win. Garcia said that Manassas Park had their best cornerback defending against him, but the Cougar got injured and had to come out of the game. Garcia said the Hawks took advantage of the ensuing mismatch.

“(Skyline quarterback) Ryan (Scott) was like ‘we’re going to get this,'” Garcia said. “And I did a spinner and the next thing I know I saw the ball in the air, and I was just going in for the touchdown. It felt great.”

Garcia said he also set up a touchdown in the first quarter with a big reception.

All season long Garcia has been a big part of Skyline’s offense. He leads the area in receptions this season. Garcia has 26 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Garcia and Trenton King made a very strong 1-2 punch for the Hawks’ receiving corps. However, King has missed several games due to injury.

Scott and Garcia have had a strong connection on the field, and it gets better with every game, Garcia said.

“Now me and Ryan have been putting extra work in at practice to make sure there’s no dropped balls,” Garcia said. “We just have that bond. Of course last year we had it also. It just carried over to this year and hopefully the rest of the games.”

One of Garcia’s biggest strengths is his speed. Garcia said he’s always been able to rely on his speed on the field, and he enjoys using it against defenders.

“My speed has been with me throughout my whole career of football,” Garcia said. “And hopefully it stays that way. And of course I have to be in the gym and everything if I want to get faster.”

Because of his speed, Gilbert said the Hawks have used Garcia at running back some this season.

Against Strasburg earlier this season, Garcia had 80 yards on five carries. Gilbert said they would like to get Garcia 10 to 15 touches a game and using him as a running back is a good way to do that. For the season, Garcia has eight carries for 95 yards.

Garcia said he was a running back in previous years, and he doesn’t care what position he plays.

“I like having the ball in my hands,” Garcia said with a smile. “I will do anything to have the ball in my hands backfield or receiving.”

Garcia also plays at defensive back, and said he also enjoys that role.

Garcia said that his main goal is to play football in college, preferably at James Madison University.

For the team, Garcia said he just wants them to win their remaining games and make the playoffs.

Garcia said that he feels good about where the team is at right now.

“We lost games that we probably shouldn’t have lost,” Garcia said. “But it’s OK because we’ve got to move on from it, leave that in the past and move on to the next game — William Monroe now. Since we beat Manassas Park — that’s behind us. We got to move on. It’s one game at a time.”